Victoria Park, Australia

Photo by Derrin Kee

The power of plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits

How is the initiative shaped by scientific evidence of the potential for plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits?

It is a known fact today that endemic species are going extinct at the fastest rate since the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The seed cultivation and dispersion project to spread endemic species of Jirdarup Bushland contributing to global biodiversity is an approach typically used in bushland restoration projects. This involves:

A. Conservation in-situ: we maintain the species in its natural environment through our annual collaboration work with the Friends of Jirdarup Bushland, providing the propagated seeds to be planted during planting season.

B. Revegetation by “jumping the fence.” – In inner city locations, we are applying the revegetation aspect of the bushland restoration techniques to vegetate areas outside of the bushland, and into people’s homes and everyday infrastructure. Propagated seeds are used at community planting days, for planting at private gardens via urban forest at home program, for eco-zoning in parks and for street and park trees throughout Town.

C. Employing other bush restoration techniques within an urban context: dry planting, large scale soil amelioration, site preparation and ongoing maintenance programs.

By encouraging the endemic species to spread beyond the bushland, we will be able to:
Create a protective barrier against attacking weeds before it reaches the bushland;
Enable mass urban greening that is sustainable and achievable without intensive use of resources;
Allow the spread of endemic, local, bushland species which require less maintenance, to dominate our urban forest.

Develop an appreciation for local species and landscapes among the community and contribute to a strong “sense of place”.

How has the city exploited the potential of plants and associated ecosystems to deliver more than one benefit?

The native seed cultivation and dispersion project supports all six strategic outcomes outlined in our Urban Forest Implementation Action Plan

(https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/About-Council/Council-documents/Urban-Forest-Strategy-Implementation-Action-Plan), including increasing our canopy cover, continually working with the community, increasing tree diversity, supporting local wildlife, improving our soil and water quality, and the overall urban ecosystems.

The benefits of this project extends across environmental, social and community benefits, some of which include:

  1. An opportunity for the community to contribute to a “sense of place” and home at the Town – the Jirdarup Bushland’s native plants and trees have been around for thousands of years, unique only to the area. By making these species more visible throughout the Town helps to create a sense of natural identity.
  2. Strengthening our natural ecosystem in an urban setting – increased local flora attracts and supports local fauna and contributes to better soil nutrients, cleaner air and water supplies.
  3. Sustainable urban forest – this is an example of bringing in proven and long-standing bushland restoration techniques into urban areas. These techniques work with the natural soils and climate to drive improvements in the ecosystems; hence the outcomes are more sustainable to create and maintain.
  4. Most importantly, by being involved in this project, our residents and community members have the opportunity to act local – through many communities urban forest activities – but contribute on a global scale towards preserving one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.