Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG)
National Myrtle Rust Workshop
- Implications for ex situ collections
Thursday 10 March 2011
Australia ’s leading plant and fungal scientists joined industry and government agencies at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra in March 2011 to explore options for managing the outbreak of the South American fungal disease, Myrtle rust.
The workshop focused on the threat to botanic gardens but also discussed the broader issue of managing the exotic disease in the Australian bush, national parks and reserves.
What is Myrtle Rust?
Myrtle rust is an introduced fungal disease that affects plants in the Myrtaceae family such as bottle brush, tea tree and eucalypts. It produces large numbers of spores that are easily spread by wind, human activity and animals. Myrtle rust attacks young, soft actively growing leaves, shoot tips, young stems, fruits and flower parts of susceptible plants.
Myrtle Rust in Australia
Myrtle rust first emerged in a central NSW plant nursery in April 2010; within months it had spread to the north and south of the state and into Queensland.
The key outcomes of the workshop
- Myrtle rust is unlikely to be eradicated and we must learn to live and manage the disease.
- The spread of the disease is best managed through education, agreed handling guidelines and hygiene protocols. .
- Seed banks will have an important role in safeguarding Mrytaceae species that may be under threat.
- Botanic gardens will work in collaboration with industry, governments and local and national communities to educate and increase awareness of the disease.
Presentations from the National Myrtle Rust Workshop (all presentations hyperlinked)
- Overview and situation report: Kevin Cooper (I&I NSW)
- National plan and perspectives/expectations: Mikael Hirsch (DAFF)
- Taxonomic knowledge – what is it? What does it look like? Ed Liew and Brett Summerell (RBG Sydney)
- Epidemiology and life cycles; susceptibility and host range: Louise Morin (CSIRO)
- “On the ground” aspects – impact on plantations, native forests and natural ecosystems: Angus Carnegie (I&I NSW)
- Threats – scope and scale: Doug Beckers (NSW DECCW)
- Community ecology and fitness; bioclimatic predictions: Jeremy Burdon and Peter Thrall (CSIRO)
- Common protocols: reportage, hygiene, contingency plans: Bob Makinson (RBG Sydney)
24 October, 2011
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