Pictured above: the Epson Australia team at Australian PlantBank conservation and research facility at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, with Dr Cathy Offord, head of Australian PlantBank research
Epson Australia has entered a new partnership with the Botanic Gardens of Sydney to help address critical environmental challenges, specifically focusing on saving Australia’s vulnerable rainforest species.
Epson Australia managing director Craig Heckenberg said, “Our partnership with Botanic Gardens of Sydney is deeply committed to playing a role in preventing the rapid loss of plants and the impending extinction of species impacted by the harmful myrtle rust fungal disease.
“This partnership aligns closely with Epson’s dedication to achieving sustainability and enriching communities. By emphasising the importance of progressing toward a nature-positive and climate-resilient nation, this further highlights Epson’s commitment to making a meaningful difference in both the environment and the communities we serve.”
Australian rainforest plant species face numerous threats, including habitat fragmentation, invasive species, diseases and the impacts of climate change.
At present, at least 16 rainforest species are likely to become extinct within one generation, and over 350 other species are also affected by myrtle rust – a significant proportion of our unique Australian flora.
Through the partnership, Epson will support the Botanic Gardens of Sydney’s research and conservation efforts, primarily focusing on the Rainforest Seed Conservation Program.
This program propels innovative conservation methods for storing seeds and plant material of rainforest species, many of which cannot be conserved by traditional seedbank storage methods, making them more vulnerable to the risk of becoming threatened or extinct.
Epson’s partnership with the Botanic Gardens of Sydney will support the team at the Australian PlantBank to continue advancing the development of alternative conservation techniques, including tissue culture, cryogenic storage and living plant collections.
This crucial ‘protective custody’ provides an ongoing source of material for research and enables plants to be returned to the wild as part of rewilding or restoration programs.
Botanic Gardens of Sydney chief executive Denise Ora said, “Botanic Gardens of Sydney is a purpose-driven organisation that relies on support from partners such as Epson to help achieve positive environmental outcomes through shared values in sustainability and conservation.
“Native Guava is a critically endangered rainforest species and with Epson’s support, our scientists will conduct critical work in developing a genetically diverse collection in tissue culture at the Australian PlantBank. This will help to secure this species in our living collections and enable a range of research outcomes aimed at eventually restoring this species in the wild to help build more resilient ecosystems for generations to come.”
Epson Australia environment and sustainability manager Fatida Un added, “This partnership not only underscores the importance of conservation and biodiversity but also aligns seamlessly with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by promoting community education and advancing climate action.”
To celebrate the partnership, Epson employees recently joined the Botanic Gardens of Sydney’s horticulture team to help restore habitats with understorey plant species such as shrubs and grasses, which play a vital role in the natural landscape by protecting the soil and providing food and shelter for insects and animals.
Heckenberg concluded, “As we collaborate with the Botanic Gardens of Sydney, we are inspired by the diverse range of initiatives they advocate for as their iconic botanic gardens, cutting-edge research facilities, powerful community engagement programs and youth education initiatives open doors for our partnership to thrive.
“Our new partnership will truly help Epson and the Botanic Gardens of Sydney to co-create meaningful value within our local communities.”
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