A u s t r a L i a n n e t w o r k f o r p L a n t c o n s e r V a t I o n


Taxonomy and the conservation community: Where are we at and where



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Taxonomy and the conservation community: Where are we at and where 

are we going 

Kevin Thiele 

Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Environment & Conservation,

 

Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery 



Centre WA 6983 

Taxonomy – the science of delimiting and naming taxa of living organisms – provides a critical 

underpinning framework for the whole of biology, particularly for conservation. Without adequate 

understanding of the taxa that occur in nature, and without names which allow information on those taxa 

to be communicated effectively, conservation at the species level cannot proceed. Taxonomy 

increasingly is becoming reactive to the needs to conservation; at the Western Australian Herbarium, for 

example, considerable taxonomic work is targeted and prioritised to support conservation, increasing 

both the relevance of taxonomy and the effectiveness of conservation. Conversely, however, taxonomy 

is a mature science and must be free to progress as a science, with the implication that at times such 

progress will be inconvenient for users. Recent and ongoing advances in our knowledge of the 



   

 

 



 

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relationships of plants, for example, are resulting in substantial taxonomic reassignments, and 

consequent name changes, in some groups. These changes are sometimes criticized as un-necessary, 

costly, and disruptive. However, while stability and convenience are important short term goals, in the 

long term stability implies stasis in knowledge, and this will harm all sciences that rely on the framework 

knowledge provided by taxonomy. While taxonomic research may greatly inform conservation questions, 

the outcomes of taxonomy should not be too closely guided by desired conservation goals. This paper 

will focus on the opportunities, costs and limitations of a close linkage between taxonomy and 

conservation, and will discuss the implications for taxonomy of the partnership with conservation 

planning and practice.  



The curious effects of mycorrhizas on the phosphorus nutrition and 

seedling establishment in the Jarrah forests of Western Australia 

Mark Tibbett

 

Centre for Land Rehabilitation, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009  

Mycorrhizas are a vital symbiosis for many plants of the mega-diverse western Australian Jarrah forests. 

The soils of the Jarrah forest are ancient and phosphorus is the key limiting nutrient because it is 

sparingly available in the highly weathered (Fe/Al rich) regolith. Despite the P-fixing nature of many WA 

soils, phosphorus can become toxic to some functionally important native (and endemic) Australian 

trees, including the Jarrah tree itself (Eucalyptus marginata). Mycorrhizas seem to have a curious and 

sometimes unexpected effect on the nutrition and growth of their host plants in these soils and 

ecosystems that will be reviewed in my paper. 

Many Western Australian tree species form dual symbioses with both ecto- and arbuscular mycorrhizal 

(AM) fungi , with AM relationships being prevalent in seedlings. In this presentation I will explore recent 

evidence that arbuscular mycorrhizas have an important role in regulating plant P uptake in the early 

stage of tree growth and that managing soils for early AM symbiosis may be important for some P 

sensitive plants. 

Another ecologically important aspect of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis is the proliferation of mycelial 

networks that colonise the roots of more than one plant, thereby forming a below-ground network linking 

(potentially) numerous plant roots with common fungal hyphae. I will also examine whether the presence 

of an established network of common mycorrhizal hyphae would affect the emergence of seedlings of 

key species from the Jarrah forests.  

Minimising uncertainty by maximising knowledge: Examples from 

Western Australia of how partnerships with industry deliver enduring 

value for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation 

Stephen van Leeuwen 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Wildlife Research Centre, P.O. Box 51, Wanneroo WA 6946 

Western Australia is unequivocally an economic hotspot that is fundamental to our Nation’s economic 

wealth and prosperity. In recent years the State has contributed well over 15% of GDP to the Australian 

economy and with the current growth in resource development this figure is expected to approach in 

excess of 25% in 2010. Commensurately, the State also has a wealth of biodiversity as demonstrated 

internationally by the south-west being recognised as a global biodiversity hot spot and nationally 

through harbouring eight of the 15 national terrestrial biodiversity hotspots. 

Knowledge critical for land use and conservation planning includes knowing what biodiversity we have, 

where it is and why it is where it is. Similarly, understanding how the many elements of biodiversity 

interact and a comprehension of the processes that threaten biodiversity are also critical to maintaining 

biodiversity and the ecosystem processes that support sustainable development. In Western Australia 

finding persistent solutions to documenting biodiversity, mitigating threats and ultimately managing the 

risks to economic development and biodiversity conservation is often beyond the capabilities of any 

single group be they in the public or private sectors, especially when competition for financial resources 

and intellectual capital is intense. 

Under these circumstances productive and enduring solutions to mitigate risks and minimise uncertainty 

have been delivered through the development of collaborative partnerships between government and 

industry. Such partnerships are founded on rigorous science that delivers credible outputs which inform 

resource developers, land-use planners and biodiversity managers on how sustainable development 

can proceed. 


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This presentation will cite several botanical examples, mostly from the Pilbara, of how engagement with 



industry has delivered significant knowledge dividends that inform resource development, land-use 

planning and biodiversity management. The examples will demonstrate that the outputs from 

engagement convey enduring value for industry via providing greater certainty and simultaneously 

delivering immense worth to the community through informing land-use planning and biodiversity 

management activities.  

Seed Industry Accreditation - A project by the Revegetation Industry 

Association of WA 

David Venning 

Revegetation Industry Association of WA, david.venning@tranen.com.au  

RIAWA was formed in 2002. It brought together stakeholders from many different segments of the 

industry in order to improve standards/quality of revegetation through providing a professional forum for 

exchange of knowledge and information, whilst also working to set up effective working guidelines. 

The RIAWA management committee (formed of representatives from the commercial, government and 

research sectors) has, over the years, worked closely with Florabank at a federal level and supported 

their efforts to establish nation- wide accreditation standards for the seed industry. In WA there has been 

significant pressure from stakeholder groups to establish a State system. Whilst no other state in 

Australia has a formal accreditation process, here in WA it is seen as a critical requirement to support 

the on-going sustainability and quality standards of the seed industry. 

With this in mind the RIAWA committee has now embarked on a formal Accreditation project which 

culminated recently in a two day forum attended by the full committee and other industry experts and a 

representative from DEC. A draft plan has been designed. An accreditation officer has been appointed 

to assist in the preparation and operation of the process. It is estimated that the system will be 

completed by mid 2011. 

RIAWA would like the opportunity to update the conference delegates on this important industry 

initiative. 



The challenges for climate change adaptation in old stable landscapes  

Grant Wardell-Johnson  

Institute for Biodiversity and Climate, School of Science, Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley WA



 

Anthropogenic climate change threatens the Earth’s biota and human society. In Australia, the subdued 

landscape of the south-western Australian (SWWA) global biodiversity hotspot is already experiencing 

climate change, with predictions for further warming and drying in the area. The scale of the problem is 

outlined, with particular reference to Mediterranean environments generally, and south-western forested 

ecosystems in particular. The urgent need for societal engagement is then briefly outlined, given both 

the levels of warming already committed, and the limits to society’s adaptation capacity. Climate change 

adaptation options in subdued landscapes are then discussed, including the identification and 

management of climate change refugia. By identifying areas that are most likely to act as refugia for the 

biota under projected climate change, adaptation and conservation activities can be focused where they 

will provide greatest benefit. A multidisciplinary team in SWWA has developed a methodology to 

determine whether granite outcrops and their fringing environments in SWWA will act as refugia in the 

face of anticipated climate change. Our approach examines the environmental characteristics of granite 

outcrops, phylogeographic patterns, resource availability, and the resilience of granite outcrop plant 

communities and fringing vegetation compared to that of the wider landscape. This integrated, 

transdisciplinary approach is examining the role of granite outcrops as safe havens for the biota in the 

face of climate change, and is applicable for the more general identification of climate refuges. Our 

approach also provides a mechanism to determine appropriate management actions.   



Taxonomic turmoil in the Triggerplants: implications for conservation 

management 

Juliet Wege 

Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery 

Centre WA 6983 


   

 

 



 

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The Triggerplant genus Stylidium Sw. (Stylidiaceae) has been the subject of a prolific phase of 

taxonomic research over the past two decades in which more than 100 new species have been 

recognised. This genus is now known to comprise more than 300 taxa, however, unlike many other 

large and iconic Australian plant genera, a modern taxonomic revision has yet to be completed. 

Consequently, a significant amount of taxonomic information is not readily accessible to conservation 

practitioners and other stakeholders. The absence of a robust taxonomic framework has meant that 

collections housed at the Western Australian Herbarium (PERTH) have often been inaccurately 

identified, which in turn has led to a poor understanding of the distribution, rarity and ecological 

requirements of many species. This has serious implications for conservation management, particularly 

in south-west Western Australia, a region with a rich and highly endemic Triggerplant flora that includes 

more than 60 conservation-listed taxa. Recent research has focussed on sorting and correctly identifying 

herbarium collections—a process that has not only dramatically improved our scientific understanding of 

many taxa, but has led to the discovery of a range of new conservation-listed species. Many of these 

have been unrepresented in the PERTH collection until recently despite the existence of historical 

collections at various national and international herbaria, highlighting the ongoing importance of 

botanical surveys in Western Australia. A project is underway to produce an electronic key to Stylidium 

in southern Australia and species fact sheets. Together these will revolutionise conservation 

management of our Triggerplant flora. 

The role of taxonomy in conservation 

Judy West 

Parks & Biodiversity Science, Parks Australia, Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts

 GPO Box 

787, Canberra ACT 2610

 

Taxonomy and species conservation are inextricably linked.  Taxonomy is a vibrant and exciting branch 



of biology with clear relevance to current conservation challenges, playing a role in conservation biology 

and conservation practices at various levels.   Basic taxonomic knowledge of species in a particular 

region is important for the local conservation practitioner with responsibility for uncommon or iconic 

species that the community considers important.   In cases of exploitation such as in the fishing or 

mining industries, knowledge of evolutionary relationships (beta taxonomy) can be critical to decision-

making.  Conservation management of a threatened species or control of an invasive taxon warrants 

knowledge of the biology of the organism (gamma taxonomy), such as understanding evolutionary rates 

and trends, population genetics and intra-population structure.  Australian examples well illustrate these 

interactions. 

Taxonomy is also important in the conservation policy arena where species lists can be used for 

conservation planning – e.g. estimates of species richness or endemism, or where an individual 

legislated threatened species influences conservation decisions. There are certain complexities of the 

application of taxonomy to conservation in, for example the units of taxonomy to be recognised, and the 

units chosen for conservation planning recognising the dynamic aspects of natural systems.   There is 

room for improvement in the interactions between these two fields of biology but it will require enhanced 

collaboration between conservation biologists, taxonomists and legislators.  Additionally, there is a need 

for accelerated delivery of the results of taxonomic investigations and greater emphasis on the 

translation of information for conservation outcomes. 

 

Planning for climate change: the adaptation/mitigation challenge 

Colin Yates 

Science Division,

 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA  



Widespread land transformation, habitat fragmentation and invasive species continue to cause loss of 

biodiversity. Anthropogenic climate change is a further stress which directly affects biodiversity through 

its fundamental influence on biological processes and indirectly by exacerbating existing threats. 

Reducing or stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions may slow global warming, but past emissions will 

continue to contribute to unavoidable warming and related changes in climate for at least a century to 

come. The temperature at which global warming will finally stop depends primarily on the total amount of 

CO

2   


released into the atmosphere since industrialization. The sooner emissions stop the lower the 

warming will be.  Deep and long lasting cuts in CO

2

 emissions will need to be made in the coming 



decades to limit global mean air temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial by 2100. With obvious signs of 

difficulties in achieving effective mitigation world-wide in the short term at least, there is a high 

probability of warming exceeding 2°C, a threshold often considered as dangerous for society and the 

environment.  



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Clearly urgent action is needed on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, but with inevitable climate 



change expected there is an urgent need for initiatives and actions that reduce the vulnerability of 

natural and human systems against expected climate change impacts. This will be challenging for 

biodiversity conservation because decisions will need to be made against a backdrop of uncertainty 

about the magnitude and rate of climate change, the climate tolerances and adaptive capacity of 

species, the resilience of ecosystems and the extent to which climate and other ecological factors 

control the population and range dynamics of species. This talk discusses these issues in the context of 

research being undertaken on climate change and biodiversity in Mediterranean climate south-west 

Western Australia.  



Poster abstracts  

Genetic consequences of mixing seed provenances in ecological 

restoration using field trials to test for Home Site Advantage and 

Outbreeding Depression in West Australian Stylidiaceae 

Louisa Cockram, Kristina Hufford, Siegy Krauss, Erik Veneklaas 

University of Western Australia, Crawley WA, 6009 

Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority, Fraser Avenue, West Perth WA 6005 

Ecological restoration and revegetation of degraded habitats usually requires the collection, movement 

and mixing of large amounts of native seed. Spatial and temporal variation in the environment combined 

with natural selection may result in multiple, genetically distinct ecotypes within a single species. Current 

restoration guidelines strongly recommend using local sources to maximize local adaptation and prevent 

outbreeding depression. Maladaptation and outbreeding depression are thought to be negative 

consequences of introducing non-local provenance seed into restoration, but there are very few studies 

to assess both simultaneously, and none in SouthWest WA. In this study, I am testing the strength of 

local adaptation and outbreeding depression using Stylidium hispidum, the White Butterfly Trigger Plant. 

Stylidium hispidum flowers from August to October and set seed within 6 weeks of pollination. Plant 

material for the genetic study was collected from 4 populations distributed within the Jarrah Forest along 

a 100 km latitudinal gradient. Selected material was used in a plant breeding trial to test for home site 

advantage and outbreeding depression in a field situation. AFLP analysis showed that only populations 

with the highest geographical distance were significantly different. Experiments in controlled conditions 

showed no difference in germination percentages but a 50% lower survival of long-distance intraspecific 

hybrids compared to short-distance intraspecific hybrids. Although field trials have only just been 

established the trial supports the use of local provenance seed in restoration programs, in order to avoid 

negative consequences of outbreeding depression. 

Improving restoration efficiency through understanding seed ecology  

Lucy Commander, David Merritt, Kingsley Dixon. 

Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority, Fraser Avenue, West Perth WA 6005 

Many restoration projects start with seeds, whether for direct seeding or seedling production.  If good 

quality seed batches are used, propagation methods are known, and seed storage conditions are 

appropriate, then we can increase the efficiency of seed use and increase the species diversity in 

restored mining areas.  Our research focuses on seeds from the arid zone of Western Australia, given 

the lack of seed knowledge and prevalence of mining.   

Climate plays a major role in seed ecology as temperature and moisture cue germination and drive 

dormancy loss.  We investigated germination rate across a range of temperatures (10-35

o

C) to 



determine capacity of seeds to rapidly respond to moisture pulses, as water may only be available in the 

soil for short periods.  Non-dormant seeds are able to take advantage of this soil moisture as they 

germinate quickly (time to 50% germination is 1-3 days) at optimum incubation temperatures (25 to 

35

o



C).   

Relative proportions of dormancy types were similar to those described for hot deserts; i.e. there are few 

non-dormant species, and physical and physiological dormancy predominate.  The environment is fire-

prone and the active compound in smoke, karrikinolide, promoted germination of dormant seeds of 

several species.  To alleviate physiological dormancy we used warm and dry (after-ripening), warm and 

wet or alternating dry and wet storage, conditions that mimic those experienced by seeds in the soil.  



   

 

 



 

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 Australian Network for Plant Conservation 8

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Dormancy loss was (at least partly) achieved by after-ripening or alternating dry and wet storage.  The 

results of this study will guide restoration efforts in arid Australia. 

Comparison of the impacts of plant canker disease and climate on 

Proteaceae and evaluation of selected fungicides as a management tool 

for canker control in the declared rare flora Banksia verticillata and 

Lambertia orbifolia

 

C. E. Crane

A C

, S. Barrett

B

, B. L. Shearer

A,

 , C. P. Dunne

A

 

A

Science Division, Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 



6983 

B

South Coast Region, Department of Environment and Conservation, Albany WA 6330 



C

Corresponding author: Email: Colin.Crane@dec.wa.gov.au 

The contribution of canker-causing fungi to stem and branch death in South Western Australia is not well 

documented or understood. Two declared rare flora Banksia verticillata and Lambertia orbifolia are 

currently being severely impacted by canker disease. To quantify and monitor canker severity and 

impact, permanent transects have been established in Banksia baxteriB. coccinea, B. verticillata and 



Lambertia orbifolia with 1620 individuals assessed across 32 sites. Individual cankers have been 

cultured and preliminary analysis indicates the most frequently isolated pathogenic fungi are those in the 



Botryosphaeria  complex, a putative Microthia,  Cryptodiaporthe and Cytospora spp. respectively. All 

except Cytospora spp. have been isolated at a low level from healthy asymptomatic tissue suggesting 

that they have some degree of benign endophytic role and that the environment may moderate the host-

pathogen relationship. Co-occurrence of several of the pathogens in single canker lesions also 

demonstrates a synergism in canker disease expression. Data loggers recording temperature and 

humidity have been installed at 20 of these sites covering the northern and southern rainfall extremities. 

Interpolated rainfall, temperature and humidity data for each site are being collected for comparison 

against canker impact scores in an attempt to develop predictive ability in climate change scenarios. The 

systemic fungicides fenarimol, prochloraz and tebuconazole are being investigated as control options in 

B. verticillata  and L. orbifolia  initially in vitro, then in vivo, for the four main canker causing pathogens.  

Managing feral olives and restoring endangered bushland – how can we 

maximise restoration success? 

Peter Cuneo

1,2,*

and Michelle R Leishman

1

Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109



 

2

Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Mount Annan Botanic Garden, Mount Annan, NSW 2567 



African Olive (Olea europaea ssp. cuspidata) is a dense crowned evergreen small tree, and a closely 

related sub-species of the cultivated European Olive. Invasion by African Olive threatens highly 

fragmented native vegetation in the Cumberland Plain region (western Sydney), where it forms a dense 

mid canopy excluding the regeneration of native species. We established a three year ecological 

restoration experiment following removal and mechanical chipping of an established African Olive forest 

to test the effectiveness of burning and re-seeding to re-establish native plant diversity. Burned plots had 

some regeneration of native species, indicating that the native soil seedbank was still present after 15 

years of olive invasion. Native grasses were found to be not persistent in the soil seedbank, however 

species such as Microlaena stipoides, Elymus scaber and Themeda australis were readily established 

by supplementary direct seeding.  Germination and establishment of native shrubs from the direct 

seeding mix was poor, suggesting that these species may have to be planted in subsequent years. The 

use of burning and direct seeding to establish early successional stage Cumberland Plain Woodland 

provides the basis of an ecological restoration model, which could be implemented in areas of African 

olive removal to exclude subsequent establishment of African Olive and promote re-establishment of 

native plant diversity. 


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An adaptive management strategy helps recover endangered Western 

Australian flora

 

R. Dillon, E. Adams, S. Barrett & A. Cochrane 

Science Division, Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 

6983 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Albany WA 6330 



Department of Environment and Conservation, Esperance WA 6450 

For critically endangered flora, recovery actions must be implemented urgently. Knowledge gaps in 

species ecology and biology necessitate an adaptive management approach. This approach obtains 

information needed to improve future management.  



Lambertia echinata subspecies echinata is a critically endangered WA endemic, highly threatened by 

the root pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi. Most of the habitat within the species’ known distribution is 

infested with the disease. The collection of seed and its use in translocating plants back into the wild are 

conventional flora recovery actions for plants at risk of extinction in Western Australia.  

Unfortunately, early attempts at translocation for this taxon were foiled by drought and disease. These 

failed attempts, coupled with limited remaining seed resources, led to the establishment of conservation 

seed orchards outside the species’ known range as a next step in an adaptive management strategy. 

Seed orchards provide secure sites, free from threatening processes where living plants can be 

maintained through intensive management.  

In 2006, two orchard sites were established from wild sourced material and with careful nurturing, plants 

exhibited high rates of survival and growth. By 2008, all plants had flowered and many produced fruit. In 

2009, sufficient seeds were harvested for the production of seedlings for new translocations. In June 

2010, 100 plants were established at each of two disease-free sites east of Esperance. The success of 

the seed orchards has allowed us to generate seed and seedlings for conservation efforts without 

impacting on natural populations. This strategy is contributing to the improvement of this Lambertia’s 

long-term future. 



Investigation into the germination and propagation of Persoonia 

pauciflora P.H. Weston 

Allison Frith

1

 and Cathy Offord

1

School of Biological Sciences,The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006; 



2

Mount Annan Botanic Garden, 

Mount Annan NSW 2567 

Persoonia pauciflora P.H. Weston is found in only one known population near North Rothbury in NSW. 

The extremely restricted distribution of this species and previously recognised problematic germination 

of  Persoonia  species makes conservation of this endangered species difficult. Collaboration between 

the NSW Seedbank and NSW National Parks and Wildlife investigated methods of germination and 

propagation to establish ex situ collections. Plant material and seeds were collected in December 2009 

from 19 plants randomly within the population. Cuttings were treated with 1, 3 and 8 ppm concentrations 

of Indole Butyric Acid rooting gel. Five replicates per pot were placed in nursery grade seed raising mix 

and housed in glasshouses with two humidity regimes (mist or fog). Pots were inspected at 2.5, 5 and 7 

months for the presence of roots. The highest strike rate was observed for cuttings treated with 3 ppm 

rooting gel (59%), which increased to 85% in the mist regime. Survival rate of stuck cuttings was 

approximately 50% after 7 months. Collected seeds were categorised into three age cohorts: 1) fleshy 

ripe seeds held on the plant, 2) dispersed fleshy seeds and 3) dispersed seeds with little flesh evident. 

Embryos were extracted, surface sterilised and treated with: 250 ppm of gibberellic acid (GA

3

), smoke 



water or smoke water + GA

3

, along with a control. The optimal temperature for germination was 



observed as 20

o

C with alternating 12 hours light/12 hours dark. High levels of contamination especially 



in the smoke water treatments hindered conclusive evaluation of optimal germination conditions and 

best germination was observed in the GA

3

 alone treatment (~3%) with no apparent effect of cohorts.  



   

 

 



 

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Local Provenance: Is the traditional paradigm in restoration ecology still 

relevant under climate change and fragmentation? 

Traditionally, seed for restoration projects have been sourced locally, to “preserve” the genetic integrity 

of the replanted site. However, the processes of climate change and fragmentation, with the subsequent 

development of novel environments, are forcing us to reconsider this basic tenet of restoration ecology. 

The question of where to source seed for restoration projects is complex and becoming increasingly 

urgent. 


My research aims to test the “local provenance is best” paradigm by comparing the performance of local 

to non-local provenances within common garden experiments, under current local conditions and and 

under manipulated climate. My focus is on species from the Cumberland Plain Woodland in western 

Sydney. This vegetation is classified as an Endangered Ecological Community under the NSW 



Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995) and as Endangered under the Commonwealth 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). 

My research questions are: 

1.  Do plants grown from seeds sourced locally have superior establishment and performance than 

those of the same species collected from other sites across the geographic range of the 

species?  

2.  What is the degree of variability in survival and growth rates of plants grown from seeds from 

different provenances of the same species, when grown under elevated CO

compared to 



variability within provenances?  

3.  Do provenances of plants collected from warmer and drier locations within the geographic range 

have superior survival and performance when subject to pulses of extreme high temperatures at 

a particular site? 



The ongoing recovery of Acacia chapmanii subsp. australis in Drummond 

Nature Reserve: A case study in adaptive management 

R. Huston,



P. Dufty, P. G. Ladd  

Department of Environment and Conservation, Weir Road, Mundaring WA 6073 

Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch WA 6150

  

Prior to this research, the size class structure, levels of canopy deaths and an absence of juveniles 



indicated all known populations of Acacia chapmanii subsp australis R.S.Cowan & Maslin, a Declared 

Rare Flora, were in decline.  Utilising an adaptive management approach when required to make 

conservation decisions on rare species substantially reduces risk whilst increasing our understanding of 

managed ecosystems (Wilhere 2002).   



A.chapmanii is killed by fire and therefore relies on seed for survival, with the hard seededness requiring 

fire related germination cues to break dormancy. After a 2004 experimental burn when both burnt and 

control plots were fenced, seedling establishment from soil seed bank and planted seed only occurred in 

burnt plots.  Monthly monitoring over the first 12 months showed 43% of planted seed and 50% of 

soilbank seed that initially germinated, survived to seedling stage.   

Following this success, to monitor herbivore effect a normal DEC fuel reduction burn was conducted, 

with seedling emergence in the same order as after the 2004 fire.  Seedling survival in open burnt plots 

was much lower than in fenced plots with skat counts indicating kangaroos as the culprits.  Only an 

occasional seedling in unfenced burnt plots survived into its second year.   However, when these 

unfenced and well grazed plots were enclosed in 2007 which eliminated herbivory impacts, there was a 

significant increase in A. chapmanii seedlings establishing 2 and 3 years following the fire.  This 

increase was not seen in the initial fenced plots, possibly due to the dense ground cover of a range of 

species that had germinated or resprouted following the fire. 

A number of other species also established within the burnt area, with indications that some species 

may become more dominant than they were prior to the fire.  Of most concern is the extensive 

establishment of Eucalyptus wandoo seedlings.  The established populations of A. chapmanii were 

mostly in open kwongan or low shrubland areas.  Further research needs to be undertaken to 

understand how A. chapmanii will cope in future years under the canopy of an over-storey of E. wandoo



Nola Hancock 

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particularly as the fenced plot  adjacent to the canopy of established E. wandoo had significantly fewer 



A. chapmanii seedlings establishing than in the other fenced burnt plots.   

Tweed Shire Riparian Vine Weed Control Strategy 

Sally Jacka 

Tweed Shire Council, PO Box 816, Murwillumbah.NSW 2484 

In 2008, the New South Wales Environment Trust funded Tweed Shire Council to develop a strategy to 

commence control of two vine weed species, Cats Claw Creeper (Macfadyena unguis-cati) and Madeira 

Vine (Anredera cordifolia) that are posing a severe threat to the environmental quality of waterways and 

riparian habitat in the Tweed Shire in northern NSW. 

Mature infestation locations were identified through aerial surveys. Mapping of the data collected was a 

useful tool in developing a strategy for effective long-term weed control. Key target sites were identified 

for vine weed control with priority given to upper-most stream infestations of streams not heavily 

infested. Using this strategy, it may be possible to eradicate these weeds from small sub-catchments. 

Consideration was also given to the protection of areas of high conservation value. 

Council’s pro-active approach to implementing weed control measures and training of landholders of key 

target sites has, thus far, proved to be successful with all of the landholders in the first stage of the 

program actively participating and keen to maintain the sites. Infestations found during follow-up surveys 

and reported by community members are recorded on a ‘living spreadsheet’ that provides an estimate of 

current condition and extent of the vines and helps to determine impact of control measures. 

Through on-ground restoration work, land holder involvement and on-going monitoring and evaluation, 

this program has potential to achieve significant outcomes in riparian restoration. 



Helicopter surveys as an efficient survey method for the Declared Rare 

Flora, Conospermum toddii, in the Great Victoria Desert  

Natalie Murdock, Louisa Cockram, Colin Woolard, Scott Reiffer and Libby Mattiske 

Mattiske Consulting Pty Ltd, PO Box 437, Kalamunda WA 6076 

The Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia is a relatively untouched and floristically diverse area, 

characterised by extensive longitudinal sand dune and sand plain systems. Energy and Minerals 

Australia’s Mulga Rocks Deposit lies approximately 250 kilometres northeast of Kalgoorlie. The area 

surrounding the deposits has undergone extensive botanical surveying by Mattiske Consulting Pty Ltd. 



Conospermum toddii, a spreading shrub occurring on yellow sand dunes, is endemic to Western 

Australia and is listed as Declared Rare Flora under the State Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and as 

Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  

The current knowledge of Conospermum toddii (Ct) has been expanded through on-ground surveys and 

targeted searches of dune systems by helicopter. Woolard Consulting Pty Ltd developed a Terrain 

Predictive Model (TPM)



 

to test the regional distribution of Ct habitats.  This model relates the style, 

colour and morphology of individual dune complexes to the likelihood of suitable Ct habitats. The TPM 

was tested during two helicopter surveys in 2009 and 2010 on a range of potential sand dune systems 

within 150 kilometres of the Mulga Rocks Deposit. Populations of Conospermum toddii were found up to 

70 kilometres east of the resource area and it is estimated that there are greater than 30,000 plants 

within these known populations. This species also regenerates after fire, with populations burnt 2-4 

years supporting juvenile plants. The co-operation between the mining industry and environmental 

agencies has been beneficial for the conservation and understanding of this species and other Priority 

species. 



New Recruits for the Loveable Triggerplant (Stylidium amabile)  

Gemma Phelan, Catherine Page and Alanna Chant 

Department of Environment and Conservation, 201 Foreshore Drive, Geraldton WA 6530  



Stylidium amabile (Loveable Triggerplant) is a Critically Endangered species known from only two 

populations at Maya, 300 km south east of Geraldton in Western Australia’s Midwest region.  Monitoring 

at the two Stylidium amabile populations had recorded that the number of individuals had declined from 

135 plants in 1993 to 27 plants in 2008.  Recorded observations over this period indicated that 

occasional unplanned disturbance events (both fire and soil disturbance) had been followed by 


   

 

 



 

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 Australian Network for Plant Conservation 8

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recruitment of the species. It was considered that the absence of disturbance in recent years was 

contributing to the decline in population numbers, and if this state continued this would be likely to lead 

to extinction within a few years. 

A disturbance trial was carried out which tested the use of prescribed burning and smoke water 

application to induce recruitment.  Disturbance mechanisms were applied in four sets of plots located in 

areas where adult Stylidium amabile plants had been previously recorded but where plants no longer 

survived.  Seed burial sub-plots were also put in place within the trial area to test weather soil 

temperature and the effect of shading influenced recruitment. 

The disturbance trial was implemented in May 2009. A moderately hot burn was achieved, which was 

followed by significant rainfall.  Monitoring in December 2009 recorded 425 new recruits in total.  The 

largest number of recruits was recorded in burnt plots and in areas where a greater concentration of 

adult plants are known to have historically been present.  Some recruitment also occurred in unburnt 

areas which were affected by smoke from the burn, and a smaller number of recruits were recorded in 

smoke water treatment areas.  There was no significant difference in the number of recruits recorded 

between seed burial plots located in sun and those located in shade. No recruits were recorded in 

control plots.   

Monitoring in March 2010 recorded a mortality rate of 50-60% for the first summer. There was no 

difference in survival rates for recruits within seed burial sub-plots located in sun and shade areas.  

Monitoring in July 2010 recorded a larger number of plants than had been recorded in March 2010, 

which indicates an additional wave of recruitment took place during the second winter. 

The initial success of the recruitment trial indicates that the use of fire as a management tool is likely to 

be critical in the maintenance of this species. However the trial is currently in the early stages of data 

collection and it is expected that other factors will also play a role in the long term outcome.  The 

observation of recruitment and survival over several years is intended, together with monitoring of other 

relevant information including rainfall records, the presence of herbivores, soil temperature and the 

effect of shading and the response of associated vegetation.

 

Prioritisation of Lambertia taxa for conservation according to the threat 

posed by Phytophthora cinnamomi 

B. L. Shearer

A,C

, C. E. Crane

A

 and J. A. Cochrane

A

 

A

Science Division, Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 



6983. 

C

Corresponding author: Email: Bryan.Shearer@dec.wa.gov.au 



Lambertia are keystone species within the communities in which they occur. Five of the Western 

Australian Lambertia taxa are Declared Rare Flora and two taxa have a P (priority) conservation code. 

Ranking of taxa according to Phytophthora cinnamomi susceptibility is fundamental to conservation 

options within integrated strategies conserving threatened flora of the South-West Botanical Province of 

Western Australia. Variation in P. cinnamomi susceptibility to infection within the genus Lambertia

 

was 


evaluated by soil and stem inoculation. Mortality score following soil inoculation was significantly 

positively correlated with lesion score determined by stem inoculation. The resulting scores positioned 

the Lambertia taxa in relation to P. cinnamomi susceptibility on the resistance-susceptibility continuum 

and prioritised taxa in relation to the threat posed by the pathogen. The highest mortality and lesion 

scores for the rare and endangered taxa L. orbifolia subsp. orbifolia,  L. fairallii,  and  L. rariflora  subsp. 

lutea suggest high risk of extinction to P. cinnamomi infestation. Furthermore rare and endangered taxa 

L. orbifolia subsp. Scott River Plains, L. echinata  subsp.  occidentalis and L. echinata  subsp.  echinata 

with high mortality and moderate lesions scores are also likely at high risk of extinction to P. cinnamomi 

infestation. For common taxa with restricted geographic distribution, the high mortality and lesion scores 

for L. ericifolia suggest high risk of localised extinction in P. cinnamomi disease centres. Positioning taxa 

on the P. cinnamomi resistance-susceptibility continuum needs to be incorporated into extinction-risk 

methodology in order to prioritise flora for conservation actions according to hazard from the pathogen. 



Australian Seed Bank Partnership 

Lucy Sutherland 

Australian National Botanic Gardens, GPO Box 1777, Canberra ACT 2601  

The Australian Seed Bank Partnership is working to achieve a vision for seed banking in the next ten 

years to ensure that no Australian native plant becomes extinct.  This alliance between eighteen 



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institutions is collaborating in efforts for collecting and storing seed as a long term insurance against loss 



of biodiversity and aiming to improve Australia’s capacity to undertake restoration for biodiverse and 

resilient ecosystems.  Science underpins much of the work of the Partnership and makes a major 

contribution to improving both conservation and restoration outcomes from seed banking.  The 

Partnership builds on the successes of the AuSCaR network which established a group of seed 

scientists, seed researchers, collectors and technicians capable of ensuring positive impacts on a wide 

range of conservation activities and developing practical responses to climate change.  This poster 

highlights some of the successes of the Partners’ work and outlines some of the future plans to further 

integrate seed banking into conservation efforts. 



Market driven micropropagation of WA plants for landscaping, 

revegetation and horticulture industries 

Linda Thomson, Reta Carleton, Chris Newell and George Lullfitz 

Lullfitz Nursery, PO Box 34, Wanneroo WA 6949  

Commercialisation of the WA flora using micropropagation contributes to the ex situ conservation of 

plants and can reduce harvesting of source plant populations.  Micropropagation produces large 

volumes of plants and is particularly effective for revegetation when:- 

• 

supplies of good quality, viable seed are low 



• 

seed dormancy problems cannot be easily resolved 

• 

source plant populations are small 



• 

alternative propagation methods fail or cannot meet industry demand eg. monocot plants 

Lullfitz Nursery exclusively micropropagates WA plants for the horticulture, wholesale landscape and 

revegetation industries, and has acquired intellectual property over a 20 year period.  The nursery works 

with revegetation and landscaping companies, landscape architects, local government, and regional 

revegetation and conservation nurseries, to target endemic species around the state for selection and 

development.  Source material for micropropagation can be any part of a plant, including seeds.  

Successful propagation outcomes are correlated with good quality seed and explants.  Species genetic 

variation can be captured by sampling different plants or seeds.  Provenance information is recorded for 

each collection and genotypes are assigned a unique code.  Initiated cultures must be aseptic and 

research is required to determine the protocols for plant multiplication.  Each species has weed risk 

assessment and each genotype has pathogen testing.  In vitro cultures are exported overseas to 

laboratories for multiplication, and then imported to the Lullfitz Nursery for acclimatisation and 

deflasking.  Strict quarantine inspections are required.  The R&D process can take 2-3 years, depending 

on the species; so long term planning is critical to achieve good outcomes. 


   

 

 



 

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 Australian Network for Plant Conservation 8

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Friday workshops  

Seeds: From collection to germination 

Katherine Downes  

Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley, WA 

Seeds are packaged living plants for dispersal that come in a range of sizes and forms. Workshop 

participants will be shown a diverse array of seeds and some of these seeds will be examined under the 

microscope. Seeds will be dissected to view different embryo types, and the features of endospermic 

versus non-endospermic seeds. This will be followed by a brief discussion of seed collection. Topics to 

be covered include licensing requirements (for WA), useful equipment, and when to collect seeds of 

different species. Workshop participants will be encouraged to share their collecting tips for different 

genera. In addition, methods of seed cleaning will be discussed. 

The second part of the workshop will be a chance to consider seed dormancy and germination. Seed 

dormancy ensures that plants germinate when environmental conditions are most conducive to seedling 

establishment. Whether seeds are serotinous or stored in the soil also has implications for dormancy. 

The main types of dormancy and methods to alleviate dormancy and stimulate germination, both in situ 

and ex situ, will be examined. 



NatureMap workshop 

Paul Gioia 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983 

NatureMap is an online window into Western Australia’s biodiversity. Users can query “where is what?” 

and “what is where?” about WA’s flora and fauna in a single, easy-to-use, portal. NatureMap targets a 

wide range of users, including researchers, conservation planners, community groups, industry, 

environmental consultants and the general public. Anyone can easily produce maps, species lists, 

reports and data downloads of WA’s biodiversity, all at no charge, and without requiring a degree in GIS 

or a bank balance to match. 

Funded primarily by DEC, NatureMap is a collaborative project between the Department of Environment 

and Conservation and the Western Australian Museum. NatureMap presents the most comprehensive 

and authoritative source of information currently available on the distribution of Western Australia's flora 

and fauna by utilising data warehoused from a host of key corporate biodiversity databases. 

With a highly sophisticated query environment and fine-grained security model, NatureMap assists in 

conservation planning, environmental impact assessment, biodiversity research and general enquiry, 

and provides information on threatened species - in many cases without requiring registration or special 

access. 


In the workshop attendees will learn: 

• 

How to use NatureMap in conservation planning  



• 

How to find out what species have been recorded in or restricted to a given area  

• 

How to produce maps and reports and download data about species distributions 



“What price quality restoration plant stock?’’ 

David Hancock 

Natural Area Holdings 99C Lord St Whiteman WA 6068 

The issue of standards and quality control, industry shortcomings, regulation and free market, planning 

and supply / demand are all central to the subject question and to the focus of the conference. Sure to 

get the participants thinking, talking and hopefully acting to bring about positive outcomes. 

The workshop aims to discuss a blueprint for the future of the revegetation industry. Including: 

1.  How to balance standards, regulations, outcomes and commercial imperatives and costs and 

still achieve our aims to preserve our floristic heritage  

2.  What are the essentials of a sound restoration project. 

3.  What are the risks to our flora from poor practices. 



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4.  What role should the regulators adopt and how can they be supported. 



5.  Who is responsible for the outcome and how are they to be accountable. 

6.  What level of compromise is acceptable. 

7.  What guarantees / warranties should be put in place to ensure outcome compliance. 

8.  Who are the key stakeholders and how can they work together on these issues. 



Plant Translocation workshop  

Bob Makinson, Tricia Hogbin, Leonie Monks  

Botanic Gardens Trust Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia 

Department of Environment Climate Change and Water, PO Box 488G Newcastle, NSW 2298. 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983 

This workshop is for people with an active interest or involvement in translocation at the policy and 

technical levels.  

There is a good deal of knowledge about plant translocation activity which is never published. It appears 

that most of the public documentation is in the form of species-specific pre-event Translocation 

Proposals, abbreviated pre-event proposals in Recovery Plans, occasional media stories, and a 

smattering of scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. Apart from the last, there is very little public 

documentation evaluating experiences.  

The workshop will be a discussion on how best to consolidate and share the growing national 

experiences of both conservation and amelioration translocations, including how to: 

•  Improve documentation, including possible establishment of a national register of expertise and 

case studies; 

•  Improve evaluation and adaptive learning techniques; 

•  Improve targeting and content of future ANPC Translocation training workshops;  

•  Improve links with other centres of translocation expertise (domestic and international); 

•  Improve knowledge in the main conservation agencies, across State boundaries, of good 

practice and the potential for translocation as a conservation technique; 

•  Scan possibilities for more consistent collaborative approaches (e.g. with the Australian Seed 

Bank Partners); 

•  Scan overlap areas with the revegetation sectors (research and industry); 

•  Identify what useful role an ANPC Translocation Working Group can play beyond training 

events. 

This workshop will be a discussion canvassing these issues and specifically the dot points above. It is 

envisaged that workshop outcomes will help take national translocation linkage and practice to a better 

level. 


Using Interactive Identification Keys 

Kevin Thiele 

Western Australian Herbarium Science Division,

 

Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, 



Bentley Delivery Centre, WA, Australia 6983. 

Identification of specimens is an important aspect of conservation. Traditionally, this is done using 

literature - floras and published revisions - or by asking skilled experts. Increasingly, computer-based 

identification keys are being built and used for identification. In Australia and Western Australia a 

growing number of electronic identification keys are being developed and released, including for iconic 

groups such as Eucalyptus, Acacia and Proteaceae. This workshop will begin with an introduction to 

current and future developments in interactive identification, followed by a hands-on session using keys 

to the Proteaceae of Western Australia developed at the Western Australian Herbarium. 

Participants should, if possible, bring a notebook computer to the workshop. The computer should have 

a recent version of the Java Virtual Machine (version v1.4.2 or greater) –  

See:  

• 

http://www.lucidcentral.com/Support/Forums/tabid/240/forumid/4/postid/77/scope/posts/languag



e/en-US/Default.aspx for instructions on how to check your computer's Java version, and 

• 

http://www.lucidcentral.org/Software/Lucid3/SystemRequirements/tabid/187/language/en-



US/Default.aspx to download the JVM. 

Document Outline

  • Contents
  • Welcome from the ANPC
  • Sponsors
  • Organising Committee
  • Social Functions
  • Venue
  • Program
  • Paper Abstracts Index
  • Paper Abstracts by Author
  • Poster Abstracts
  • Workshops



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