Australian Garden History Society launches position statement on climate

Melbourne of the future will be hotter and drier and current planning and planting in the Royal Botanic Gardens must address these new conditions. Photo Adobe Photo Stock

At its 42nd conference, which was held in Hobart this week, AGHS Patron and head of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Prof. Tim Entwisle, launched the Society’s position statement on climate change.

In launching the statement, he noted that the AGHS can and must advocate for the conservation (not preservation) of worthy garden designs and creations, with provision for those designs and creations to be adapted.

“Gardens always need renewal and a certain amount of change if they are to remain true to their intent, but the stakes are now higher,” he said. “To experience the majesty of dawn (or any damn time of day), we need to plan and respond.

“Our position statement, and all that surrounds it, should provide the victuals we need as a Society – and society – to prevail.”

He noted that within the RBG, planning is already underway to ensure that planting choices are examined for their appropriateness for Melbourne’s changing climate, which is forecast to be hotter and drier than it is now. He said climate modelling suggested Melbourne would experience conditions more like those of Dubbo in central western New South Wales.

Specifically, the AGHS climate change strategy sets out the steps needed over the next 20 years to transition gardens and landscapes to be resilient to the climate modelled for 2090. To read about AGHS position statement, click here for the media release.

Background

In late 2021, AGHS set up a climate change advisory group, which he chaired. The Committee was tasked with:

  • Developing an AGHS position statement on climate change that addresses principles of mitigation and management as well as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural heritage;
  • Developing a responsive ‘tool kit’ which reflects our mission to research, advocate, educate, manage and mitigate the impacts of climate change; and
  • To promote lessons from historic gardens and cultural landscapes with potential to inform responses to climate change, such as life pre-reticulated water, with more limited plant selections.

Described as ‘a tool kit’, it will be available as a living document, published on the AGHS website, with case studies, tools and tips for garden owners and those working to preserve Australia’s cultural landscapes.

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