__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

11 minute read

BGCI’s Directory of Expertise

Brian Lainoff, Head of Membership Strategy and Services, BCGI

BGCI’s Directory of Expertise is designed to enable experts within botanic gardens let other people know about their own skills and knowledge and, if possible, help them solve a problem or challenge related to botanic gardens or plant conservation. As a membership benefit exclusively for BGCI Institutional Members, staff associated with these institutions can apply to be listed in the directory.

The directory currently includes 11 areas of expertise: Botanic Garden Conceptualisation and Design, Conservation Assessment, Conservation Horticulture, Ecological Restoration, Exceptional Species, Plant Health and Biosecurity, Policy, Public Engagement, Seed Conservation, Sustainability, and Tree Conservation. These have all been selected because our experience at BGCI suggests that there is a strong demand for such expertise both within the botanic garden community and in other sectors. Further disciplines will be added in the future.

BGCI’s purpose in creating this directory is twofold: first, to share the knowledge and skills in the botanic garden community with broader society to solve problems or save plant species, and second, to give staff of BGCI Institutional Members opportunities to broaden their experience and make a contribution that might not come their way in day-to-day work.

Experts in the directory do not commit to providing their expertise wherever it is required but agree to be contacted for help, whether that be through partnership or paid services. Those experts included in the directory agree to adhere to BGCI’s Code of Conduct. All applications are reviewed by BGCI’s own experts. We also reserve the right to reject applications.

Be listed as an expert

To be included in BGCI’s Directory of Expertise, an individual must be a staff member of a BGCI Institutional Member. Applicants are required to complete a short questionnaire and upload an up-to-date curriculum vitae. The application is reviewed by BGCI staff before the expert is added to the directory. To learn more and apply for inclusion in BGCI’s Directory of Expertise, please visit https://www.bgci.org/resources/bgci-databases/directory-of-expertise/.

Ex situ seed conservation for bush fire recovery

Damian Wrigley, National Coordinator, Australian Seed Bank Partnership

The Partners and Associates of the Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP) have been concentrating on developing a diverse range of projects and activities to support seed science and ex situ conservation responses to the bushfires, as well as contributing to improving sector-based knowledge and skills.

Following this year’s unprecedented bushfires, the ASBP has welcomed the opportunity to contribute to discussions about prioritising species and locations for flora conservation. We have worked closely with governments, academics, local communities, volunteers and funders to prepare projects and develop strategies to support recovery efforts across the southern and eastern parts of the country.

The ASBP has spent much of the year discussing the constantly evolving response to managing seed banks through disasters like fire and COVID-19, and supporting one another and sharing information about the impacts on field, lab and storage operations as well as concerns for the impact on regional flora that require conservation interventions.

Bushfire projects — saving seeds across the country

The ASBP has been fortunate to secure funding from the Australian Government under Tranche Two of the Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program and through Greening Australia’s Project Phoenix. Both projects are supporting the ASBP to secure seed collections from bushfire-affected species and increase the number of species with established germination protocols. This will help inform whether taxa currently held in seed banks require further prioritisation for re-collection if current storage methods are identified as insufficient for that particular collection.

As part of these projects, the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre will be undertaking rapid flora assessments and if possible, seed collecting on Kangaroo Island for threatened taxa such as Kangaroo Island Phebalium Leionema equestre and Hindmarsh Correa Correa calycina var. halmaturorum. The Western Australian Seed Centre, Kensington, will undertake germination trials of existing collections such as Xyris exilis, an endangered member of the yellow-eyed grass family, to determine whether current storage methods are providing long-term viability for previously collected seeds. While many of the germinants will be used for restoration of the

species in situ, some, like Xyris exilis, will be used to engage the next generation of botanical and conservation scientists at the Woodlupine Primary School in Perth.

In the south-east, the Victorian Conservation Seedbank will be undertaking germination trials and propagation of Forrester’s Bottlebrush Callistemon forresterae and Betka Bottlebrush C. kenmorrisonii for reintroduction activities in eastern Victoria. In NSW, the Australian PlantBank will be collecting across several areas including the Lowland Rainforest of Subtropical Australia ecological community to secure data and

Seedling emergence for Leionema equestre underneath the burnt parent plant, Kangaroo Island. Photo: Dan Duval.

germplasm from the endangered Manning Yellow Solanum Solanum sulphureum. The National Seed Bank will be targeting flora of the Australian Capital Territory with a focus on securing new collections of Shining Westringia Westringia lucida and Dwarf Violet Viola improcera, while in Queensland the Brisbane Botanic Gardens will be attempting to collect seeds of the endangered wattle Acacia porcata and Granite Boronia Boronia granitica, while the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre will be doing rapid flora assessments and collecting seeds from Dainty Bitter-Cress Cardamine tryssa and Miena Cider Gum Eucalyptus gunnii ssp. divaricatus.

The ASBP has also been fortunate to secure support from the United Kingdom Government and Millennium Seed Bank Partnership through funding for two bushfire-related emergency seed conservation projects. This support will enable our partners to visit more fire-affected areas throughout the southern and eastern parts of the country, determine the impacts of the bushfires and secure collections of seed from priority native flora. The funding comes from a direct UK Government to Australian Government offer of support following the bushfires. As the country’s peak body for long-term ex situ seed conservation we have been tasked with delivering this important body of work and we thank the UK Government for providing this significant support for seed conservation and bushfire recovery in Australia. Our long-term collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, was instrumental in helping the ASBP secure this funding and clearly demonstrates the value of our national and international botanic garden and seed bank networks.

While the partners plan and deliver projects this season, they are ensuring their target lists are closely aligned with the recently updated priority flora identified by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Expert Panel. It is important that we continue to ensure our efforts are complementary to the other bushfire projects tackling priority flora across the sector, while also ensuring we focus some effort on regionally important flora identified as a priority for local areas.

Rapid flora assessments — capturing data for future recovery

Throughout this year many of us have been involved in discussions with experts about what the fires mean for the recovery of our native flora and its ability to recover and remain viable in situ in the longer term. Part of the ASBP’s contribution to the ongoing assessment of flora recovery is through the delivery of rapid flora assessments of priority taxa. The partners have been working collaboratively on the metadata required for rapid flora surveys, building on an incredible amount of work

Jenny Guerin undertaking assessments for Kangaroo Island Daisy Achnophora tatei. Photo: Dan Duval.

already undertaken by New South Wales. Gavin Phillips at the Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Gardens Mt Annan, worked with colleagues across the ASBP to refine a field-friendly approach to rapid data capture.

The information collected will feed directly into the work being done by Dr Rachel Gallagher for the Australian Government’s Bushfire Expert Panel, and the desktop analysis conducted for the preliminary and recently updated assessment of priority flora. Understanding the recovery of native flora post-fire will need significant data and it is hoped these rapid flora assessments will provide this critical information. We hope that this information can inform future species collection and restoration efforts, particularly as bushfires are expected to increase in both intensity and severity as a result of climate change.

Site ID ……………………… DATE

.…….../……....../…………..

Species …………………………………………………………………. Observer(s) ……………………………………………………………

LOCATION ……………………………………...………………………

…………………………………………………………………............... State ……………………… Subdivision …………………………...... Special Geographic Unit …………………………………………........

Lat

............ ° ………’……..….”S Long …….… ° …...…’..……….”E Altitude ……………m Datum ………....... Precision ± ……….m

Vegetation Type …………………………………………...................... Landform …………………………………………………………........

Target Species Present on Site

YES

NO Habit …………………………………….. Size ………………….m

Habitat Niche …………………………………………………………...

Abundance: Locally – dominant abundant frequent common uncommon occasional rare

Population Size c. ………………………………………… individuals Local Area of Occurrence c. ……………… x ……………… m / km Percent Live Mature Individuals c. …………………………….. …. % Estimated Fire Affected c. …………………………… % of population

Life History Type (if known) Recruitment Type

epicormic obligate seeder lignotuber/basal

resprouter seedlings Reproductive State sterile buds flowers fruits seeds

Date of Fire/Time Since Fire …………………………………………... FIRE Severity Class

1 2 3 4 5

Remaining Canopy Cover

<30% 30-70% >70%

Scorch Height Above Ground

c. ………………… m

% Trees Apparently Dead <30% 30-70% >70%

Strata Scorched

canopy sub-Canopy shrubs ground Cover Strata Consumed canopy sub-Canopy shrubs ground Cover Regeneration canopy sub-Canopy shrubs ground Cover

Reshooting Species Present …………………………………………...

…………………………………………………………………………... Seedling Species Present ………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………………... Other Threats

pest herbivory erosion drought/dry pathogens roadworks/infrastructure native herbivory clearing insects

Vouchers

YES NO

Coll No. …………………………...

Photos

YES NO

Photo Points

YES NO Photo Point 1: Lat ........ ° …..…’……..”S Long ..…... ° …......’...…….”E Direction ………. degrees Time …………… am / pm Photo Point 2: Lat ........ ° …..…’……..”S Long ..…... ° …......’...…….”E Direction ………. degrees Time …………… am / pm Image File No. ………………………………………………………….. OTHER INFO ………………………………………………………….....

Rapid flora assessment methodology used by the partners this season to assess recovery of native flora. Images: Gavin Phillips.

Conservation guidelines to support conservation

During the cooler months of this year when our partners were not so busy undertaking reconnaissance and collecting in the field, many were contributing their substantial expertise towards the Australian Network for Plant Conservation’s update of the Florabank Guidelines and the Plant Germplasm Conservation in Australia, otherwise known as the Germplasm Guidelines. These two sets of guidelines are critical strategic documents for the sector and are undergoing an update to align their concepts and techniques with the latest advances in seed science and conservation.

These guidelines will serve as valuable tools for those working in the collection, management and use of native germplasm and the restoration of the Australian native flora. We are very grateful to the Australian Network for Plant Conservation for including the ASBP in the development of these important pieces of work and look forward to their release and subsequent workshops next year. More information about both projects to update the guidelines is available on the ANPC website, www.anpc.asn.au.

The next chapter for ex situ seed conservation

As this year draws to a close and the next decade of the Global Biodiversity Framework is negotiated by the parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity, the ASBP will develop its strategic direction for the decade ahead. We will continue to support native seed conservation through ex situ conservation, storage, research and knowledge sharing, with the aim of aligning our work with the anticipated new set of targets under an updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. With an increase in fire frequency and severity predicted for Australia in future years, as well as more intense droughts, storms and damaging weather events, it is without doubt that the role of botanic gardens and ex situ germplasm conservation will continue to play a significant role in supporting the recovery and survival of our native flora.

We hope you can join us next year at the Australasian Seed Science Conference from 5 to 9 September 2021 where we will be sharing the latest developments in seed science. Updates on the program will be announced on the ASSC conference website in the coming months, www.seedscience2021.com.au.

Reference

Gallagher R.V. 2020. National prioritisation of Australian plants affected by the 2019–2020 bushfire season — Report to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery/priority-plants

Influence & ActIon botanic gardens as Agents of change

7th global botanic gardens congress 26–30 September 2022 Melbourne Australia

Influence and Action: Botanic Gardens as Agents of Change will explore how botanic gardens can play a greater role in shaping our future. With accelerated loss of biodiversity across the globe, increased urbanisation, population growth and climate change, our need to work together to find new solutions for the future has never been greater. Hosted in the glorious city of Melbourne, Australia, the 7th Global Botanic Gardens Congress (7GBGC) will run from 26–30 September 2022. Explore our most liveable city and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s stunning and contrasting landmark gardens at Melbourne and Cranbourne. Together we will celebrate Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s 175th anniversary at this important international gathering. Join inspiring speakers, fascinating workshops, panel discussions, and symposia, in addition to a specially curated evening cultural program focusing closely on Australian aboriginal culture and the vibrant contemporary creative and food scenes for which Melbourne is globally renowned. With a focus on influencing the future, for the first time in the history of the Congress, 7GBGC will deliver a Youth Program for future Gardens’ leaders aged 18–24 – young people actively involved in horticulture, ecology, environmental and conservation science, and land management.