A world of native plants at your fingertips

13th Aug 2019

Native vegetation is a rich and fundamental element, vital for the health of our environment, sustaining wildlife and agriculture, as well as protecting soils, water and threatened species.

Ensuring the health, survival and sustainability of native flora is a priority for Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, sparking the development of a localised native plant database.

The database is a key initiative that will prove an invaluable local resource to landholders across the region.

The database and associated fact sheets can be used by nurseries and their customers, seed collectors, Landcare networks, landholders doing revegetation projects, revegetation contractors and their clients, Local Land Services and other State government agencies, local government, schools, mining companies and anyone interested in local native plants.

The database is the brainchild of David Carr from the Armidale Tree Group. Mr Carr noted that ‘while there is ample information available on grasslands, such as the highly popular principal field guide, Grasses of the Northern Tablelands, there was nothing available on native vegetation locally.’ Elsie Baker, Project Officer - Environment, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, is responsible for making the database available to landholders through Northern Tablelands Local Land Services.

“What is significant about the database is that it generates a tailored guide for native shrubs and trees local to the region,” said Elsie. While there are a number of plant information resources available with a botanical or gardening focus, they are not necessarily appropriate for farming.

“This is the first database aimed at the farmer for identification and understanding of different species, where and how they grow, and how suited they are to specific locations.

Given we have over 2000 species in the Northern Tablelands, it makes the database a vital resource” she said. The information presented is reviewed by local native plant experts and is applicable to local conditions.

It provides a plain English guide to identifying and using local plants. There is a ‘Comments’ section which details special requirements of species, where they fail and succeed. The information is kept up to date with photos and data from native plant industry members.

As well as the Armidale Tree Group, the database is supported with resources from Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and a host of volunteers.

There is a growing network who follow and contribute to its development from industry, government and research organisations. With funding available for on-farm habitat protection projects for woodland birds and other threatened species, the database and associated fact sheets provide an invaluable resource.

This includes funding for fencing off areas of remnant vegetation, as well as selective revegetation. The database can be accessed at http://armidaletreegroup.org.au/

“In the plant world, you never stop learning. Every time I speak with landholders, I’m gaining knowledge that is geographically specific, that is then translated to the database. It is wonderful to be able to share this knowledge in a way that will assist in providing sustainable long-term solutions for Australian landscapes” said Elsie. For further information regarding the Native Plant database, contact Elsie Baker on 0439 094 286 or elsie.baker@lls.nsw.gov.au

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