Land managers and seed collectors in Victoria have found that storms have a silver lining, after they discovered they were able to more easily collect seeds from fallen mountain ash trees.
The seed collection process is one part of a $60 million biodiversity recovery program following the bushfires of 2019-20 and $7.7 million of that amount is set aside for the replenishment of stocks of seeds to help with future disaster recovery efforts.
Seed capsules are high up in the tree canopy and typically require qualified seed collectors to do the work but land managers and seed collectors from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning get to do this work at ground level.
The collection of the mountain ash tree seeds is a part of a program run by the Victorian government to help forest areas that have been razed by fire and hit by other natural disasters to recover.
This is part of a Forest Restoration Project and it has two stages. The first is to conduct aerial seeding of affected areas so the forest is given a chance to recover.
The second phase is to collect the seeds and use the seed bank to respond more quickly to disasters.
One reason for this seed collection process being in place is that the alpine forests are fire sensitive, and the forests may not recover properly if another bushfire goes through them before trees are able to reach maturity and produce their own seeds.
“Ensuring our sensitive alpine forests are re-seeded following fires is critical and this opportunity for seed collection is one that couldn’t be missed,” said Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
“This is an opportunity for the mountain ash seed stores to be boosted so we can continue the work to ensure we maintain these beautiful forests for future generations.
“It is great to see land managers making the most of this opportunity by collecting the seed from the mountain ash trees.”