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Australasian Plant Conservation

Originally published in Australasian Plant Conservation 17(1) June - July 2008, p 1

From the Editor

Rosemary Purdie
c/- Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Canberra

This issue of Australasian Plant Conservation (APC) contains the remaining abstracts from ANPC's 7th National Conference Our declining flora - tackling the treats, held in Mulgoa, NSW on 21-24 April 2008, and four papers (on pages 10-15) from the conference.  

The additional theme of the issue is "Woodlands", a plant community type that is threatened in many parts of Australia, especially in agricultural areas in the south. The articles cover woodlands in south-west Western Australia and south-eastern Australia. The topics include describing tools to help landholders manage their woodland vegetation, perceptions of woodlands, and woodland conservation status.  

The issue concludes with a translocation case study from Victoria, two articles on projects to help conserve plants in tropical north Queensland, and our regular features.  

Looking ahead, APC 17(2), September-November 2008 will focus on how the national and state/territory governments in Australia go about assessing the extinction risk of native plant species. This is an important process to understand, as listing under state and territory threatened species laws brings with it responsibilities to address threats to the survival of such plants, and often provides funding opportunities for on-ground conservation works.  

The theme of APC 17(3) December 2008-February 2009 will be 'Trials and errors', to allow us to focus on a side of plant conservation that usually doesn't get much column space. Despite our best aims and planning for on-ground conservation activities, things can still go wrong (or not entirely as we had wanted them to) or we can get unexpected, perverse outcomes.  

Examples that come to mind include: "we removed all the woody weeds but didn't anticipate we'd create an 'oasis' for rabbits" . "we set up our monitoring plots, and the results are still in the head of the person who now works overseas" . "we marked each plant with a tag and they've all disappeared" . "we thought we'd nailed the experimental design but it didn't work" . and so forth. Each time something like this happens, we often think the activity/trial/program was unsuccessful, but in reality we learn from it and try to avoid making the same mistake or attempt to 'do it better' the next time. We are going to focus on these 'trial and error' types of things in APC 17(3) as a way of sharing what individuals or project teams have learnt from 'bitter' or 'rueful' experience, to help others avoid the same problem. It can be a short note or a full article - the choice is yours - and it's all part of adaptive management in on-ground plant conservation.  

So, if you have a 'trial or error' learning that you'd like to share with other ANPC members, contact 'Trials and errors' coordinator Michael Vyse (phone 02 9585 6920; email michael.vyse@environment.nsw.gov.au) and let him know. All you need to think about is: the title of the project/activity; what worked, what didn't and why, and what were the main lessons learnt?

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