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Australasian Plant Conservation

Originally published in Australasian Plant Conservation 13(1), June - August 2004

Presidentís Report

Judy West
Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO Plant Industry

In this issue I would like to provide some feedback on ANPC activities during the past three months, introduce some of the ANPC activities to occur over the next 6-8 months, and welcome our new staff.

Firstly, it is great that we have been able to appoint two new staff.  Pam Strickland is applying her efficient practices to management of the ANPC office - she currently works Monday and Friday each week.  Sally Stephens is employed full-time as a project officer to take the lead on organising training workshops as part of two environmental grants awarded to ANPC (see below).  Sally comes to ANPC from the federal Department of Environment and Heritage where she has worked on threatened species, Bushcare communications, and local government liaison, among other areas.  I welcome both Pam and Sally on behalf of the National Committee and appreciate the enthusiasm with which they are tackling the varied tasks.

The second edition of the Guidelines for the Translocation of Threatened Plants in Australia was launched on the 4th June at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, associated with the second NSW translocation workshop.  Given the continued use of translocation as a conservation tool, and the occurrence of some inappropriate practices, the ANPC recognised the need to revise the guidelines, and the organisation is grateful to the NSW Environmental Trust for supporting preparation of the guidelines and making them widely available.  The first edition (1997) was taken up by a wide range of conservation practitioners, in the government, private, and community sectors, as an invaluable resource to guide translocation projects.  This new edition, supported by the NRM Ministerial Council, reflects advances in scientific practice and the greatly increased practical experience in translocation. In particular, the new guidelines include greater emphasis on evaluating whether a translocation effort is justified and practical, new case studies have been added and operational sections have convenient checklists to aid recovery teams and personnel.

At the end of April, 92 participants took part in an ANPC training workshop on Ecological Restoration for Mountain Environments - Approaches and Techniques.  The three day workshop was structured around a combination of presentations and background talks together with on-site (mainly Kosciuszko area) viewing and discussion.  The workshop attracted participants with a wide range of interests, including from industry (mining, hydroelectricity, alpine resorts, engineering, horticulture and rehabilitation material manufacturers), non-government conservation organisations, local government, universities, CSIRO and CRCs, Bushcare and Bush Regeneration consultants and contractors, environmental consultants, and State and Commonwealth Government agencies.  Feedback has been very positive with many post-workshop contacts and appreciative comments, particularly relating to the quality of scientific presentations and experienced personnel and the format of field inspections mixed with formal presentations, or the "travelling roadshow of ecological rehabilitation work in progress".  ANPC wishes to thank TransGrid for their strong support in running this workshop.

Following the successful workshop on translocation of threatened plants at Mt Annan in February, a second translocation workshop along the same lines was held in Sydney at the Royal Botanic Gardens on the 4th June with about 40 participants.  This too was attended by officers from local government, state agencies, community groups and environmental consultancy companies, who found the sessions "very practical and hands-on, all presenters up to date with latest information" and commented especially on the case study scenario discussions to assist in translocation practices.

Further translocation workshops are being planned for other jurisdictions, particularly in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and possibly South Australia.  If you are interested in attending please contact the ANPC national office or see the flyer provided with this issue for information about the Victorian workshop to be held in Bendigo 24th September. The Victorian workshop is sponsored by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, with assistance also provided by the North Central Catchment Management Authority.

Continuing ANPC's role in facilitating interactions and transferring knowledge from current research findings to those practitioners responsible for on-ground management, during the next 16 months ANPC will be organising a series of six training courses in remnant protection and rehabilitation in regional NSW and south-east Queensland, under the guidance of our project officer, Sally Stephens. The Queensland workshops will be run in conjunction with the Queensland Herbarium, with support from WWF Queensland.

The small remnant patches that are closest to most of us living in urban and suburban areas have received less conservation attention than those beyond our big cities.  In an attempt to raise awareness of urban conservation issues and to draw attention to some of the scientific approaches now being implemented, this issue of APC focuses on the theme of urban conservation.  ANPC is pleased to have support from the Australian Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE) in producing this issue of APC. If you have suggestions of other themes that you would like to see APC cover in future issues please feel free to contact me or the ANPC office.