Connecting Country upskill on Climate Future Plots
Posted on 12 March, 2020 by Ivan
We’re very proud of what we do at Connecting Country. After a decade of landscape restoration, we have helped restore 9,500 hectares of habitat, equating to around 6% of the Mount Alexander Shire. We know this is only the beginning, and more is needed to provide vital habitat, vegetation, education and monitoring across our region for years to come. We also know that we must keep learning and updating our skill set to adapt to climate change and the likely scenarios that will occur across our region.
It was with great excitement that some staff members attended a recent Climate Future Labs workshop in Bendigo. The workshop was hosted by Greening Australia and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Greening Australia and DELWP have been working with a range of organisations to develop guidelines for community groups and agencies to improve the resilience of plants in your neighbourhood by planting Climate Future Plots.
What are Climate Future Plots?
Climate Future Plots are simply areas of revegetated and restored land that include plant species that already occur naturally in the area, but also include plants of the same species from other areas with different climates. This genetic mixing helps increase the capacity of the plants in our natural environment to adapt to a changing climate. As the climate changes, these plant communities will be better equipped to change with it. By including a mixture of local and climate pre-adapted plant genotypes (such as seed from hotter and drier, or cooler and wetter climates) the plots aim to enhance the resilience of natural landscapes to the changing climate. Through monitoring, we will also have more accurate information to actively inform future restoration and biodiversity conservation management.
Climate Future Plots are valuable because they:
- Develop climate-resilient habitat by creating natural areas that maintain ecosystem function in uncertain climate scenarios.
- Act as nursery sites due to their high genetic diversity.
- Enable testing of predictions and proposed management strategies under a changing climate.
- Inform future adaptive management by showing how species respond to climate interventions.
- Enable community engagement and awareness by providing opportunities to work together.
Connecting Country and Climate Future Plots
Connecting Country have conducted strategic revegetation across hundreds of properties in our region. We found the Climate Future Plots training and guide an excellent resource for our future activities and climate-proof revegetation projects.
Restoration Coordinator at Connecting Country, Bonnie Humphreys, said ‘This workshop provided us with a guide to how to plan revegetation under a changing climate, including working out what our future climate will look like, and how to select the appropriate species and provenances to plant’. ‘It is important that we plan our habitat restoration practices in line with future climate predictions, based on the best science we have available,’ said Ms Humphreys.
While the guide is a great resource, it will still require a lot of planning to coordinate and implement the guidelines. Our staff and committee are urgently seeking funding to start implementing the guide, and expand our networks so we can source suitable provenances of plants and seeds. Once we secure funding, we will start work on planning and constructing Climate Future Plots in the Mount Alexander region.
A copy of the ‘Establishing Victoria’s Ecological Infrastructure: A Guide to Creating Climate Future Plots’ is available online for downloaded – click here.
The purpose of the guide is to provide a step-by-step process for organisations and community groups to plan, establish and monitor Climate Future Plots, and to establish a network of climate-resilient plant communities across Victoria and ideally nationally.
Here are some highlights from our revegetation program, which have survived well in the recent extreme weather, so far (photos by Connecting Country)