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6th ANPC National Conference: Plant Conservation: the Challenges of Change

Held from 26 September to 1 October 2005 in Adelaide, South Australia.

The very successful National Conference Plant Conservation: The Challenges of Change was hosted jointly with the South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage and the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. 

Although the number of participants (just over 100) was slightly less than expected, their areas of interest were broad and covered the spectrum of activities relating to plant conservation.  This ANPC National Conference is really the only venue of its kind in that it brings together the on-ground practitioners together with researchers and policy makers, and certainly stimulates thoughtful debate and discussion.  The opportunity for networking and learning from others was outstanding and members and non-members capitalised on the chance to raise issues and concerns from their experiences.

The program of presentations on the first two days provided a diverse range of papers around the four themes: (1) Extreme policy changes, (2) Urban ecology, (3) Using revegetation to achieve ecological outcomes, and (4) Indigenous interests in conservation; several of these papers are summarized in this issue of APC.  A keynote address by a prominent leader in the field opened up each theme and set the scene for the contributions which followed.  In most cases the keynote speaker aroused some controversies and provoked healthy debate.

The third day saw the majority of participants take part in a field trip to the Adelaide Hills and particularly to Scott Creek Conservation Park where they were able to view first hand and to learn from the results of volunteers driving a major restoration effort. 

Friday September 29 supported a number of concurrent workshops covering different issues associated with plant conservation, including analysis of techniques for assessing vegetation, grass identification, weed risk assessment, managing small patches in urban areas and effective communication strategies.  By all accounts participants found this format of short targeted workshops led by experts to be extremely rewarding and helpful for their own circumstances.

On the final day of the conference ANPC ran another of the Translocation for Threatened Plants workshops.  The real examples and scenario considerations seem to be a proven format to successfully have practitioners consider the issues of translocation and to assess the feasibility of success and options that may be pursued to reach positive outcomes.

Extract from Judy West’s President’s Report published in Australasian Plant Conservation Vol 14 (2) Sept-Nov 2005.