Neville Walsh is Senior Conservation Botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. His work involves both plant identification and classification, and, conservation. Neville's roles include naming and describing new plant species and investigating how rare species can be conserved.
It is possible to restore degraded sites back to high quality grasslands, as long as the main plant species are there, sometimes called the ‘keystone’ species. Through clever management, usually involving fire, conditions can be created that favour the native species over the weeds. The seeds of many plant species can last for many many years in the soil, just waiting for the right conditions to arrive. In cases where there aren’t seeds or plants of the original grasslands, these can be added to the site through some clever tricks. People have been researching the best way of doing this...