Updates for the third edition of the Germplasm Guidelines are going well, with reviewer comments recently addressed by chapter working groups. Thanks to all those involved in the review and writing process! External reviews will begin shortly. Production of the ‘Plant Treasures’ video series funded by The Ian Potter Foundation is underway, with producer Chantelle Doyle and videographer Michael Lawrence-Taylor engaged to help spread the key messages of the Germplasm Guidelines. The video series will include interviews with chapter authors and footage of ex situ conservation processes in action. Planning is also underway for the launch of the Guidelines at the virtual Australasian Seed Science Conference on 6-10 September 2021.
A backload of workshop enquiries from last year has resulted in a number of ANPC workshops and field days locked in for this financial year. There has already been one seed collection workshop delivered for Hay Landcare/ Riverina LLS in February with planned propagation, direct seeding and regeneration workshops to follow. There are also seven field walk plant identification and management workshops at various locations across far west NSW planned between Central and Western LLS over two weeks in May and another series proposed in August. Keep an eye out for these workshops which will be promoted as soon as we finalise times and locations.
A national meeting of more than 200 scientists and government, industry and community representatives has issued a Statement of Concern on Myrtle Rust, with a call for individuals and organisations to add their signatures. The Statement is directed to all Australian governments, and calls on them to endorse and fund a national action plan for this introduced plant disease.
In late March more than 200 scientists and government, industry and community representatives met in Ballina NSW to discuss the introduced plant disease Myrtle Rust, a growing threat to Australian native plants and ecosystems. The ANPC has been active on Myrtle Rust since 2011, and was a partner in organising the symposium.
More than ten years after the arrival of Myrtle Rust in Australia, there is still no coordinated and funded national response. In those years, the list of Australian species known to be capable of infection has grown to nearly 400 species. Five species are known to be in catastrophic decline, including two that were, before 2010, common along the east coast but are now listed as Critically Endangered due to Myrtle Rust. It is estimated that a further 40+ species are at high risk ‒ they all need urgent field assessment and germplasm conservation as a precursor to future recovery actions.
In the absence of an adequate national response by governments, the community of scientists and conservation practitioners active on the issue have evolved a National Action Plan for Myrtle Rust (www.apbsf.org.au, also at https://www.anpc.asn.au/myrtle-rust). This is a practical, science-based framework for the urgent actions needed to prevent extinctions, and to lay the basis for possible future recovery. The National Action Plan is already shaping research and action priorities for some institutions and State agencies.
But the Action Plan remains unfunded, and without formal endorsement by any government agencies.
“We face irreversible damage to our natural heritage and a permanent loss of biological resources if action is not taken”, says Bob Makinson, ANPC’s representative on the Symposium organising group and a co-author of the Action Plan. “This other, silent pandemic needs a nationally coordinated response and a basic level of resourcing. The Statement of Concern seeks to focus the attention of governments on this threat. We need signatures from concerned people, and especially from organisations in the science, conservation, Indigenous, and natural resource management areas. We ask all concerned individuals to bring the Statement to the attention of the peak committees of such organisations as soon as possible, and seek their endorsement of it.”
The Statement of Concern is open for signatures (organisational and individual) at https://www.apbsf.org.au/myrtle-rust/
Further information on Myrtle Rust is available at https://www.anpc.asn.au/myrtle-rust/
Orchid Conservation Symposium
The ANPC will be working with project partners to organise an orchid conservation symposium in 2021. This symposium to be held over two days will provide an online forum to increase awareness of the ecology and conservation of orchids amongst practitioners. It will also provide an opportunity to share the project’s results and promote networking among the orchid conservation community. The symposium is scheduled for 22 and 23 June 2021.
To receive updates on the Orchid Conservation Symposium please subscribe to the mailing list.Register for the Symposium here
Professor Steve Johnson, Research Chair, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Professor Rod Peakall, Professor in Evolutionary Biology, The Australian National University, ACT, Australia
|Ms Alyssa Weinstein, PhD candidate, The Australian National University, ACT, Australia|
|Dr Amy Hinsley, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford University, UK|
|Dr Belinda Davis, Research Scientist, Kings Park Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, WA, Australia|
|Dr Bronwyn Ayre, Research Officer, La Trobe University, Vic, Australia|
|Professor Celeste Linde, Professor, The Australian National University, ACT, Australia|
|Dr Jenny Guerin, Seed Research Officer, South Australian Seed Conservation Centre, Botanic Gardens of South Australia, SA, Australia|
|Dr Gunter Fischer, Head of Flora Conservation, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Hong Kong|
|Dr Jenifer Wraith, EcoCommons Business/Scientific Analyst and User Support Officer, Griffith University, QLD, Australia|
|Mr Len Carrigan, Volunteer, Australian Native Orchids Society, Victoria, Vic, Australia|
|Mr Marc Freestone, PhD Candidate, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, The Australian National University, Vic, Australia|
|Dr Myles Menz, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute, Germany|
|Dr Noushka Reiter, Senior Research Scientist, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, The Australian National University, Vic, Australia|
|Mr Richard Dimon, Research Assistant, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Vic, Australia|
|Dr Russell Barrett, Systematic Botanist, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, NSW, Australia|
|Dr Ryan Phillips, Senior Lecturer in Ecology, La Trobe University, Vic, Australia|
|Mr Tobias Hayashi, PhD candidate, The Australian National University, ACT, Australia|
On Friday 19 February ANPC Healthy Seeds Project Manager, Dr Martin Driver, ran a seed collection workshop in Hay, NSW. The event was free to attend and is the first in a four-part series of workshops titled ‘4 Seasons of Seed’. Click here for details on the workshops.