The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and BHP Billiton Iron Ore have led a ground-breaking 'think tank' as part of the Restoration Seed Bank Initiative.

rsb seedling d merrittView image slideshowThe five-day think tank saw local and international experts gather in Western Australia with Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) scientists with the aim of advancing seed technology research within the State and across the country.

BGPA Chief Executive Officer Mark Webb said the think tank, held in January, had come at an important time in ensuring the mining industry in Western Australia was leading the world in rehabilitation practice.

'The Restoration Seed Bank Initiative model has created significant international interest with the growing recognition of landscape-scale ecological rehabilitation in biodiversity protection', Mr Webb said.

During the week, plant scientists, ecologists, engineers and environmental managers from Australia, South Africa and the United States participated in workshops at Kings Park and Botanic Garden and took a two-day field visit to BHP Billiton Iron Ore rehabilitation sites in the Pilbara.

'It is clear from the think tank that effectively restoring biodiverse native plant communities requires a multi-disciplinary approach and the work will lead to new approaches to native rehabilitation of mined areas and provide valuable land care information.

'The opportunity provided by the Restoration Seed Bank Initiative to engage a diverse group of scientists with industry ensures that research can focus on what is required for restoration now and in the future', BGPA Research Scientist Dr David Merritt said.

The Restoration Seed Bank Initiative commenced in June 2013 as a five-year $5 million research partnership between Kings Park and Botanic Garden, BHP Billiton Iron Ore and the University of Western Australia.

It aims to develop the science, knowledge and technical skills required to achieve cost-effective and scalable rehabilitation of native vegetation in the Pilbara.

Pilbara restoration mine site. Photo: D. Merritt. BGPA science team at the restoration site. Photo: D. Merritt.

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