10 July 2012

NEWS: WA rescue effort for critically endangered flora

Threatened flora species in danger of extinction were planted across Western Australia during May as part of an annual Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) project to collect rare seeds and plant them in the wild.

DEC research scientist Leonie Monks said 15 critically endangered plant species were being targeted as part of the translocation project.

“Translocations have been carried out by DEC for nearly 60 plant species over the past 17 years, but with 137 critically endangered species in Western Australia there is plenty of work still to do to prevent extinctions.” she said.

“New translocations combined with follow-up maintenance and monitoring of translocation sites is maximising the chances of survival of many species across the State.”

Ms Monks said translocating rare species could be extremely challenging.“Some of these species consist of just a handful of individuals in the wild, so in many cases it takes several years before there are enough seeds in storage for us to be able to attempt the translocation, and even then the seedlings may not survive,” she said.

“In other cases we are more successful, such as for Grevillea calliantha, which we are planting and monitoring near Cataby. We planted 177 seedlings in 2010, 74 of which have survived, and we are about to plant a further 102 seedlings.

“A population of critically endangered Banksia brownii translocated in Stirling Range National Park between 2006 and 2009 has recorded an 86 per cent survival rate from 219 specimens planted, and that kind of result is extremely encouraging.”

Source: Australian Seedbank Partnership.

Leonie Monks will be providing an overview of lessons learnt from Western Australian flora translocations at an ANPC workshop on the translocation of threatened flora in Sydney 6th November 2012.