Stored seeds aid revival
Collected over the past 20 years, seeds stored with the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority in Perth will be used to help recover precious flora populations devastated in the Stirling Range’s Boxing Day fires.
Great Southern-based staff at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said several species unique to the national park were at a “high risk” of extinction following the 37,000ha fire that was sparked by two lightning strikes.
Twenty-two threatened and critically endangered species were affected by the blazes.
Declared rare flora and priority flora are seedbanked at the WA Seed Centre Kings Park and the Threatened Flora Seed Centre as part of a risk management strategy for WA’s threatened species.
DBCA ecologist Dr Sarah Barrett, who specialises in threatened flora, said some of the fire-affected populations had seeds stored in Perth.
“We have good seed collections of a lot of these species in the Threatened Flora Seed Centre in Perth,” Dr Barrett said. “We’ve been returning to many of these sites, many of which are quite a long walk in up the mountains.
“We have a reasonable collection of some but not all species.
“And we also have translocations of a small number of these species outside of the Stirling Range, which provides some insurance.” Most of the fire-affected species in the national park take years to reach full maturity.
Because of this, Dr Barrett said if another big fire hit the affected species in the next 10 or 20 years, it could spell disaster. “We are... looking at replanting some plants back to bulk up populations,” she said. “But we may also put more effort into planting into places like seed orchards.”
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