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The risk of extinction resulting from disease caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi to threatened flora endemic to the Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia

Barrett, S., Shearer, B., Crane, C. and Cochrane, A. (2007) The risk of extinction resulting from disease caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi to threatened flora endemic to the Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia. In: 11th International Mediterranean Ecosystems (MEDECOS) Conference (2007), 2 - 5 September, Perth, Western Australia.

Abstract

Introduction: The Stirling Range National Park (SRNP) contains more than 1500 of Western Australia's plant taxa, 26 of these are threatened, with 85 endemic to the Park. Phytophthora dieback resulting from the introduced root pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands (Oomycetes) is considered to be the foremost threatening process for rare and endemic flora of the SRNP (Grant and Barrett 2003, Barrett 2005). Some 36 % of the SRNP flora is estimated to be susceptible to P. cinnamomi with 10 % considered highly susceptible (Shearer et al. 2004). More than 60 % of the SRNP is estimated to be currently infested. Climate, soils, topography and susceptible plant communities combine to provide ideal conditions for the sporulation, survival and dispersal of the pathogen (Grant and Barrett 2003, Barrett 2005). Other threatening processes may interact with Phytophthora dieback to increase extinction risk. Fire has the capacity to increase the extinction vulnerability of narrow range endemics (Yates et al. 2003). Grazing also adds to extinction vulnerability while summer drought, predicted to be exacerbated by climate change (lOCI 2002), is considered to be a significant threat to those taxa associated with refugial habitat. This paper estimates the risk of extinction caused by P. cinnamomi for 28 conservation-listed or endemic taxa, all but one taxon restricted to the SRNP. Of the 28 taxa assessed 12 were listed as threatened and 13 as 'Priority' or 'data deficient' flora.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7105
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