A new national plant translocation database could be on the horizon, after researchers gathered to map out the sources of existing translocation data at
a recent workshop.
“The number of translocations on record came as a bit of a surprise – I didn’t think there would be so many,” says Dr David Coates from WA’s Department of Parks and Wildlife, who leads the TSR Hub’s Threatened plant reintroduction and relocation project.
“After sending out a preliminary spreadsheet, we received records of approximately 230 plant translocations. Some of these may be duplicates, but we suspect that the number may double as we work through the grey literature.”
According to the preliminary tally, up to half of the plant translocations have taken place in Western Australia.
Dr Coates, who is based at the West Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife says the uncertainty surrounding the true number of translocations and varying degrees of data quality highlights the need for a co-ordinated national database.
“There’s a lot of data to manage and a lot of organisations working on translocation projects including government departments, NGO’s and community groups. The data these organisations collect can vary in terms of scale and quality, so we need to determine what’s readily available, as well as the data-fields we would like to see included in future projects.”
Workshop participants also spent some time reviewing the criteria for measuring translocation success.
“There are a number of stages or levels that might indicate success – establishment, flowering and seeding but the ultimate measure remains a viable self-sustaining population. That is difficult to determine without high-quality data,” says Dr Coates.
“We can use molecular markers to compare the genetic diversity of translocated and source populations. Accurate data allows us to analyse population viability, observe population trends and model them.”
Plans for a new edition of the Guidelines for Translocation of Threatened Plants in Australia, in collaboration with the Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc, were also discussed.
“The existing Guidelines have covered the most important topics very well, but we would like to update some of the existing examples and provide new case studies.”
Image: banksia fuscobractea by Andrew Crawford from WA's Department of Parks and Wildlife
Fifteen tiny quoll pouch-young have been born to three female eastern quolls from a pioneer group of 20 animals released into Booderee National Park. In a big win for the reintroduction project, these are the first eastern quolls known to be born in the wild on the Australian mainland for more than 50 years.
Mouse-sized carnivorous marsupial the Endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart has only rarely been seen in the past 20 years. TSR Hub researcher Rosemary Hohnen is on the job working with local partners to develop better monitoring methods for the elusive species, and to evaluate the impact of feral cats on its persistence. Here she gives us a taste of the action, and despite the tiny size of the mammal there is a lot of heavy lifting…
Monitoring the nests of endangered species of cockatoos has not always been practical using traditional methods. However, new bioacoustic methods are now being applied to the monitoring of two endangered sub-species of cockatoo in southern Australia, the south-eastern red-tailed black-cockatoo and the Kangaroo Island glossy black-cockatoo. Daniella Teixeira, PhD candidate at The University of Queensland, takes up the story.
Threatened Species Recovery Hub researcher profile.
The gnawing question ‘what if we had known earlier...?’ is a recurring theme of frustration and failure in much conservation biology – as it is in human experience generally. When recognition of the imminence of a serious and irretrievable loss is belated, opportunities for better outcomes are fatally lost.