Strategic conservation planning projects are underway all around the world in an attempt to make the most of limited resources to get the best conservation outcomes possible. This theme will explore some of these efforts and their significance to plant conservation. Will landscape or regional-scale planning save individual species?
Seeds and Genes for Restoration
Successful ecological restoration necessitates the collection of high quality and suitably sourced seed. This raises a number of issues related to genetic provenance, seed quality and harvest sustainability. Although restoration guidelines generally recommend using local seed sources to maximise local adaptation and prevent outbreeding depression this approach may not be ideal in highly modified landscapes and under scenarios of rapid climate change. In this theme we will investigate the trade-off between the need for local sourcing and broader sourcing of seed, keeping in mind that restored plant populations will need to be functional, self-sustaining and resilient to environmental challenges.
Engaging with Industry
Engaging with industry can provide opportunities to utilise specialist expertise and experience in conservation and restoration projects, and form valuable partnerships which can achieve successful outcomes. Whether it’s botanical consultants identifying conservation values through survey work or mining companies managing restored land on their leases, there are many avenues to engage industry. This topic seeks to discuss the challenges of identifying the ‘who, what, how, why and when’ of industry involvement in plant conservation.
The Role of Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of discovering, resolving, describing, naming and identifying living organisms. It provides the key building blocks for biological science and conservation and the most fundamental audit and inventory of biodiversity. Without the basic knowledge of species of plants, fungi and animals provided by taxonomists, managing and interacting with the natural world would be an impossible task. This theme explores taxonomy as a critical underpinning science in conservation planning, sustainable development, biodiversity research, natural resource management and community engagement with the living world.
Soil Health and Restoration
The composition of vegetation, and presence of particular species of plants, is driven to a great extent by the soil upon which they occur. Disturbance can alter soil structure and chemistry such that restoration projects may need to either undertake soil-restoration works, or look outside of original vegetation composition to restore ecological function. This theme looks at how projects can and do deal with soil health in effective restoration projects.
Planning for Climate Change
Human-caused climate change is already having a profound impact on plant conservation. In this theme we explore: adaptation and transformation, including the importance of refugia in conservation programs; managing new vulnerabilities, compounded by the effects of the disturbance; and, translocation, restoration and the implications for landscape ecology.