Community groups, Farmers and landholders, Stories

Saving Morrisbyi’s Gum – update

Last year, NRM South was successful in an application to the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Recovery Fund for a collaborative project aimed at protecting Tasmania’s endemic, and endangered, Morrisby’s gum (Eucalyptus morrisbyi). The last 6 months has seen loads of activity and an encouraging regeneration response to the fencing works undertaken in Stage 1 of this project, to exclude browsers.

Staff from the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and pakana Services visited the recently discovered Brighton plantation to collect seed and leaf samples for depositing in the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre at the RTBG, sowing at the Conservation Volunteers Understorey Network’s Nursery to be used for revegetation planting, or genetic analysis by the University of Tasmania.

A UTas undergraduate project is undertaking genetic analysis to obtain an accurate estimate of genetic diversity, needed to inform future seed banking and restoration plantings.  Analysis using chloroplast DNS sequencing and microsatellite DNA genotyping confirms the Brighton planting is Calverts Hill in origin. All trees were genotyped using 13 microsatellite loci and initial analyses indicate that the Brighton planting has high genetic diversity and low relatedness indicating many seed lots were used to establish the planting.

Seed collected earlier in the project had been propagated by Conservation Volunteers, and a total of 446 seedlings were planted out across Calverts Hill Nature Reserve, in a paired design to compare the relative success of the two provenances (Calverts HIll and Ridson Hill). Only pure, healthy E. morrisbyi seedlings were planted out, putative hybrid E. morrisbyi – E. viminalis or inbred /shaded seedlings were excluded. CVA continue to monitor these plantings, and will report on relative successes of each provenance in 2019.

This project is also formalising on-going community and Indigenous participation in the management of this threatened species through the development of a Community Management Action Plan. This plan’s development will coordinate efforts of community volunteers from three groups; one Indigenous social enterprise; the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS); DPIPWE’s Threatened Species Section (TSS); the Royal Tasmania Botanical Gardens (RTBG); the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre (TSCC); and the University of Tasmania (UTAS) in the implementation of recovery actions for this species and ensure on-going maintenance of the conservation activities undertaken in this project.

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