Epson Australia has entered a new partnership with Botanic Gardens of Sydney to help address critical environmental challenges, with a specific focus on saving Australia’s vulnerable rainforest species.

Sloanea_woollsii.jpgVulnerable rainforest species Sloanea woollsii. Photo: Botanic Gardens of Sydney

“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,” said Epson Australia MD Craig Heckenberg.

“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.”

Dr_Cathy_Offord.jpgThe Epson Australia team inside the award-winning Australian PlantBank conservation and research facility at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, with Dr Cathy Offord, head of Australian PlantBank Research

 Australian rainforest plant species face numerous threats, including habitat fragmentation, invasive species, diseases and the impacts of climate change. At present, there are at least 16 rainforest species that are likely to become extinct within one generation, and there are over 350 other species that are also affected by myrtle rust - a significant proportion of our unique Australian flora.

Through the partnership, Epson will be supporting the Botanic Gardens of Sydney’s research and conservation efforts, with a primary focus 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 said. 

“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."

sterile_tissue_culture.jpgAmanda Rollason, Botanic Gardens of Sydney's technical officer, prepares plant specimens for storage in sterile tissue culture at the Australian PlantBank, an alternative to traditional seed banking. Picture credit: Botanic Gardens of Sydney.


“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,” said Denise Ora, CEO Botanic Gardens of Sydney. “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 & sustainability manager Fatida Un: “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.”

planting sessionEpson volunteer planting session at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan

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.

“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,” Heckenberg said. “Our new partnership will truly help Epson and the Botanic Gardens of Sydney to co-create meaningful value within our local communities.”

The Rainforest Seed Conservation Program aims to increase the Australian and global capacity to conserve rainforest species by improving our understanding of their biology, developing best-practice methods of conservation, and working with other conservation agencies to prevent future loss of plant species in the wild. 

Botanic Gardens of Sydney encompasses three world-leading botanic gardens, Australia’s premier botanical research institute (the Australian Institute of Botanical Science), and Sydney’s leading outdoor activation precinct (The Domain Sydney). Botanic Gardens of Sydney is Australia’s oldest scientific institution and aims to inspire and help people discover the power of plants and the inherent value they provide to our everyday lives.  “Our world-leading research and collections advance the fundamental knowledge of plants and drive effective conservation, restoration, and management strategies to help secure the future for generations to come.” 


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