Australian Orchid Foundation


Project: 312/2016

Title: Tasmanian Orchid Conservation into the Future
Applicant: Dr Nigel Swarts
Institution: Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

This project aims to establish a long-term orchid conservation and research program at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG). This project will see a coordinated approach to the implementation of the recently published Tasmanian Threatened Orchid Flora Recovery Plan (TTOFRP) and builds on from previously funded molecular work by the Australian Orchid Foundation, Herman Slade Foundation and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. This project is a collaboration between the RTBG, volunteers from community groups including the Friends of the RTBG and Threatened Plants Tasmania. The TTOFRP identifies important in situ and ex situ conservation activities as well as mycorrhizal, pollinator and taxonomic research for 36 EPBC listed species. Key recovery actions implemented by this project include the isolation and culture of mycorrhizal fungi, long-term seed and mycorrhizal storage and the propagation of orchids for re-introduction. We expect that by undertaking this project, we will see an improvement to the conservation status of the target orchids. This project is highly significant for threatened species in Tasmania given the high representation of the Orchidaceae family in the state and the high proportion of those which are on Commonwealth and State threatened species lists.  The project is overseen by Drs. Nigel Swarts and Magali Wright with activities completed on Friday mornings with a team of 10 volunteers on a rotational roster.

Significant success has been achieved by the group over the last two years with flowering of Caladenia saggicola, Caladenia anthracina, Pterostylis ziegeleri, Prasophyllum olidum and Prasophyllum incorrectum. Caladenia saggicola flowered in time for presentation on Threatened Species Day in the foyer of the restaurant at the RTBG.