As pointed out in Recreating the Country, diverse genetics is a keystone principle for plantations to become sustainable in the long term.
Andie Warner at the Regent Honeyeater project 20th year celebrations highlighted the importance of genetic diversity when he showed us five different seedling trays of slender bitter pea (Davesia leptophylla). Over 20 years, the Regent Honeyeater project has planted out 1,500ha of farmland corridors with multi-layered indigenous habitat connecting isolated remnants in the Lurg hills near Benalla. The project has its own nursery, managed by Andie.
Andie told us how low propagation success rates were as much from poor genes as from inaccurate fertiliser and watering rates. The genetic vigour of the seedling tray on the far right is very noticeable. This tray has hundreds of parents compared with the struggling ones in the far left tray where there are only two parents. The other trays in between have 10, 20 and 50 different parents.
Recommended seed collecting practice is that there be a minimum of 20 parent trees. This is a requirement for all plants grown for the ImLal project.
Many parents ensure genetic vigour
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Gib Wettenhall is interested in how we carry out large scale landscape restoration that involves the people who live in those landscapes. That, he believes, would build truly resilient landscapes.