Natural Area News

Dieback Information Group (DIG) Conference 2015

The 14th annual Dieback Information Group conference was held on Friday 31st of July 2015 at the Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre. The conference was sponsored by Natural Area and attended by Natural Areas own David Hancock and Sharon Hynes (Botanist).

This year the focus was on the biosecurity issues that surround Phytophthora dieback and other threats to native bushland ecosystems including pests and weeds. Including discussion on legislation, risk assessment and response procedures to quarantine outbreaks within Australia’s borders. There was a variety of key speakers, as well as other interesting presentations from local government, extractive industries and community groups.

Our own David Hancock gave a presentation on new nursery industry protocols for Phytophthora control which focused on innovations in nursery system management to prevent Dieback being transferred from nursery stock into revegetation sites.

Associate Professor David Cook from the University of Western Australia (UWA) presented a talk titled ‘Evaluation of potential responses to invasive species with structured decision making’ which covered the use of structured decision making by managers in order to appropriately respond to invasive species incursions, using the response plan developed for the 2010 Myrtle rust incursion in the Eastern states as an example.

Ryan Hepworth, from the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) presented on how the DMP regulates and supports best practice management of Phytophthora dieback, discussing dieback management during explorations, mining/construction, and mine closure/rehabilitation, and outlined the DMP’s requirements surrounding these aspects.

Dr Ian Horner, the leader of the Pathogen Biology and Ecology Team in the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research provided an overview of Kauri Dieback. Kauri (Agathis australis) is a giant tree that dominates the forest in northern New Zealand. These forests are under threat from a Phytophthora agathidicida. He gave an overview of Kauri dieback disease, its incidence and impacts, the response to the disease, and the current research.

Associate Professor Treena Burgess gave an update of the research carried out by the Centre of Phytophthora Science and Management (CPSM) in Western Australia. Over the past few years members of the CPSM have conducted many experiments with the aim of improving the speed and reliability of Phytophthora cinnamomi diagnostics. In this talk she gave a rundown of the progress and the problems they have encountered, and the current status of their findings.


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