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The impact of Phytophthora cinnamomi on ecosystem function and health of Mediterranean forests, woodlands and heath lands in Western Australia

Dell, B., Hardy, G., O'Gara, E. and Shearer, B. (2007) The impact of Phytophthora cinnamomi on ecosystem function and health of Mediterranean forests, woodlands and heath lands in Western Australia. In: 11th International Mediterranean Ecosystems (MEDECOS) Conference (2007), 2 - 5 September, Perth, Western Australia.

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    Abstract

    Introduction: In Australia, the introduced soil-borne plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi is listed by the Commonwealth's Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act -1999 as a 'Key Threatening Process to Australia's Biodiversity'. It causes major epiphytotics in the Mediterranean areas of the continent receiving more than 600 mm of rainfall. In the Southwest Botanical Province of Western Australia over 2,285 native plant species of the 5,710 described are susceptible to P. cinnamomi (Shearer et al. 2004). The indirect effects of P. cinnamomi in terms of botanical impact through the loss of vertebrate and invertebrate pollinators, and loss of canopy and litter cover have yet to been determined. Recent studies indicate that the pathogen is impacting on native fauna due to loss of litter, understorey and overstorey canopy cover, food resources and refugia (Garkaklis et al. 2004). The pathogen also impacts on stream flow, water quality, and can increase salinity. Hygiene and quarantine management controls impact on mining, timber harvesting, road building, and the activities of utilities and general use of parks and reserves by the public. The plant communities impacted on in south-western Australia include the jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest, the banksia woodlands and heathlands. The area of impact includes the only global biodiversity 'hotspot' in Australia (Mittermeier et al. 2004).

    Publication Type: Conference Item
    Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
    School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
    Notes: Extended abstract
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7107
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