The Southwest of Western Australia is a global biodiversity hotspot that has been extensively cleared since European settlement resulting in the widespread fragmentation of native vegetation. The large-scale decline of Banksia woodlands along the Swan Coastal Plain (<30% remain) has warranted their listing as an ‘Endangered Ecological Community’ under the Commonwealth EPBC Act 1999. The woodlands have been lost from the central part of their range due to urban development and their northern range due to the establishment of exotic pine plantations and sand mine extraction.  Hanson is world leading in ecological restoration practice, however there are still targeted developments that need to be addressed. The use of seed is one, with >90% of seed used in restoration programs fail to establish into mature plants. This project aims to reduce these failure rates through investigating and developing seed enhancement technologies to overcome barriers to restoration success. Combining seed-based enhancement technologies with ecologically-guided engineering applications in a biodiversity hotspot is a novel and rapidly developing field.  This project will significantly advance the on-ground practice of ecological restoration, contributing to the knowledge and development of economically efficient solutions to improve native plant establishment success rates that will have global relevance.

Getting a bit grubby in the search for seeds

Quantifying the number of seeds per extruded pellet produced to formulate our experimental design.

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11May

Breaking seed dormancy

A hard-seeded species in the legume family Fabaceae, Jacksonia furcellata is a common species of Banksia woodlands and occurs at the Gaskell Quarry.

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06Apr

Seed science tools: Making sure our collected seed is viable!

X-ray analysis reveals what seed is viable (intact embryo) and what is damaged or infertile

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26Mar

Seed science tools : Seed cleaning

Tools used in seed cleaning - a zig-zag aspirator is used to remove dust, chaff, husks and material (lighter than the seed) away from the seed we want. This is one of the processes we call 'seed cleaning'.

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26Mar

Sharing research at the Society for Range Management Conference in early February

Colleague and team member Dr Todd Erickson and I recently attended a Rangeland management conference in Nevada USA (http://rangelands.org/events-abstracts/) where we met up with The Nature Conservancy group from Oregon - here is a link to a summary of work they are carrying out using the same seed enhancement technologies we are investigating at Gaskell in Perth.

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06Mar

Banksia woodlands: Their importance and the challenges we face in restoration

Western Australia’s iconic Banksia woodlands are the predominant ecosystem along the Swan Coastal Plain – part of the southwest Australian global biodiversity hotspot, a region internationally recognised for its huge diversity of flowers and other wildlife.

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15Feb

Site visit - January 2018

We headed to Hanson's Gaskell Quarry Site to look at potential spots for installing our seed enhancement trials

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06Feb
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