Saving a Pleistocene relic

Preserving the Riverine Plains Inland River Red Gums

Making a Difference -

LLCI010-005

Saving a Pleistocene relic

Preserving the Riverine Plains Inland River Red Gums

The issue

The Riverine Plain Inland River Red Gums (RPIRRG) of the Riverina bioregion are small resilient remnants still persisting after prior stream depositions thought to have ceased under arid conditions during the Pleistocene age.

Stands of RPIRRG are generally less than 5ha in size, randomly and widely scattered along prior streams on the extensive grasslands of the Hay Plains.  These stands have been gradually declining over the years, possibly due to drought and grazing pressure, and to date no efforts have been made to identify, assess, monitor and map these uniquely adapted trees.

The solution

Funding was received to employ a project officer, and a technical expert was engaged to create a matrix for unbiased, uniform assessment of each identified stand.  Since many of these stands exist on private property, it was first necessary to establish their whereabouts through members of the public volunteering information.  A newspaper article and an email mail-out resulted in nine landholders volunteering sites for assessment.

On a visit to one of the sites, an expert in Eucalyptus trees identified long-standing hybrids mixed in amongst the RPIRRGs.  Riverina Local Land Services have agreed to provide in-kind support on the project to map the GPS coordinates of the sites recorded during the assessments.

The impact

The project is due to be completed in April 2017.  At the culmination of the project, it is anticipated that there will be a uniform assessment of the identified stands of RPIRRG, together with a collated map to provide unbiased data of the sites.  History recording and seed collection will also be carried out, and fact sheets produced to aid in identification of the trees.  Landholders will also be provided with a management plan to enable them to protect and care for the trees.

Learnings

Projects are only successful when people have the time, knowledge and passion to undertake them.  While this is only a small budget project, its impact can be “stretched” by developing partnerships with those who have the resources and technical expertise.

Images

 

Key facts

  • In-Kind support has been provided through three partnerships
  • To date at least nine property locations have been identified.

Project Partners