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 and Brooker’s gum forest and woodland (Eucalyptus ovata / E. brookeriana) 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.

NRM South will be involved in a project that will 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. Our project 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, at Calvert Hill Nature Reserve.

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

  • Halt the decline at Calverts Hill Nature Reserve 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

Southport heath (Epacris stuartii) is known from one remote location in southern Tasmania and is one of Australia’s 20 priority threatened flora. This location is under threat from Phytophthora and inappropriate fire regimes and, in the early 2000’s, an insurance (ex situ) population was established on Southport Island. 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 works to protect the mainland population from Phytophthora (under NLP1) and will:

  • Protect the mainland population against fire by establishing and maintaining a firebreak;
  • Complete a census of the ex-situ population and put measures in place to protect it from high threat weeds;
  • Develop a collaborative Conservation Action Plan with biosecurity, weed and fire management planning for the species; and
  • Enhance the quantity and genetic diversity of seed banked reserves to allow for future conservation plantings.