Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Restore & Renew NSW

A Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust flagship project

Restore & Renew NSW will set a new global standard for restoration research and practice. Genetic, environmental and ecological information will be collected on a scale never attempted before.

Using innovative techniques, such as Next Generation Sequencing (a technique similar to that used in the ‘Human genome project’) and citizen science collection teams, we will capture more information in four years than has been obtained in the last 40.

It’s a huge task and we’re looking for as much help as we can get. Citizen Scientists are sought to help collect plant material for genetic analysis, and sponsors are invited to support this ground-breaking research.

What will it deliver?

An online survey of NSW Restoration practitioners confirmed the importance of the Restore & Renew NSW concept. 86.4% of respondents (n=247) agreed that outcomes would be ‘extremely useful’ to ‘useful’.

It is crucial that the high rate of land clearing and degradation in NSW is met with restoration efforts that are effective, cost-efficient and consider future environmental and climatic challenges.

Restore & Renew NSW will develop a decision-support tool that can improve the success and long-term viability of restored vegetation, particularly in response to a changing climate.

Research-based, detailed and specific restoration guidelines will be developed for over 200 plant species which are considered useful in restoration projects across NSW.

Evolutionary and environmental research outcomes will also identify predictive generalisations that can be applied across many other species used in restoration throughout NSW, and will provide unparalleled insight into the evolution and adaptive potential of the Australian flora.

Research outcomes and restoration guidelines will be made readily available to restoration practitioners, decision makers and the broader community through a user-friendly live website.

Selecting target species

To maximise the relevance and applicability of research outcomes, restoration practitioners and expert ecologists were consulted. Feedback from 247 NSW practitioners from various areas of native vegetation restoration produced an initial list of species that are most commonly used in restoration activities.
An expert workshop was held in March 2014 and refined the list of targets to a final group of 232 species. The refinement took into account frequency of use as well as the need to capture sufficient geographic, environmental and functional diversity.

A list of the 232 species to be targeted can be downloaded here.

Next steps

Priorities over the coming months include:

  • finalising the sampling strategy
  • establishment of citizen science collection teams
  • development of a mobile phone app in partnership with the Atlas of Living Australia to facilitate easy and reliable data capture when collecting leaf material for genetic analysis, and
  • securing corporate and philanthropic support.

How can you help?

We’re recruiting citizen science collection teams across NSW. We are also seeking financial partners to provide additional support towards this innovative and ground-breaking research.

To express interest in becoming a citizen scientist or to find out more about partnership opportunities, please contact Maurizio Rossetto.

The use of Innovative research techniques makes it feasible to undertake genetic analysis of over 200 plant species.

Next Generation Sequencing, a technique similar to that used in the ‘Human genome project’, will be used to collect genetic information on a scale never before attempted for plants.

Citizen science collection teams will help collect plant material from a large number of sites spanning across NSW.

Participants of an expert workshop where the outcomes of a practitioner survey were used to create a list of 232 taxa to include in the project. From left to right: Peter Cuneo, Michelle Leishman, Linda Broadhurst, Chris Allen, Maurizio Rossetto, Doug Benson, Andrew Denham, Tony Auld.