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Translocation

Our research on threatened Persoonia species is helping to prepare and implement translocations of propagated plants. Translocations increase plant numbers in the wild to minimise local extinction risk.

Our staff have led multiple translocation events for three threatened Persoonia species, which has returned around 1,400 plants to the wild. Our translocations are undertaken using an experimental framework, which helps us to understand the planting techniques that have a positive effect on plant survival and growth. For several translocations, we have used both plants propagated from seeds and vegetative cuttings do determine if one performs better than the other.

We have been involved in four translocation events for the critically endangered Persoonia pauciflora and two translocation events for each of the endangered Persoonia hirsuta and Persoonia hindii. Two translocations of P. pauciflora were established outside of its distribution to help buffer the species from environmental impacts.

Ideally, Persoonia plants should be at least 12-24 months old before translocating as this ensures the plants have developed a suitable root system to minimise any impacts of translocation shock and subsequent environmental stresses. Results regarding propagation type have been mixed, with Persoonia pauciflora plants grown from vegetative cuttings outperforming plants grown from seeds, while the converse was true for Persoonia hirsuta. Seed-grown plants, however, are more likely to produce a larger, more complex root system over a shorter period which may improve survival and growth rates. Protecting plants from herbivores is critical to translocation success and mulching plants using local site leaf litter also helps to retain soil moisture around the plants.