Blakely’s Red Gum dieback provenance trial – planting 7000 trees
Recent dieback has led to widespread death of Blakely’s Red Gum (Eucalyptus blakelyi) in the north of the ACT, causing significant concern for the Territory government. It is thought that both the impacts of clearing and climate events influence the onset and severity of insect attacks. The impact of climate change is therefore another factor, additional to clearing, which may be causative of dieback and that is likely to have impacts that continue into the future.
In response to the ongoing occurrence of dieback, and in view of projected climate change that is expected to result in a warmer, drier climate in the ACT, a programme of provenance testing of E. blakelyi has been undertaken. The objective is to investigate whether there is genetic variation in the traits that give resistance to dieback, both within the subpopulation endemic to the ACT and from subpopulations sampled from the species’ extensive natural range.
In collaboration with CSIRO, provenance trials involving eight provenances of the species has been established at four sites throughout the ACT. The trials will be measured and observed over a period of years to examine the incidence of insect attack, stress and dieback and to gauge whether it would be necessary and effective to translocate material from elsewhere in the species’ range that is less susceptible to dieback.