Austrailia's solutions for extremely large revegetation challanges are impressive and innovative. Direct seeding has proved practical where tree planting is not. A seed collection industry has developed to supply very large scale revegetation projects including mining, roading and restoration of very difficult situations like droughty salty ruined farmland. Transplants simply do not cope with the extreame conditions in the field where as direct seeded plants do survive and grow. The big picture is not good for Austraila due to problems with drought and salinity, the expense of tree planting on the scale required to make any difference is simply unaffordable. The response to this problem in recent years (involving direct seeding) has been very interesting and well worth studying.
A South Aus synopsis by Neville Bonney
Until a decade ago people and nurseries grew native tree seed in pots and tubes, and went about the task of trying to arrest the degradation of large areas of South Australia that had been cleared of trees during the previous century. Some land holders even used farm drilling machinery to sow native seed, some had success, but mainly it was hit and miss. While Government agencies were encouraging tree planting throughout the country, and there were excellent projects being carried out, the big picture was not good; soil erosion was on the increase, salinity was increasing in many areas of the state, and many lone trees on farm land were in a state of senescence. So for all the good work, South Australia was still losing out. In March 1990 a National conference held in Adelaide titled "Sowing the Seed" brought many people together to discuss the landcare problems not only in South Australia, but for Australia as a whole. It was at the time when the One Billion Trees program was announced by the Federal Government. Out of the conference old methods of the 1920's were reincarnated on Direct Seeding native vegetation. In the 20's single species trees were used such as Sugar gums etc, in Victoria, but for various reasons, lost favour after a period of time. As a result of the conference in Adelaide, Greening Australia (South Australia) Inc took on an education and demonstration program, and with the three year sponsorship of the national firm Baulderstone Hornibrook, went out into Rural South Australia to help change peoples' attitudes towards a cost effective way of achieving revegetation on the broad acre. After several years of implementing this practice, and refining the various aspects for improving the process we can now say that Direct Seeding is accepted as part of the Revegetation vocabulary. So much so, that recipes are in place for not only achieving vegetation, but for achieving particular aspects of vegetation such as seeding to arrest salinity, control erosion, for quarry and mine rehabilitation, and to achieve biodiversity. Shelter for stock and crop, seed orchards, farm forestry, food crops, riparian management are all now considered.
some further reading...