Conservation: conservation genetics
CSIRO is helping protect our native biodiversity by improving the management of remnant vegetation and the availability of appropriate seed for revegetation projects.
26 February 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011
Land clearing across Australia has fragmented habitats and created small, isolated pockets of native vegetation, or remnants.
Remnants range from a few to hundreds of plants. Many rare and endangered Australian species now occur exclusively in a few areas of remnant vegetation. This highlights the need for effective conservation efforts.
It is vital to carefully manage remnant areas to ensure the protection of Australia’s native plants and habitats.
Plants in remnant areas are often a source of seed used in revegetation projects. So, caring properly for remant areas helps ensure successful revegetation.
CSIRO is improving knowledge about the genetic and demographic factors involved in remnant health. We are studying the long-term viability of remnants and the part played by:
This research has helped us develop a series of guidelines to help ensure Australian remnants are properly managed and maintained.
The right seed for the right area
Our research is helping make it easier to source seed for revegetation programs.
As plants of the same species can differ widely depending on the area from which they originate, or their provenance, sourcing seed that is healthy and suitable for the area being revegetated helps to improve the success of revegetation programs.
Sourcing seed that is healthy and suitable for the area being revegetated helps to improve the success of revegetation programs.
For example, a river red gum, Eucalyptus camadulensis, that is locally adapted to Queensland needs different growing conditions to one from South Australia. Using seed sourced from Queensland river red gums for revegetation in South Australia may not be successful.
The extent of local adaptation in plants differs according to species. Certain species may differ extensively depending on provenance. Current research in this area is focusing on Acacia species commonly used for revegetation projects.
Based on CSIRO research into the genetic issues associated with seed provenance, guidelines are being developed for collecting seed. These guidelines will increase the likelihood of obtaining the most appropriate seed for revegetation programs, and improve revegetation success.
This work is being conducted with the support of the NSW Environmental Trust.
Related information sheets
Related scientific papers