The translocation of two critically endangered Acacia species
Leonie Monks and David Coates
Science Division, W.A. Herbarium, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Western Australia 6983
The successful recovery of critically endangered flora will rely increasingly on its translocation to secure sites where the amelioration of threats has been successful or where current threats such as weeds are absent. Translocations are both costly and time consuming and in many cases involve very small numbers of plants from critically endangered populations. Consequently it is important that effective, efficient methodologies are developed for the process and for monitoring success. Equally critical, as part of the same monitoring program, is the need to develop protocols for determining and predicting translocation success. Of the 28 Acacia species listed as threatened (Declared Rare Flora) 12 are critically endangered and all occur in agricultural areas where there has been extensive land clearing and habitat degradation. The Department of Conservation and Land Management has carried out 15 experimental translocations of critically endangered taxa as part of approved Interim Recovery Plans, including Acacia aprica and Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa. Preliminary data are presented on the current status and success of experimental translocations of these two taxa of Acacia. Artificial watering and mulch had little effect on enhancing survival or growth of either taxon. Protection from grazing appears to be essential in ensuring translocation success. Continued monitoring is required to evaluate translocation success satisfactorily.