Threatened plant translocation in Australia: A review

Date: 10, Sep, 2019
Author(s):   J.L. Silcock, C.L. Simmons, L. Monks, R. Dillon, N. Reiter, M. Jusaitis, P.A. Vesk, M. Byrne & D.J. Coates
Publisher: TSR Hub

The translocation of plants has become increasingly common over the past two decades, particularly as actions for recovery of threatened plants and when threatened plants are within the area of a proposed development. However, it is not yet clear how successful the practice is in achieving long-term conservation outcomes. New research has combined a review of all available literature with extensive consultations with translocation practitioners to gather information about translocations of threatened Australian plants. We documented 1001 translocations occurring in Australia, which included 376 species and subspecies. We had sufficient data to assess 724 of these. We found that many translocations involved propagation of extremely small numbers of plants (45% involved less than 50), 42% had less than 10 surviving plants and only 13% had 50 or more with some second-generation recruitment. We found that the chance of creating a viable population increased with the use of at least 500 founder individuals. Four decades after the first conservation translocations, our evaluation highlights the need to consider translocation in the broad context of conservation actions for threatened species recovery and the need for long-term commitment to monitoring, site maintenance and documentation.