Climate change has contributed to the bushfires and dieback that have devastated large tracts of native woodlands and forests in south-east Australia in recent years. In this project, through an established Landcare-academia partnership, we will test and predict climate resilience of the next generation of trees needed to successfully restore these landscapes.
Bushfire Recovery Project
The experience of dieback and bushfires over the last two decades has highlighted the need to find Eucalyptus genotypes that can cope with their new local climate. This will require systematic, large-scale scientific evaluation of climate-specific performance of a large number of genotypes sampled from across their full environmental and geographic range.
700 Ribbon Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and Snow Gum (E. pauciflora) seedlings grown from seed sourced from across NSW will be phenotyped for heat and drought tolerance in climate chambers at the Australian National University's Plant Phenomics facility using high resolution real-time imaging technology.
These data, combined with full-genome data collected under an Environmental Trust-funded Dieback Research Grant, will generate climate-specific predictions of genotype performance for any given restoration environment.
This information will be released to practitioners via the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden’s ‘Restore and Renew’ webtool in order to maximise the chances of success of post-fire restoration programs.
In this project, this evaluation will be undertaken for two keystone species of the bushfire-impacted tableland-mountain environments which are both suffering from climate change-related dieback. This is part of a wider enterprise by the project partners to evaluate thousands of genotypes in a dozen tableland and mountain Eucalypt species with the goal of providing practical, science-based solutions and centralised, landscape-wide resources that are needed to rebuild resilient tableland and montane Eucalyptus ecosystems for the future.
The project will support the threatened species found in the grassy woodlands and dry sclerophyll forests of the South East Highlands and New England Tablelands IBRA regions.
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