TSRs For Conservation Too

September 17, 1999 The RuraI News

Travelling Stock Routes and Reserves (TSRs) are Crown Land which are primarily managed and maintained by Rural Lands Protection Boards across New South Wales.

The primary role of TSRs are to allow for the movement of domestic stock from one area to another and they have long been recognized by farmers as important resources particularly during times of drought.

It is now recognized that many TSRs across the State also contain significant stands of remnant vegetation which has, over the past two hundred years, been largely cleared from surrounding agricultural land.

Remnant vegetation is vegetation which pre-dates European settlement and is important for a number or reasons, including its aesthetic value, it helps to minimise land degradation resulting from soil erosion, rising water tables and salinity it also provides shade and shelter for livestock and it may contain variants or provenance's of plants which have adapted to specific conditions and may prove to have value for other areas.

Remnant vegetation also provides food habitat for native fauna and provides seed sources of locally adapted trees, shrubs and grasses for use in revegetation projects.

TSRs are therefore not only important for travelling stock but they are also important for the conservation of native flora and fauna across New South Wales.

Given the importance of remnant vegetation acid the role of TSRs in conserving it, a joint Natural Heritage Trust project with Rural lands Protection Boards and Greening Australia was funded in 1998 to establish and manage seed orchards on areas of TSRs with significant remnant vegetation.

The main purpose of the established seed orchards are to conserve the native vegetation on them and to provide a source of seed from native trees, shrubs and grasses which can he used by local farmers, Landcare groups, councils, government authorities, schools and others for revegetation projects.

Seed orchards are therefore an invaluable community resource.

To date, approximately 821 acres of TSRs have been set aside and managed for seed orchards on Rural Lands Protection Boards in the Central West near Coonamble, Coonabarabran, Dubbo Molong, Forbes Condobolin and Nyngan.

The project now aims to establish at least ten new seed orchards on significant areas or TSRs within the Hay, Riverina, Narrandera, Murray, Wagga. Hume, Young, Gundagai, Yass, Cooma and Goulburn Rural Lands Protection Boards.

Over the next few months a number of field days will be held on established seed orchards in both the Central West and across Southern New South Wales.

The main purpose of the field days will he to provide free training in seed collection and seed harvesting and to provide general training in land management techniques for the conservation of native flora and fauna.

The field days will provide invaluable skills for those interested in revegetation techniques and general land-care issues and all farmers. Landcare groups, councils and other interested persons are encouraged to attend.

The timing and location of field days will be advertised in local papers.

Further information regarding the seed orchards and up and coming field days may he obtained by contacting David Coleman on (02) 6361 1981.