Climate Change in Australia highlights need for plant preservation

Tue, Apr 21, 2009

Australian Climate Change

Whilst the UK has experienced one of the coldest winters for many years, Australia has been enduring severe droughts, challenging the survival of many of its gardens and plant species.

The exceptional heatwave particularly affected South East Australia during late Jan and early February 2009. Extreme conditions occured in North and East Tasmania, most of Victoria and adjacent border areas of New South Wales.

Many records were set in just a few days between 29 – 31 January 2009. Temperatures reached 41.5% at Flinders Island Airport on 29th January and half of Tamania had its hottest day on record on 30 January 2009. In North Tasmania, Launceston Airport reached 39.9c on 31st January, breaking previous records by 2.6c. This means that three of the four warmest records in this area were made during the 2009 heatwave.

Australian Botanical Gardens tackle climate change

The Australians love their gardens as much as we do in the UK .This is demonstrated by the fact that the number of visitors to Australian Botanical Gardens is the second highest after the cinema – some 13 million Australians or 41% of the population have visited one in the past year.

In November 2008, the Australian Botanic Gardens were among the first in the world to develop a national approach to climate change. Peter Garret, Federal Minister, believes that now is the time to formulate a co-ordinated strategy to support plant conservation in view of the challenges presented by climate change.

Mr Garret is responsible for the Australian National Botanical Gardens in Canberra, home to the country’s living collection of native plants with 6,300 species, one third of Australian flora and 500,000 visitors. The strategy identifys a number of key areas that will become the focus for conservation over the next 50 years.

  • For the first time, prioritising and co-ordinating seed bank collection – an enduring safety net for our plant genetic resources and an investment against species loss. What plants are most at risk and are we saving their seeds? If so, which type of garden is surviving extreme weather conditions?
  • Priorities for living collections – what are the botanic gardens growing? Who grows what, when climate is changing and water is scarce? Should each garden concentrate on what is most appropriate for its climate?

These highlighted questions capture perfectly the aims of Global Gardening and what I am trying to encourage on my sites. We need to identify which plants are adapting to climate change and use this knowledge to ensure the survival of our gardens.

This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Sue (Catmint) Says:

    Thanks for this post, very interesting and important. I didn’t water my garden this terribly hot summer in order to see which would survive. Some died, but many are coming back – they managed to survive! Botanical gardens are wonderful, whenever I go somewhere I try to visit the local bot. gdns. They are all so different, including the wildlife. (Beware of hungry monkeys if you snack in Malaysian bot. gdns. ) In Melb. we had a colony of bats which were wonderful to see. Until they started eating so much they became a problem There was division of opinion between animal rights vs preserving the gardens. Eventually the bats were driven away and now they live in a national park. To a certain extent these are my rambling thoghts stimulated by your post, but I think the thread is that bot gardens need to be seen as ecosystms not just collections of plants.

  2. Debbie Says:

    Thanks Sue Totally agree – eco-system is really another word for garden – especially as climate change takes bite.

    Interesting that you did not water your garden this summer to see how it coped .
    Do share which plants survived – would love to do a blog on them – or maybe you would consider writing a guest blog on my new site being lauched in April?

    Am planing to include more personal experiences from overseas gardeners so we Brits can learn from what is going on elsewhere.

    Best wishes