Protecting Tasmania’s Threatened Flora and Communities

NRM South is carrying out a suite of projects to protect two endangered plant species (Morrisby’s gum, one of Australia’s most threatened eucalypts and Stuart’s heath) and one critically endangered vegetation community (Black gum/Brookers gum forest and woodland communities).

Tasmanian black gum (Eucalyptus ovata) / Brooker’s gum (E. brookeriana) forest and woodland has only recently been listed as a habitat under threat – and is classed as a critically endangered vegetation community. It is at risk from native vegetation clearance, invasive species, grazing pressure and other threats associated with land-use and poor land management practices.

The project, which will be delivered in partnership with Tasmanian Land Conservancy and DPIPWE, will work to ground-truth vegetation mapping for this community (to improve the accuracy of the publicly available distribution mapping), protect high conservation value remnants through conservation covenants and support landholders to improve their management of this community across southern Tasmania. We will also work with key stakeholders to develop a shared Conservation Action Plan for improving the condition and conservation status of this vegetation community across Tasmania.

Morrisby’s gum is one of Australia’s most threatened Eucalypts and one of the nation’s 20 priority threatened flora. It has undergone a rapid decline at the largest sub-population, with losses of over 99% of adult plants. This project builds on the success of regeneration work conducted under NLP1.

The approach to down-list Morrisby’s gum by 2038 will:

  • Halt the decline at the reserve site by protecting remaining plants from browsers, wildfire and extreme hot and dry conditions;
  • Connect remnants and establish small seed orchards in the known range by working with local champions to support landholder, school and community group plantings;
  • Extend the distribution of the species into future climatic range through large biodiverse, multi-provenance conservation plantings that will be designed as seed orchards and to recreate self-sustaining Eucalyptus morrisbyi woodland; and
  • Enhance the quantity and genetic diversity of seed banked reserves to allow for future conservation plantings with maximum adaptive capacity

The project will be delivered in partnership with Enviro-dynamics, Parks and Wildlife Service, University of Tasmania and Greening Australia.

Southport heath (Epacris stuartii) is known from one remote location in southern Tasmania and is one of the 30 priority plants in Australia’s Threatened Species Strategy. In the early 2000’s, an insurance (ex situ) population was established on Southport Island to help insure against extinction. Although a 2009 census showed a good survival rate, the island is home to several high threat weed species, which puts this population at risk. This project builds on conservation work carried out under NLP1 and will:

  • Complete a census of the ex-situ population and put measures in place to protect it from high threat weeds;
  • Protect the mainland and island populations through suppression and removal of all competitive, habitat altering weed infestations;
  • Enhance the quantity and genetic diversity of seed banked reserves;
  • Determine the optimal ex-situ germination conditions for the species, and;
  • Raise awareness of the species in the local community.

The project will be delivered in partnership with DPIPWE, Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service, the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre, Threatened Plants Tasmania and pakana Services.