Planting trees that plan for bushfire

Finding ways to revegetate that incorporate fire-retardant native tree species

Planting trees that plan for bushfire

Finding ways to revegetate that incorporate fire-retardant native tree species

Community Participation -


The issue

As we prepare for a dryer and warmer climate, there’s a lot of knowledge being built around fire-retardant and fire-resilient landscapes. For Landcare and our NRM partners, questions are being raised about how we revegetate in a more fire-wise way. What species do we plant? Where do we plant? How can we retain more water in the landscape?  Already, tree species lists are starting to emerge for fire-wise plantings in native shelterbelts, riparian areas, and corridors.  As a Landcare association, we want to incorporate these species into some of our plantings, but the first stumbling block is that many of the species aren't available as tube stock. 

Through conversations with our Native Seedbank Coordinator and nurseries managers, we have discovered that the absence of fire-wise species in nurseries is due to a combination of the species being fickle to propagate, slow to grow, hard to source (especially local provenance) and/or they only germinate from really fresh seed (e.g. a lot of rainforest gully species); all traits that make growing the species fiddly and expensive.

The solution

We have just embarked on a 2 ½ year FireWise project with funding from the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. This project will employ our Native Seedbank Coordinator a day a week to set up processes to enable local provenance FireWise plant species to be available for landscape scale plantings, and build the regional capacity to increase the frequency of these types of plantings. So what's the plan?:

  • Setting up a community nursery to operate out of a local Landcare trust (Pamboola Wetlands). This nursery will support volunteers to ‘nut out’ some of the propagation and germination issues around FireWise. It will also allow us to take the commercial profit element out of the equation and understand what it takes to grow some of these slower species through to tube stock. 
  • Fostering a network of ‘Seed Spotters’ throughout the valley that can alert us to where we can find these species in the wild and when they are fruiting. A number of groups and individuals have already been recruited
  • Establish 3 ‘living seed banks’, where local provenance FireWise species will be grown for future seed harvest. In these controlled environments we can build better efficiency into seed collection, and ensure a seed supply into the future.   
  • Deliver workshops to key partners such as LLS, local councils, LALCs, farm forestry groups and landholders to educate and stimulate conversations on local provenance plantings of FireWise species.  
  • Upgrade our current native seedbank to improve efficiencies so that more FireWise seed can be collected, processed, stored, and distributed to wholesale and community nurseries

The impact

For now, it's a wait and see...

Key facts

  • We are now 6 months into this project and we have already conducted 6 workshops. The community nursery is scheduled to be operational by this spring, and Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) has jumped on board as an financial partner to boost Indigenous involvement in this program. 
  • Although this isn’t a ‘case study’ in the classic sense, it is a story of where we are heading.  For us, the strength of the project will be in its connections and ability to morph and adapt as we all learn.  With that in mind, it seems like a good story to tell the wider Landcare community now, so other Landcarers can contact us and share in this fairly new and evolving journey.

Project Partners