Big Scrub Landcare wish our members, volunteers and supporters a Happy New Year after the year that was 2020. Through the many challenges experienced – bushfires followed by a global pandemic – with your support, we continue to deliver important works to save our critically endangered rainforests and their incredible biodiversity.
2019-20 was another excellent year for Big Scrub Landcare (BSL). Our total expenditures including projects increased by 59% to $402,000, largely on our Remnant Care Program which supports important restoration works across more than 40 rainforest sites. We are currently running $1 million worth of projects. Big Scrub Foundation, our sister organisation, is contributing $450,000 to these projects, which span a period of 5 years. We believe its commitment to make these contributions has had a major impact of the success of Big Scrub Landcare grant applications for the three current projects: the $564,000 Saving our Species (SoS) Conservation Co-funding Project, the Environmental Trust’s $200,000 grant under its Research Program and the $100,000 Environmental Trust grant under its Rehabilitation and Restoration Program. These grants are not only contributing to improving the health and condition of remnants but are helping to expand into new and innovative projects to enhance the genetic diversity of rainforest restoration plantings through our world-leading Science Saving Rainforests Program.
A key milestone in our Science Saving Rainforests Program was the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the NSW Department of Primary Industries to provide us with a 5 hectare site for the plantation that will produce seed of 23 key structural species with optimal genetic diversity to provide resilience to climate change, insects and diseases. Seed will be propagated by nurseries to provide planting stock for restoration plantings. The concept is that these species, contribute to the ecosystem-defining closed canopy and mid-story structure of lowland subtropical rainforest, will be broadly distributed across the plantings. Unfortunately, Covid 19 restrictions delayed the collection of leaf samples that are used for DNA sequencing. Big Scrub Landcare President, Dr Tony Parkes, announced at the AGM that BSL and its partners would launch Stage 2 of innovative Science Saving Rainforests Program that will apply our world-leading genomics-based approach to the recovery of 30 threatened plant species that occur in our local rainforests. Up to 20 individuals of each of these threatened species will be added to plantation to produce seed with optimal genetic diversity. It is envisaged that 20 individuals of these species will be incorporated as discrete, genetically viable populations within the large restoration plantings. We continue to expanded our community engagement activities and to broaden and deepen our relationships with key supporters and stakeholders.
We look forward to continuing our projects in 2021 and working hard to save our critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest. Please join us on this journey, visit www.bigscrubrainforest.org to become a voice of the rainforest.
A message from Big Scrub Landcare President, Dr Tony Parkes.