Mount Annan, Australia
Mount Annan, Australia

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Zimmer H.C.,University of Melbourne | Offord C.A.,Australian PlantBank | Auld T.D.,Office of Environment and Heritage NSW | Auld T.D.,University of New South Wales | Baker P.J.,University of Melbourne
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Translocation can reduce extinction risk by increasing population size and geographic range, and is increasingly being used in the management of rare and threatened plant species. A critical determinant of successful plant establishment is light environment. Wollemia nobilis (Wollemi pine) is a critically endangered conifer, with a wild population of 83 mature trees and a highly restricted distribution of less than 10 km2. We used under-planting to establish a population of W. nobilis in a new rainforest site. Because its optimal establishment conditions were unknown, we conducted an experimental translocation, planting in a range of different light conditions from deeply shaded to high light gaps. Two years after the experimental translocation, 85% of plants had survived. There were two distinct responses: very high survival (94%) but very low growth, and lower survival (69%) and higher growth, associated with initial plant condition. Overall survival of translocated W. nobilis was strongly increased in planting sites with higher light, in contrast to previous studies demonstrating long-term survival of wild W. nobilis juveniles in deep shade. Translocation by under-planting may be useful in establishing new populations of shade-tolerant plant species, not least by utilizing the range of light conditions that occur in forest understories. © 2016 Zimmer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Zimmer H.C.,University of Melbourne | Auld T.D.,Office of Environment and Heritage NSW | Hughes L.,Macquarie University | Offord C.A.,Australian PlantBank | Baker P.J.,University of Melbourne
International Journal of Wildland Fire | Year: 2015

Historically, rainforests have been considered vulnerable to fire. Recent research, however, has shown that many rainforest species can survive fire by resisting burning and by resprouting and seeding post-fire. We investigated the response of a warm temperate rainforest community to fire by burning juveniles of the dominant canopy tree species (Doryphora sassafras, Syzygium smithii and Wollemia nobilis) and examining litter flammability in a controlled environment. The three species resprouted after the experimental burn, predominantly from buds on the stem that were below the soil surface. Higher fire temperatures resulted in reduced overall plant height and resprouting from buds lower on the stem. Increasing proportions of W. nobilis litter generated fires with higher intensities and fuel consumption compared with rainforest angiosperm litter. Moreover, fuel moisture content decreased with increasing W. nobilis litter proportions. Higher litter flammability may result in increased likelihood of fire ignition and fire severity near W. nobilis trees, which would negatively impact the juveniles of all three rainforest species. Alternatively, after lower-temperature fires (e.g. in rainforest angiosperm litter), W. nobilis may have an advantage over the other species because of faster-growing resprouts occurring higher on the stem. © IAWF 2015.


Emery N.J.,University of Sydney | Henwood M.J.,University of Sydney | Offord C.A.,Australian PlantBank | Wardle G.M.,University of Sydney
International Journal of Plant Sciences | Year: 2015

Premise of research. Climate envelopes are generated by overlaying climate variables derived from temperature and rainfall data onto mapped geographic locations of occurrences. Typically, the species data are amalgamated into a single climate envelope, missing the opportunity to account for the potential of different environments to independently shape the functional plant trait values within populations. Here we explore how climate envelopes vary among populations and whether individuals with similar trait values are similarly matched to particular climate envelopes or to spatial layers of environmental classifications based on additional variables other than climate. Methodology. We generated climate envelopes from 35 populations of the widely distributed plant species Actinotus helianthi Labill. (Apiaceae). Populations with at least 84% similarity in their local climate were grouped by hierarchical cluster analysis. We then tested whether the similar climate envelopes would covary with populations of plants with similar traits. We also compared whether the climate envelopes were representative of other environmental groupings, including the Interim Biogeographical Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) and soil types. Pivotal results. Plant trait values were significantly different among populations (P ≤ 0.001) and soil types (P ≤ 0.003). All traits, except main stem diameter and distance to closest conspecific, were significantly different among bioregions. Seven climate envelopes were identified across sampled populations, and plant trait values within climatically similar populations were highly dissimilar (global R = 0.09). IBRA regions and soil types showed greater similarity with plant traits (global R = 0.27 and 0.25, respectively). Conclusions. This study demonstrates how the collection of data on plant traits and other environmental factors beyond climate can improve models of species distributions. Consequently, studies that rely on climateonly data—or single broad climate envelopes—may be too general or disconnected from the population-level processes that shape the persistence and distribution of species across the landscape. © 2015 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


Offord C.A.,Australian PlantBank | Rollason A.,Australian PlantBank | Frith A.,Australian PlantBank
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Persoonia (Proteaceae) is an Australian endemic genus of Proteaceae many species of which are horticulturally desirable. A large number of species are endangered in the wild and the restoration industry is interested in effective ways to propagate them. While high volume regeneration of persoonias from seeds and cuttings remains problematic, tissue culture may be an alternative or complementary technique. Further work on this taxon is required to optimise multiplication of cultures and the transition of explants to the ex vitro environment.

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