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Department of the Environment and Energy

Grevillea maxwellii (Photo: Anne Cochrane, DPaW)
A portion of seeds collected from the threatened Grevillea maxwellii in Western Australia will be used to help create two new populations in 2014. Translocating plants to new, non-threatened sites assists in species conservation in the wild and reduces the risk of further population loss (Photo: Anne Cochrane, DPaW).

A national threat abatement plan under Australian Government environment legislation guides efforts to control the impacts of Phytophthora cinnamomi. A review of ex situ seed collections in Australian conservation seed banks in 2012 revealed that seed from 88.2% of the 76 species listed in the Phytophthora cinnamomi abatement plan were held in ex situ conservation collections in Australia.  However, none of these collections were in sufficient quantities for species recovery actions or for conservation of the genetic diversity of the species.

The Department of the Environment and Energy (formally the Department of the Environment) provided the Partnership with $30,000 to collect and bank seeds of native plants that are at risk from Phytophthora cinnamomi and listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

This project aimed to build comprehensive and genetically diverse ex situ collections of select species of native plants as an insurance against further declines and to support threat abatement efforts. During 2012/13, the Partnership focused its collection efforts in Tasmania and Western Australia. The field work was coordinated and undertaken by experts at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and the Department of Parks and Wildlife's Threatened Flora Seed Centre in Western Australia.

This project was highly successful, delivering 38 collections of 20 species—significantly greater than the project target of 15. The work included multiple collections of 8 of the 12 Western Australian species.