Three TSR Hub researchers will present their work to the 11th Australasian Plant Conservation Conference (APCC) at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Victoria, Melbourne this week.
The APCC will focus on the theme “New Approaches to Plant Conservation Challenges in the Modern World”.
Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews will deliver the keynote speech, presenting the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy and introducing 30 plants the government has committed to saving from extinction.
Dr Jen Silcock of the University of Queensland will deliver the first plenary lecture of the conference, recounting her efforts to systematically survey plant species across south-western Queensland. She has logged more than 3000 hours of field time and gathered data on 2000 separate populations over the past 10 years.
“The criterion that allows listing of species because of extreme fluctuations (in combination with restricted and fragmented populations) must be carefully interpreted in arid zones,” says Jen.
“These fluctuations may be apparent rather than real and can confer resilience to grazing.
“A systematic survey approach facilitates robust conservation assessments across vast and poorly known regions, distinguishing species that have merely been lost in space and time from those that are at risk of extinction.”
She will also introduce and provide an update on the Red Hot list of Australia's most endangered plants (NESP TSR Hub Project 2.1).
TSR Hub research scientist Leonie Monks (The Department of Parks and Wildlife, Science and Conservation Division, WA) will introduce her work in a presentation titled “Translocation principles and practice: opportunities and challenges for threatened plant recovery".
“Translocations aim to prevent species extinction by creating or maintaining viable populations and are increasingly being undertaken world-wide in an attempt to stem the tide of biodiversity loss,” says Leonie, who works on the NESP TSR Hub’s Threatened plant reintroduction and relocation ( Project 4.3).
Leader of Project 4.3, Dr David Coates (also from The Department of Parks and Wildlife), will present his work on rescuing small populations from extinction.
For further details about the conference visit the Australian Network for Plant Conservation website.
Photo: Maireana lanosa habitat, by Jen Silcock
Many landscapes in Australia are fire-prone, and increasingly so. Altered fire regimes can have a serious negative impact on threatened plant species and ecological communities. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project is working to better understand the effects of different fire regimes on threatened flora in order to improve fire management strategies and conservation outcomes.
Almost a quarter of Australia’s possums and gliders are listed as threatened under Australian environmental law, and many more are showing signs of decline. Dr Rochelle Steven from The University of Queensland believes people in the community can do a lot to support conservation, especially in urban areas.
The detection and monitoring of threatened species have been a strong area of research in the National Environmental Science Program and also the two national environmental research programs which preceded it. Hub Director Professor Brendan Wintle takes a look at what we’ve been achieving and why it is so important to the conservation of Australia’s threatened species.
In 2009, the Christmas Island blue-tailed skink and Lister’s gecko were headed for imminent extinction. Parks Australia acted quickly to collect remaining wild individuals in order to establish captive breeding programs on Christmas Island and at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, which have been highly successful. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project team is working closely with Parks Australia to help secure a future for the two lizards beyond captivity.
The silver-headed antechinus and black-tailed dusky antechinus are carnivorous marsupials found in high-elevation forests in parts of central-eastern and south-eastern Queensland. They were only described in the past six years, but they are already listed as Endangered. Knowing where they occur is essential for effective conservation, but current distribution knowledge is patchy. To address this, PhD candidate Stephane Batista in partnership with the Queensland Herbarium and Queensland Department of Environment and Science is modelling the habitat where these threatened species are likely to occur, and is using detection dogs to rapidly survey these sites.