A field study of the nutritional dynamics of black box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) throughout a major flooding event
Dr Denise Fernando
La Trobe University
This field study investigated interactions between environmental water levels and mineral nutrition in black box, a key floodplain eucalypt of the Murray Darling Basin. It addressed several knowledge gaps, including an understanding of black box nutrition in situ, the nutritional dynamics associated with water-level fluctuation, and changes to soils that drive black box nutrient uptake. The data gathered is likely to enable new ecophysiological insight into the species.
New Shoots WA
Red Room Poetry
New Shoots WA commissioned 5 poets to create 28 poems inspired by mallee species native to Western Australia with the aim to deepen creative, cultural and emotional connections with nature. Poems were presented at Kings Park Botanic Gardens during the Perth Festival 2019 and associated learning resources developed. A Poetic Trail with embedded poetic tags is being installed in the Park.
Humanity and Trees
Project Platypus Upper WimmeraLandcare
Nearly 500 people attended seminars, seed collection days, field trips and information sessions that increased community understanding of the benefits of single paddock trees. All activities had an emphasis on E. melliodoraand E. microcarpa. Podcasts and posters were developed for ongoing education activities.
Functional traits in eucalypt distributions of SE and SW Australia
Associate Professor Peter Vesk
University of Melbourne
To provide insight into which eucalypts occur where, this project examined trait-environment relationships in south east Australia and south west Western Australia. The researchers tested the generality and transferability of models of eucalypt distribution using trait-based multispecies Generalised Linear Mixed Models.
500 herbarium vouchers have been added to the MELU herbarium and Atlas of Living Australia and a substantial new trait database for SE Australian eucalypts has resulted providing a foundation for further analysis.
Understanding and Celebrating Eucalypts
This project supported ten NSW school communities in the Corowa District Landcare area to understand the importance of eucalypt trees locally and nationally. Students visited the Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre and went on field trips to see 13 trees of historical, social and cultural significance. The book ‘Connecting with Culture and Nature’ is a reflection of the children’s learnings. Link: https://www.envirostories.com.au/connecting-with-culture-and-nature/
Understanding biological factors associated with Eucalypt dieback in the ACT
Dr Jasmyn Lynch
University of Canberra
This project integrated field data on biotic variables into landscape-level statistical analyses of the biophysical factors influencing dieback in Box Gum woodland in the ACT. The biotic variables include condition of trees in relation to broad land use type; presence/absence of Psyllid parasites and mistletoes on Eucalypt trees; regeneration, epicormic regrowth and defoliation of Eucalypts; and distributional records of associated threatened fauna (e.g. Superb Parrot, Polytelisswainsonii).
The research shows that despite recent positive change in the condition of Box Gum woodland in peri-urban/rural areas, overall there is a decline in the ecological community. A large number of trees have declined between 2004 and 2017. Different generalized land use classes appear to have an association with tree canopy condition, although with the broad coverage of the three classes over the ACT, other factors such as habitat and current climate might be influencing the outcome. Field observations indicate that Yellow Box is showing greater resilience than Blakely’s Red Gum, due to more observations of regeneration and advanced epidermic growth. Although no evidence was found of an association with Psyllids and there were insufficient data to analyse the influence of mistletoe, some bird species appear to significantly overlap in distribution with habitat clusters of differing mean accumulated condition or overall change in condition. However, the current analysis is not able to determine if the significant differences in condition are a result of positive/negative effects of the species abundance levels or if the species are selecting habitat with trees of particular canopy condition.
Searching for adaptive variation in a foundational Eucalypt in Western Australia
Dr Collin Ahrens
Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University
Genomic methodologies were used to understand the demographic and adaptive processes within the foundational eucalypt species E. marginata(jarrah). Leaf material was collected from 28 natural populations across its distribution for genomic analysis focusing on the detection of genomic variants adapted to climate. Data revealed high genetic connectivity confirming previous findings from microsatellite markers, but also revealed greater resolution for genetic structure. Critically, the data revealed strong patterns of adaption associated with maximum temperature of the warmest month and precipitation of the warmest quarter. The project has provided information to support assisted gene migration under climate change in south-west forests through a detailed understanding of genetic adaptation. This is information may be used to bolster jarrah populations for future, novel climates.
Youth Community Greening
Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
1,110 students engaged in educational programs run by the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust’s Aboriginal Education Officer. The students learnt about indigenous and traditional uses of Eucalypts with specific reference to food, medicine, shelter, culture and art. Schools involved planted Eucalypts appropriate to the school’s specifications and environment. Follow up visits assessed the trees planted and reinforced concepts learnt on the initial visits.
The role of climate variability on regeneration success of Eucalypts in southeast Australia
Associate Professor Craig Nitschke
University of Melbourne
Using records on seedling establishment this project sought to understand the influence of past climate variability on the regeneration success of key Eucalyptus species in southeast Australia.
The researchers found the influence of climate varied by regeneration type (occurrence vs. abundance) and forest type. For the occurrence of regeneration, climate and topography played significant roles in the occurrence of recruitment for all forest types. For Alpine Ash (AAS) climate was dominant. The most consistent predictor for regeneration success/ failure was Annual Heat Moisture Index (AHMI) which is a measure of aridity. AHMI had a significant negative effect suggesting that as aridity increases the probability of regeneration failure increases. Mean annual temperature (MAT) was a significant factor in Mountain Ash (MAS), AAS, and Mountain Mixed Species (MMS); however the impact varied by forest type. In AAS increasing MAT led to failures in recruitment while in MAS and MMS, warmer MAT facilitated an increase in recruitment success provided conditions are not too arid. Easterly aspect was the most consistent topographical variable with negative effects on MAS and AAS suggesting areas with a westerly aspect were more likely to fail. Elevation for MAS and MMS had a positive effect.
Elevation was not correlated strongly with MAT within each forest type so was included in the model and as such it may be acting as proxy for another climate variable or edaphic variable such as soil depth and or soil texture. For MMS, steep sites were also more likely to fail.
This study will provide knowledge for being able to predict the impact of future climate change on spatial and temporal patterns of eucalyptus regeneration.
Bloodwood eucalypt diversity – one or more genera?
Dr Michael Bayly
University of Melbourne
This project used next-generation DNA sequencing techniques to assess the big question of the classification of the bloodwoods. Researchers aimed to produce a robust phylogenetic tree of the bloodwoods and their relationships to Angophora and Eucalyptus, thus establishing whether Corymbiais a single lineage, and thus one genus, or should be taxonomically split.
Preliminary phylogenetic analyses of whole chloroplast genomes point to the genus Corymbia consisting of two major lineages that do not form one group (i.e. Corymbiais not monophyletic). Angophora may well be nested within Corymbia, with Corymbiasubgenus Blakellabeing more closely related to Angophora than it is to the red bloodwoods. This is a controversial and highly significant taxonomic issue of widespread interest. It implies that taxonomic changes at the generic level will be required. This impacts all herbaria in Australia in reclassifying their specimen collections,
Improving Landscape Scale Strategies for Restoration
Brunswick Valley Landcare Inc.
Floodplain forests have been cleared on the north coast of NSW and revegetation of sclerophyll floodplain communities on cleared land is expensive and methods for stimulating recruitment poorly understood. These floodplain sclerophyllous communities contain important koala food tree species. This project tested methods to germinate native trees via seed fall onto plots adjacent to remnant sclerophyll vegetation using different treatments including fire. The aim was to determine the most efficient methods for the regeneration of Melaleuca quinquenervia, Eucalyptus robusta and E. tereticornison cleared and previously grazed paddocks.
Of the different regeneration treatments trialed, bare soil and fire treatments were the most effective. Most of the germinants were close to the parent tree. Bare soil was considerably easier to implement than fire and had more successful results. The results will inform cost effective methods for regeneration of Koala food trees.
Towards a novel perspective for eucalypt revegetation under climate change
– genomic approaches for identifying climate adaptation in Grey Box, Eucalyptus macrocarpa
Professor Ary Hoffmann
University of Melbourne
This project investigated the genomics underlying climate adaptation in Eucalyptus macrocarpa, a widespread woodland eucalypt used in revegetation across agricultural south-eastern Australia. The project generated an initial genomic dataset for exploring adaptive variation along rainfall and temperature gradients in this species. The researchers found evidence of climate adaptation which has important implications for conservation especially seed sourcing for revegetation under climate change. They report that where adaptation does exist, it is not only neutral genetic diversity that needs to carry into revegetation but also adaptive diversity to assist in the long-term evolutionary potential of new sites. Results from this study can assist in guiding where to source material for revegetation, especially under future environmental and climatic changes. The work will add to a growing body of knowledge regarding climate adaptation in eucalypts more broadly.
Endangered Eucalyptus Ecosystems on the Sunshine Coast
Noosa District Landcare Group Inc.
This project aimed to educate the local community on the importance of E. cloeziana, E. conglomerate and other local eucalyptus species.
Tubestock of 5,000 locally endemic eucalyptus species were provided to local landholders, bushcare groups and community volunteers to plant for habitat, connectivity and food source for koalas, possums, bats and native bees. Over a 12 month period, Noosa Landcare participated in 10 School Environmental Education days, held three workshops, and monitored water quality at 65 sites across the Noosa region.
Discovering Eucalypts – A Guide to Eucalypts for the Home Garden
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Through this project, a self-guided trail was created in the Australian Garden at Cranbourne that leads visitors past 40 small Eucalypts that are ideal for home gardeners.
40 trees were labelled and five large interpretive signs erected that point to the selection and care of Eucalypts. The signs are linked to short films featuring Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria expert staff.
Web content that outlines the selection and care of Eucalypts for home gardens was developed.
Creating Eucalypt Hot Spots in Midland Schools
Greening Australia TAS
500 students at four Tasmanian Midlands district schools learnt from the restoration work being undertaken near their schools and with assistance from scientists, farmers and restoration ecologists, established replica planting trial sites. Students collected seed, propagated eucalypts, prepared sites and planted a variety of eucalypt species. They gained a first-hand understanding of the nationally significant values of Midlands eucalypts in a biodiversity hotpot, how the landscape functions, and how conserving and restoring eucalypts assists and supports productive and profitable farming. Greening Australia TAS was successful in obtaining a grant from Landcare to continue the work of this project. It also led to an Arts focus as part of a University of Tasmania Arts interpretation project.
Education on Eucalyptus
The Association of Hazaras in Victoria
One of the study sessions at the Dari Language School in Melbourne was devoted to Eucalypts. Students learnt about their cultural and historical significance, their role as habitat for flora and fauna and how important they are in terms of biodiversity.
Manawarnti All the Trees
Ngurra Arts / Kurungal Council Inc.
In this project, a booklet was produced featuring the work of local artists that was made from or depicts eucalypts. The booklet includes information on theuses of some species in two local languages – Walmajarri and Gooniyandi. It will be used as a resource by teachers in the local school. An exhibition of the featured artwork was held and purchasers of the art were given a booklet.
In addition to gaining an understanding of Eucalyptus and Corymbia, staff members at Ngurra Arts increased skills and knowledge in photography, transcribing stories, and desktop publishing.
Lake Mountain Boardwalk
Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
Funds from this grant were used to complete construction of a boardwalk at Snowy Hill, Lake Mountain and
develop an educational program specific to the region. The area is predominantly Alpine Ash, Eucalyptus
delegatensis and has an interesting fire history. Historically, successive fires killed off the Alpine Ash and Acacia
Obliquinervia became the dominant species. Since then Alpine Ash has seeded and seedlings can be seen rising
above the regenerating wattle. Completion of the boardwalk is enabling visitors to view this area close up and signage explains the special fire history of this small area of the Lake Mountain plateau. Filled with interpretative signs, the boardwalk allows visitors of all ages and abilities to appreciate the mountain’s sub-alpine environment. Importantly, it provides an understanding of the ecology of bushfire in the Australian landscape and a history of the local area.
Making La Trobe University’s eucalypt collection publicly accessible
Dr Alison Kellow
La Trobe University
La Trobe University has a significant collection of eucalypt specimens, arising from taxonomic research
by staff and postgraduate students. Considerable work had been undertaken to mount and label the
specimens but many were not curated, hence the information they contain was inaccessible to the
public and other researchers. 936 specimens were mounted, georeferenced, databased and the data
incorporated into Australia’s Virtual Herbarium. This comprised 723 Eucalyptus specimens representing 82
taxa and hybrids, 7 Corymbia specimens representing 4 taxa and 206 Angophora specimens representing 20
taxa and hybrids. Of particular interest are 156 sheets of Eucalyptus stellulata and E. mitchelliana, and 108 sheets of E. cinerera and E. cephalocarpa from across their geographic ranges. Many duplicate specimens of
Angophora were uncovered through sorting of the collection and have been despatched to other
Nardoo Hills Reserves Eucalypt Management
This grant was awarded to Bush Heritage to manage threats to the Eucalyptus dominated grassy woodlands of the
Nardoo Hills in Victoria. The main activity was creation of a mineral earth fire break
on the far western boundary of the reserves. Fires present a considerable threat to the large trees and fallen timber
assets on the reserve and the fire break will create a 20 metre barrier against potential bushfires coming from westerly or northerly directions. Eight working bees tackled weedy threats to the woodlands, selectively removing wheel cactus, Paterson’s curse, horehound and African boxthorn. Bush Heritage ecologists set up a series of monitoring sites at yellow and grey box communities to track tree health and condition with the view to develop intervention strategies. Analysis of data collected will give a clear picture of the overall health of vegetation types and the bird populations
they support. Early indicators from the project suggest health of box eucalypt species is of concern.
Aboriginal Scar Trees: Significance, Conservation and Management of Veteran Eucalypts in the
The Hut Environmental and Community Association Inc.
Under this project, 180 people attended five workshops in south eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales on the value and importance of veteran and scarred eucalypt trees to humans and biodiversity conservation. The workshops covered information on local natural resources and vegetation communities, management of veteran trees, aboriginal cultural heritage and scarred trees and processes for protection and conservation of scarred and carved trees. Several new partnerships were forged as a result of the workshops.
Conservation Strategies for Riverina Black Box Woodlands
Hay Trees on Plains Landcare Inc.
This project provided support to control woody weeds in a Riverina black box Eucalyptus largiflorens woodland understory. Five different contracting services undertook control programs in designated areas of
woodland. This included a combination of brushcutting and mechanical stem herbicide application. The risk to eucalypts from the use of chemicals such as hexazinone for the control of woody weeds was widely
publicized and the alternative methods of control were demonstrated to 80 land managers at a field day. Specific information was shared on the importance of creating an understory of native plants to keep boxthorns from re-establishing.
Adaptation and diversity of eucalypts in the Greater Blue Mountains: conservation of the ‘green
Evolution & Ecology Research Centre
University of New South Wales
The green ashes are a group of closely related species found in SE Australia, with some species found in tall, mountain forests on fertile soils and others occurring as mallees on shallow soils on sandstone. Of the
18 green ash species, 14 are rare or localized with E. burgessiana and E. cunninghamii being known from less than 10 populations each. This project investigated the evolution and diversity of the green ashes using the
genomic technique DArTseq. The datasets generated have helped identify taxa and populations that may be genetically isolated and those where gene flow probably occurs. The project has also enabled the identification of populations that should be investigated as potential new species in the future.
Gum Tree Corridor – the Eucalypt Interpretation Project
Friends of the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
Under this project, seven interpretive signs were made and installed along the Gum Tree Corridor at
the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens. The corridor had been planted over a number of years by
volunteers and students. A commemorative planting day was held on Arbor Day 2014 to celebrate the installation
of the signage.
Locating and Recording Water Trees
Goldfields Land and Sea Council
Ngadju lands have very little fresh water and limited catchment areas. Water Trees were essential resources that allowed people to move through and live in the landscape. Many of the water trees were intentionally modified by Ngadju who created a bowl in the centre to store water. This project located and mapped significant ‘water
trees’ in the traditional lands of the Ngadju people. The resultant map is to be used to develop a strategy to protect the trees in the face of increased development of roads, pipelines, seismic lines, drilling programs and power lines. The digital database created will be used to inform ongoing Heritage Assessment work in the area. It will also be used as a planning tool for fire ecology work, aimed at reducing the fire risk to the trees.