Local governments, landscape architects and urban greening professionals can now determine which plants will survive where over the next 50 years using a new tool.
The initiative is delivered through Hort Innovation, and led by Macquarie and Western Sydney Universities, as part of a five-year research project titled Which Plant Where.
The Which Plant Where plant selector tool is the first of its kind in Australia. Gwilym Griffiths, program manager, Which Plant Where, says the tool will be essential for stakeholders looking to future-proof their urban greening projects.
“The Which Plant Where plant selector tool is the first of its kind in Australia. It will become an invaluable resource to ensure we are making the right decisions when it comes to plant selection. Our living green assets play such an essential role in our urban environments, we cannot afford to play the guessing game when it comes to investing in our future,” says Griffiths.
“In the coming weeks, we will be running a series of webinars and instructional walkthroughs for potential users, which will dive into the science, functionality, and use of the tool.”
Joanna Cave, CEO, Greenlife Industry Australia said the tool will have countless benefits for the broader greenlife industry.
“Growers will be able to use the tool to help guide their own stocking decisions based on the areas and market segments they are targeting,” says Cave “It can also be a valuable tool for sales teams at production and retail nurseries.
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it will allow customers, including local government, landscape architects, landscapers and town planners to make climate-ready purchase decisions that benefit our communities of today and tomorrow.
“Climate change is not going away, so being able to plan stock mitigates the risk of losing species that may not be able to cope in the coming decades.” The tool will provide users with the option of a free or paid subscription. Information on over 2500 plant species, their performance, and climate functionality will be freely available to all users, as will numerous best practice guides covering topics such as plant selection, plant procurement and urban tree management.
The subscription version will include plant climate suitability information with maps highlighting changes in climate suitability for plants under predicted climate change scenarios in 2030, 2050 and 2070. The ability to build plant palettes, access information such as carbon and shade values and allow users to directly download a spreadsheet to send to the nursery to check for availability are also added functions of the subscription version.
“By industry investing in the use of the tool, it provides supporting funds to add further research and keep the tool updated. This will ensure industry is armed with current and correct information to future plan for urban green spaces,” Mr Griffiths said.
Hort Innovation Head of Research and Development Byron de Kock said the Which Plant Where was one of the foundational projects in the Hort Innovation Hort Frontiers strategic research partner initiative, and it is great to see the release of this valuable tool.
“This project is essentially future-proofing the urban plant palette to be resilient to climate change to 2070 and beyond.” Professor Michelle Leishman, Lead Researcher from Macquarie University, said "It is really exciting to see five-years of research come to fruition. We are very proud of the Which Plant Where plant selector tool and hope that it will become the 'go to' urban greening resource for the industry."
To access the tool, check out the new Which Plant Where website here