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Australasian Plant Conservation

Originally published in Australasian Plant Conservation 13(3), December 2004 - February 2005

President's Report

Judy West
Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO Plant Industry

This report for APC incorporates the essence of my President's Report presented at the ANPC Annual General Meeting in November 2004, and as such will recap on some of the activities of the organisation during the past year.

The ANPC has faced some challenging moments during this past year complemented by  many exciting times and events taking us in new directions. 

The largely new committee has worked well together and individual contributions have been outstanding.  The ANPC should be proud of the dedication of its elected office bearers.  I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the retiring members of the National Committee, Stephen Harris, Kingsley Dixon, David Given and Tracey Armstrong, for their long term commitment to the organization, which I am sure will continue under different guises.   In addition, our Treasurer Gerald Mueller must retire at this time - Ged has grappled with some difficult situations and funding uncertainties during his term and we are extremely grateful for his efforts and major contribution. 

It is also a great pleasure to welcome some new members to the National Committee.  Helena Mills, Trevor Christensen and Paul Janssens were all elected at the recent Annual General Meeting and we anticipate great enthusiasm and an influx of fresh ideas!  We will include some short biographies in upcoming APCs for you to get to know your committee members.

The two new staff members, Pam Strickland (holding the office together) and Sally Stephens (Project Officer for the environmental grants and workshop organiser), have become ANPC enthusiasts and are working very hard to keep the organisation buzzing.

In June we launched the second edition of the Guidelines for the Translocation of Threatened Plants in Australia at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.  The production and publication was supported by the NSW Environmental Trust, which also assisted with distribution.  This new edition, supported by the NRM Ministerial Council, reflects advances in scientific practice and the greatly increased practical experience in translocation.  With more than 500 copies having been distributed, the Guidelines appear to have been well received with considerable positive feedback.

The high quality training workshops organised and hosted by the ANPC during this past year have contributed significantly to the scientific level of information provided to practitioners.  The feedback from each of the workshops has been extremely complimentary on the quality of presentations, as well as the relevance of the content.

A series of "Translocation of Threatened Plants" workshops have been held responding to user demand.  The first of these, in February at Mt Annan Botanic Gardens, was followed by another in June at the RBG Sydney.  Extending beyond NSW, the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment and North Central CMA partly sponsored a third translocation workshop in Bendigo in September, as did Kings Park & Botanic Garden and the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) in November.   In addition, another translocation workshop took place in south-east Queensland as part of the Envirofund grant jointly supported by the Queensland Government Environment Protection Agency.

Three or four ANPC committee members have provided the core of presentations for each of these workshops and their formula, incorporating real case scenarios into the program, seems to have hit on a winning combination. 
I would like to express gratitude on behalf of all of us in the ANPC to those members who have contributed so much of their time and energy to the success of these workshops.

With Roger Good's major assistance and support from TransGrid we also held an alpine workshop: Ecological Restoration for Mountain Environments - approaches and techniques in April, with 92 participants.  There appears to be some interest in ANPC being involved in more of this type of biome oriented training for restoration techniques and experiences.

In late November/early December as part of the Envirofund Grant, our project officer Sally Stephens organised an extravaganza of three workshops and two one-day field trips in south-east Queensland.   One of these sessions was the translocation workshop, as well as two (repeat) workshops on Approaches and Techniques for the Rehabilitation of Native Vegetation in South-east Queensland - one held in Brisbane at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and the other at University of Queensland Gatton campus.  Sally committed enormous energy to bring these events together and participant responses the effort has been well worthwhile.  See separate report on page 4.

Following the very successful alpine restoration workshop in April, the ANPC will be running three more workshops on post-disturbance rehabilitation of plant biodiversity in NSW during 2005. Details of these will be provided as they are developed - keep an eye on the ANPC website. These workshops are supported by the NSW Environmental Trust.

It is extremely encouraging to review the collaborative partnerships that ANPC has developed with a wide range of organizations, all of whom have generously assisted with running these training sessions. It is clear there is a demand to increase the scientific level of information being provided to those of our community responsible for on-ground management and conservation.  I wish to acknowledge the generous backing and cooperation of the various organizations and agencies as mentioned above.

Australasian Plant Conservation (APC):  it is exciting to see the content of the Bulletin expanding to incorporate more substantial articles, for which we have received positive feedback.  In addition, the concept of publishing issues of APC dedicated to a particular theme, such as this one on wetlands, seems to have met with approval.  We are planning for the next issue of APC to be centred around pathogens and plant conservation.  Feedback from members on these issues and other suggestions would be very helpful.

The next ANPC National Conference - will be held in Adelaide from 26 September to 1 October, 2005.   The general theme of the conference will be: Plant Conservation - the challenges of change - with the intention of dealing with various types of change, such as climate, threats and policy.  This conference will be hosted jointly with the South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) and the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. Notifications will be distributed soon and further information will be incorporated into the next issue of APC.

As a leadup to the national conference and to bring attention to our activities in South Australia and beyond, the ANPC and the SA DEH jointly sponsored a symposium within the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) conference in Adelaide in December.  The symposium, entitled Revegetation and Ecological Functionality, attracted 13 papers and a very good attendance, and stimulated much discussion.  I would like to thank the ESA for incorporating our symposium suggestion into the conference, and look forward to further interaction with the society in the future.

In approaching the new year I am sure the ANPC is going to be faced with many more challenges and opportunities.  The important point, as an organization and an active conservation network, is that we can look back on the year and see that we have made a difference.  I feel the ANPC has definitely achieved that goal in 2004.