Sowing seeds for the future

Greening Australia have braved the heat to collect native seeds alongside pastoral and Indigenous land managers in the Pilbara to restore the region’s native tussock grasslands.

Ngurrawaana Rangers participating in Greening Australia seed training

Ngurrawaana Rangers participating in Greening Australia seed training

The work forms part of the Pilbara Corridors Project which is bringing people and organisations together with environmental experts to deliver effective land management.

“As part of Pilbara Corridors, we will be restoring two areas of degraded tussock grassland in the Pilbara, one on the Ngurrawaana Lease and the other on Mulga Downs. Tussock grasslands provide habitat and food for a large variety of native reptiles and small marsupials as well as having great cultural significance to Indigenous communities,” said Blair Parsons, Greening Australia’s Director of Conservation.

“Contractors have battled November’s rising temperatures, with some days reaching up to 40 degrees to collect seeds from target species for the restoration work. Seed collection is a vital component of the project which is essential for achieving on-ground outcomes.”

“Seed collection was tough! Due to the lack of summer rains, seeds were quite scarce and some species were not available at all. We did however manage to collect enough seeds from target species to ensure the project can move forward,” said Nick Tidmarsh, from Cape Life Seeds.

Greening Australia staff including seed specialist Dave Warren also spent a week on country with the Ngurrawaana Rangers and members of the community sharing knowledge and teaching seed collection techniques.

”To be able to collect seed commercially these days there are a range of different tasks you have to complete, such as applying for a seed collection license, completing data sheets with GPS information and appropriately cleaning and storing the seed in temperature controlled environments,” said Dave Warren.

He continued “It was amazing to travel Yindjibarndi country with Yindjibarndi people – their knowledge of the plants, their locations and their uses was incredible, I hope they learnt as much from me as I did from them.”

“The three day seed workshop with Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation and Greening Australia proved to be of value for all attendees, with worthwhile learning about techniques, plant use and collection times. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly with long days filled with various interesting outcomes. Everyone was pleased with the delivery and the sharing of knowledge respected from both sides,” said Ostiane Massiani, YAC Biodiversity Conservation Manager.

Pilbara Corridors is a partnership between Greening Australia, Rangelands NRM and the Department of Parks and Wildlife funded by the Australian Government.