Department of Parks adn Wildlife
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Translocation is an important tool used to assist in the conservation of many Western Australian plants that face a high risk of extinction in the wild in the near to immediate future.

Flora translocations are the deliberate transfer of plant material from one area to another for the purpose of conservation. This plant material may be in the form of seeds, cuttings or propagated seedlings.

Flora translocations may involve:

Why is translocation used ?

By deliberating transferring plant material form one area to another, Parks and Wildlife aims to reduce the risk of extinction, and increase the long term security of Western Australian threatened plants in the wild.

Translocation is used as a conservation tool when a plant species has little chance of surviving in the wild without intervention.

Plant species that can no longer do this are listed as critically endangered flora and plans known as interim recovery plans are created to assist in their survival.

By aiding the survival of critically endangered plants in, and near areas where they have always existed, translocation ensures that these plants continue to take part in the natural processes that underpin the ecosystem to which they belong.

How are plants translocated ?

The translocation and establishment of viable populations of threatened plants is a complex process requiring expertise and knowledge in a range of biological disciplines.

Typically our researchers undertaking a flora translocation will:

How can I help ? - Getting involved in saving Western Australian plants

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Conservation seed orchards

In addition to formal plant translocations, Parks and Wildlife has established a number of 'conservation seed orchards' (also known as 'field genebanks') to assist in the conservation of critically threatened plant species.

Conservation seed orchards are sites where threatened species have been established, often outside their known range, with the aim of providing material for translocation and restoration and as a safeguard against extinction in the wild. Species that are high priority for planting in the seed orchards are those that are highly threatened in the wild or do not readily produce seeds.

Plants grown from seed collected from the seed orchards can be returned to the original in situ site to augment wild populations, once the original threats have been controlled. Using seeds from a conservation seed orchard takes pressure off wild populations. Conservation seed orchards also provide sites for research projects that aim to gain a greater understanding of the targeted species. These findings are incorporated into supporting conservation and management of wild populations.

These conservation seed orchards are subject to intensive management which may include fertilisation, watering and protection from grazing animals, in addition to monitoring of growth and survival and collection of propagation material.

Some of the species that have been incorporated into these plantings include:

These highly endangered species are found in Phytophthora dieback infested areas such as the Stirling Range National Park. Because their natural populations are heavily infested with the disease, it is not wise to reintroduce plants to their former home until the disease can be controlled. Instead, these conservation seed orchards are providing a safe haven from disease and helping to ensure the ongoing survival of some of Western Australia's unique flora.

Related resources

Contact information

Anne Cochrane & Leonie Monks