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Restoring Diversity Project

For this project, the Partnership considers understorey species to include shrubs, grasses and cryptogams which populate the areas under tree species (overstorey vegetation), as well as communities that don't have an overstorey. Photo: Bindi Vanzella
For this project, the Partnership considers understorey species to include shrubs, grasses and cryptogams which populate the areas under tree species (overstorey vegetation), as well as communities that don’t have an overstorey
Photo: Bindi Vanzella

Habitat restoration work in Australia has been very successful at recreating the overstorey of plants – the taller plants in a particular habitat, such as trees and tall shrubs, that provide shade and protection for the smaller plants.

A diverse restored overstorey enables many of the larger animals and birds to repopulate an area but it does not necessarily create a fully functional environment which can sustain itself or bounce back after severe shocks such as fire or flood.

To achieve this, the understorey must be successfully restored as well – a process that up until now has been challenging because some understorey plant families and species are difficult to propagate.

Some of the most critical gaps are:

  • practical techniques for ‘cracking the germination code’ for understorey plants
  • understanding the complex ecological relationships among species (plant, animal and microbial)
  • how these vary in time and space across Australia.

Filling in these gaps will also enable a more strategic investment of resources.

The Restoring Diversity Project will bridge these gaps and the important knowledge generated by this research will directly help rehabilitation practitioners, land managers and community groups in their efforts to restore and reconnect habitats and landscapes throughout Australia.