Project leader, Organisation

Geoff Pegg, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries




While fire is considered an important selection agent in the development of Australia’s native flora (Gill 1975), the development of new epicormic and young seedlings en-masse are ideal for the development and spread of A. psidii. The impact A. psidii might have on regeneration following disturbance such as fire has long been considered a risk this pathogen posed prior to arrival in Australia, with consequences for forest structure and survival of dependent fauna and understory plants (Grgurinovic et al. 2006). Assessments in Australia since detection have identified significant impacts, including regeneration following disturbance events (Carnegie & Pegg 2018).

Objectives and Impact

Recent extreme fire events have resulted in significant impacts on a range of different ecosystems, with widespread epicormic and seedling regeneration now occurring or about to commence, creating ideal conditions for spread and impact of rust. This project aims to determine the impact myrtle rust is having in species and ecosystem regeneration.
Conduct surveys and establish assessment plots within selected environments including Coastal heath and Wetland, Eucalyptus forest (E. pilularis, E. grandis, E. resinifera, C. citriodora and related spotted gum species) & rainforest (Gondwana) to:
– Identify species affected by rust – Theme 3 MR Action Plan;
– Identify regeneration types affected – epicormic, seedling; and
– Determine impact of infection on regeneration of Myrtaceae through establishment and monitoring of longer-term assessment plots.
Studies will be conducted in area north of the Clarence River in NSW and in SE Queensland. The work on this project will link with other projects in NSW as they are developed.
– Baseline information on the effects of myrtle rust on ecologically and commercially significant species regenerating following wildfire.
– Established monitoring sites to assess impact on regeneration of Myrtaceae affected by wildfire
– Information on possible management strategies required for adversely affected species


Monitoring plots have been established in Queensland and New South Wales in coastal heath and woodland environments. Plots have been monitored monthly, with species affected by rust recorded along with incidence of disease over time and severity and impact of infection. Assessments been primarily on reshooting tissue, including epicormic regrowth and root suckering but seedling regeneration has been assessed where possible. Disease has been detected on a range of Eucalyptus, Leptospermum and Melaleuca species. Melaleuca quinquenervia and M. nodosa are two species where regeneration has been significantly affected by myrtle rust.

The Progress Report can be found here, including lots of great images on the impact of myrtle rust on post-fire recovery of native species.