Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Centre for Plant Conservation 2011-2012

R.O. (Bob) Makinson - Conservation Botanist

Much of the Conservation Botanist’s activity concerned the newly arrived plant pathogen Myrtle Rust, now positively identified as being a strain of Puccinia psidii (Eucalyptus Rust). In the two years since its first detection in Australia, this disease has shown an ability to infect over 200 Australian native plant species of the family Myrtaceae, with some species severely affected. Myrtle Rust is now widely naturalised along Australia’s east coast, and is recognised as a serious threat to our native Myrtaceae in wetter parts of the country. The Conservation Botanist concluded a first series of training and awareness courses on Myrtle Rust in regional centres in NSW and Queensland, and has since updated the course content in preparation for a second series in 2012. This work is proceeding in close liaison with the Plant Pathology unit, and with external agencies. The Conservation Botanist was invited to join a national Myrtle Rust Scientific Advisory Group convened by the Commonwealth.

The Conservation Botanist and other staff contributed information on threatened species and threat processes to a variety of clients and stakeholders, including other sections of the Office of Environment and Heritage, the NSW Scientific Committee, other agencies, ecological consultants, and community groups. Major inputs were made via expert interviews to the NSW Priority Action Statement (PAS2) database, the State’s main planning instrument for threatened species and threat abatement. During the year, the Conservation Botanist also took up the Trust representation role on the Office of Environment and Heritage’s PAS2 Working Group, and was an invited participant in a Commonwealth Government workshop on threat abatement planning. Training sessions were also delivered on threatened species translocation techniques at a workshop in Canberra.





Grevillea mollis, one of the threatened species unique to New South Wales on which Trust staff have provided conservation advice. Photo: RO Makinson