Site November 2013. Eremophila resinosa growing well and flowering. Photo: I.R. Dixon.Kings Park Volunteer Master Gardeners in September 2007, monitoring Eremophila resinosa for growth rates, plant health, survival, flowering and seed production. Photo: I.R. Dixon.Project title: Propagation and Translocation of Eremophila resinosa (Declared Rare Flora) for Evolution Mining

Dates: 2003 - 2014

Funding: Evolution Mining

Location: Edna May Mine, Westonia, 350 km east of Perth, Western Australia

Research themes

  • tissue culture and seed propagation
  • genetic diversity and genetic material
  • severely degraded sites management and weed control
  • self sustaining ecosystems

Project description

Initially five clones of Declared Rare Flora Eremophila resinosa were grown by tissue culture and planted on site at Westonia in 2004. With seed collected from the mine site, a further planting of seedlings in 2005 substantially increased plant numbers on the enlarged site. All plants were watered for the first few years with the reticulation system removed in 2008.

The plants are growing well, survival rates are high (74% for the tissue cultured plants and 93% for the seedlings) and most plants have produced flowers and contributed large amounts of seed to the soil seed bank. By November 2010 three new seedling recruits had been found on site.

Two more translocation sites were established and planted in 2009 with plants raised from seed, and planting continued into 2010. In 2011, one of these sites was extended to include a further planting of over 600 eremophilas, and over 600 local eucalypts (many bare rooted). At present six sites are managed, the last planted in winter 2014. The sites are now successfully established with over 4000 Eremophila plants and present survival rates (including all experiments) are about 80%. Original tissue cultured clones are in cryostorage and over 2,000,000 fruit are in long term storage.

The cost of translocating rare species is very high therefore the most appropriate methods have to be used to ensure survival of the plants, for example, planting without regular watering is a gamble in our drying climate. In 2009 a small non-irrigated trial worked well with a 68% survival rate, in 2010 a similar trial using over 100 plants resulted in every plant dying within 4 months of planting.

Past experience with bushland management, environmental weed control and other translocations, innovative scientific and experimental horticultural techniques and on-going adequate funding have been the successful drivers of this project.

Key staff

Bob Dixon, Kings Park Volunteer Master Gardeners

Collaborators

Dr Eric Bunn, Dr Shane Turner

Publications

Dixon B (2012) Control of Wards weed Carrichtera annua on rare species translocation sites at Westonia in the eastern Wheatbelt of Western Australia. 18th Australian Weed Conference, Melbourne 8-10 Oct 2012. Pub. Weed Soc. Victoria: 57.

Dixon B (2010) Translocation of the resinous Eremophila, from test tube, to a degraded bushland site in the wheatbelt of Western Australia. Soorae, P.S. (ed). Global re-introduction perspectives: Additional case-studies from around the globe. IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group, Abu Dhabi, UAE: 311-315.

Presentations

Dixon  B (2012) Can soil wetters assist germination rates in degraded ecosystems and improve seedling survival in dry environments. SERA, Perth WA Nov 28-30: 50.

Dixon B (2010) Translocation of Eremophila resinosa, is it working and have we improved our cultural practices. Proceedings Ecological Society of Australia Conference, Canberra 6-10 Dec: 292.