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Need for Seeds project will help biodiversity flourish at Monarto
An $18,000 Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board grant will assist Bio-R in their mission to provide habitat for woodland birds and other creatures.
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A not-for-profit is growing lilies and daisies as it continues its efforts to revegetate Frahn’s Farm at Monarto.
Bio-R recently installed a series of raised plant beds with the help of a Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board grant.
The organisation received around $18,000 towards their project, “A Need for Seeds”.
The project involves the growth of a native plant mix in 25 raised tanks, from which seeds will be harvested and then planted.
Bio-R flora and restoration ecologist Bradley Bianco said the project would be crucial to the future of the area’s ecosystem.
“As these plants mature, we will collect their seeds over the summer and then transfer them into our direct seeding mix,” said Mr Bianco.
“It’s really important to have a complex understory … and seed availability is a limiting factor.”
Mr Bianco said an understory was all the vegetation on the ground layer of an ecosystem; the top would be the canopy, next would be shrubs, and then the understory would be made up of grass and flowers.
For example, small daisies were an important component in the understory of grassy woodlands system.
“The benefit of having all these seeds is that it increases the biodiversity of the ecosystem,” he said.
“We talk about diversity in the workplace, in politics … diversity is needed in all types of systems.
“For example, you could have a tree that is a microsystem … it could provide a habitat for various animals, and it could also have mistletoe growing on it, which would provide food for birds.
“The more elements a system has, the more complex it becomes, and that complexity provides resilience.”
Wxecutive officer Fiona Payton said Bio-R’s aim for the property was sustainability.
“We want these plants to be self-sustaining and to attract seedlings, so that if there ever was a fire, the vegetation would restore on its own,” Ms Payton said.
“Our aim is to restore 30 per cent of the Mount Lofty area, which is about 150,000 hectares.
“If you donated a hectare, it would be like donating a dollar a day for 60 years; that would get you up to $25,000.
“And in this case, you would know exactly how you are offsetting your carbon footprint in a tangible way.”
In fact, a lot of Bio-R’s methods contribute to this sustainability, in more ways than one.
“Because the property is protected from kangaroos, we don’t have to put guards around the trees, which means the trees don’t have to grow in a linear fashion, they can kind of tumble over themselves,” Ms Payton said.
“That’s not only good for the tree, but also for certain types of birds …. they perch on the lateral branches and then use that positioning to pounce on prey.”
While climate change was concerning, Ms Payton said there was hope yet.
“We are really fortunate in that we are living in this window of opportunity to make a difference,” she said.
“It’s all about learning and preparation.”
For those interested in helping but don’t have a hectare to spare, Ms Payton said Bio-R was always looking for volunteers.
“In 2022 we have replanted 20 hectares of revegetation, and we hope to do that again next year,” she said.
“Last year we had six working bees, about 550 different people came through in total, and we planted around 40,000 tube stock.
“The working bees have a great community feel, people come along with the family, some people even bring their babies.
“You can be a part of the solution by volunteering, talking to your politicians and sharing our cause on social media.”
More local Grassroots Grant recipients
Australian Migrant Resource Centre, Stepping Stones into Nature program
Coorong District Council, addendum to Coorong District Local Action Plan 2012
Coorong District Council, restoration of fragile sandy soils of the Poltalloch Peninsula
Mallee Minders/Monarto Safari Park, bird box monitoring
Mallee Minders/Monarto Safari Park, micro bat monitoring at Monarto
Monarto Residents Association, Monarto rangeland weed control
Rural City of Murray Bridge, Rocky Gully spiny rush removal