Climate-adjusted provenancing: constructing forests for the future

Dorothy Steane (1), Peter Harrison (2), Suzanne Prober (3) , Margaret Byrne (4), Elizabeth McLean (5), William Stock (6), Tanya Bailey (7), René Vaillancourt (8), Brad Potts (9)

1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia, Dorothy.Steane@utas.edu.au

2 School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia, P.A.Harrison@utas.edu.au

3 CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia, Suzanne.Prober@csiro.au

4 Science and Conservation Division, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983 Western Australia, Margaret.Byrne@dpaw.wa.gov.au

5 CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia, Liz.McLean@csiro.au

6 Centre for Ecosystem Management, School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, w.stock@ecu.edu.au

7 School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia, Tanya.Bailey@utas.edu.au

8 School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia, Rene.Vaillancourt@utas.edu.au

9 School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia, B.M.Potts@utas.edu.au

Investments in ecological restoration are estimated at $US 2 trillion per annum worldwide and are increasing rapidly. These investments are occurring in an environment of global climate change.  In revegetation programs, the choice of which provenance of a species to use can be critical to long-term success. Traditionally local provenances have been favoured due to the ‘local is best’ paradigm. However, this is increasingly being challenged due to issues of seed supply and quality (e.g. inbreeding), site modification and global environmental change. The last of these includes climate change, as well as increasing exposure to exotic competitors, pests and diseases. New approaches that optimise the resilience of restoration plantings are, thus, essential. A promising, as yet untapped, opportunity rests in the exploitation of natural genetic variability of plant species. Informed strategies for sourcing germplasm, that capitalise on inherent genetic diversity and adaptive capacity of species, offer significant promise for improving the long-term success of restoration efforts.  In Australia there are major investments in reafforestation of highly-cleared agricultural landscapes. Eucalypts are the foundation species of many of these efforts. This talk overviews (i) evidence for climate adaptation in eucalypts and local versus non-local provenance superiority, (ii) strategies being developed to enhance the climate-resilience of ecological restoration investments as the climate aridifies across southern Australia, and (iii) approaches employed to spatially model the changes in the adaptive surface of species through time.

Species on the Move

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The next conference is likely to be in 2019 at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

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