Habitat restoration

The Kangaroo Island nationally threatened plant project

Growing enough seedlings of some of Kangaroo Island’s (KI) native plant species for habitat restoration projects can be challenging. Many are difficult to grow from seed, as triggers that break seed dormancy are often poorly understood. Other species don’t produce many seeds, or their seeds may have poor viability. The Kangaroo Island nationally threatened plant project (KINTPP) is working to establish how to break seed dormancy in these difficult species.

The KINTPP grows up to 150 native plant species at its Cygnet River nursery to re-instate habitat for KI’s rarest plants. The majority of these plants require a number of different seed treatments for successful germination.

By experimenting with a range of treatments – from smoking and boiling seed to applying various chemicals such as acids and alkaline solutions – project staff have discovered how to induce germination in many species that are difficult to propagate.

Recent revegetation efforts have significantly increased the extent and number of specimens for one sub-population Olearia microdisca (small-flowered daisy-bush), which is nationally threatened and found only on KI. Thousands more of this fire-dependant species have been established by the KINTPP through a number of prescribed ecological burns in the landscape. A recently developed direct-seeding method for Olearia microdisca now offers the potential of re-establishing this threatened species across a wide area.

In partnership with a number of landholders, including farmers, hobby farmers and lifestyle property owners, the project has restored a total of 245 hectares and planted more than 538,000 tube stock seedlings since 2004. More than 2,800 volunteers have contributed their valuable time to the project and helped achieve great results, restoring high quality habitat to ensure the continued survival of some of our most threatened plant species.

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