Project Leader, Organisation

Dr Angus Carnegie, NSW DPI

Status

Contracting.

Background

Myrtle rust has had significant impacts on native ecosystems in NSW and Queensland, causing localised extinction of species (Rhodomyrtus psidioides) and severe decline of others (Syzygium hodgkinsoniae). A completed DEE project recording impact of myrtle rust EPBC-listed species ‘Lowland Rainforests of Subtropical Australia’ identified severe decline on Myrtaceae not currently listed for any focussed conservation activities. Myrtle rust poses a significant threat to the outstanding universal value of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and urgent action has been advised by the Gondwana Rainforests advisory committees. A number of species have been listed as critically endangered this year and there is an urgent need to capture further data on these rainforest Myrtaceae to ensure germplasm can be collected ahead of extinction and to enable the development of structured conservation and management programs. Creating community awareness and expanding capacity to capture data is critical given the rapid decline in a number of species. Enhanced capacity is needed within managing agencies, Traditional Owners and broader community groups.

Objectives and impact

Objective This project aims to increase knowledge of Myrtaceae in the Gondwana Rainforests threatened by myrtle rust through expanding capacity.

Methods/Activities

Training Training modules developed as part of project PBSF012 will be expanded to cover species common in the Gondwana Rainforests region. Established study sites will be used for in-field detection and assessment training.

Surveys Survey plans will be developed to identify priority target species and sites to assess.

Outputs

  • Increased myrtle rust and environmental biosecurity awareness, detection and reporting capacity
  • Contribution to reporting species and community impact – Theme 3 Myrtle Rust action plan
  • Shared Traditional Owner knowledge of the cultural importance of Myrtle Rust susceptible plant species
  • Increased awareness of required and accepted scientific reporting and monitoring methodology within Traditional Owner groups
  • Increased capacity to report on forest health status, in particular Myrtle Rust impacts, as per Australian Government environmental department’s international and statutory responsibilities relevant to invasive species (EPBC Act, Convention on Biological Diversity).
  • Detailed impact data on Myrtaceae within Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage environments and surrounds for use in development of management strategies and to apply for listing – evaluating survival, regeneration, fecundity