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The potential for gene flow from exotic eucalypt plantations into Australia’s rare native eucalypts


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Barbour, RC, Wise, SL, McKinnon, GE, Vaillancourt, RE, Williamson, GJ and Potts, BM 2010 , 'The potential for gene flow from exotic eucalypt plantations into Australia’s rare native eucalypts' , Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 260, no. 12 , pp. 2079-2087 , doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.08.049.

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Hybridisation through pollen dispersal from exotic plants is increasingly recognised as a threat to the
genetic integrity of native plant populations. Its genetic impact can be greater in rare taxa, due to their
vulnerability to pollen swamping by more abundant congeners. We assessed the likelihood of pollen
dispersal from exotic eucalypt plantations into all of Australia’s rare native eucalypts, and conducted a
case study of Eucalyptus perriniana, which is rare in Tasmania. The Australia-wide study involved spa-
tial analyses of the locations for each rare species superimposed on distributions of eucalypt plantations,
which were combined with known taxonomically based reproductive barriers. Of the 74 nationally listed
rare eucalypt taxa, 22 had locations within 10km of plantations of the same genus, and eight were within
1 km. These eight proximal taxa are considered priorities for monitoring. In the most extreme case, 30%
of point locations originating from herbarium records and field surveys for Eucalyptus conglomerata were
within 1km of exotic plantations. In the case study, E. perriniana revealed considerable reproductive
compatibility with adjacent recently established Eucalyptus nitens plantations. However,F1 hybridisa-
tion between these species was limited, with 0.2% of the 18,625 seedlings grown from 100 single-tree
open-pollinated seedlots being hybrids. For now, the probability of exotic gene flow into E. perriniana
appears to below, however this probability is likely to increase as more E. nitens flowers in the sur-
rounding landscape. These studies suggest that understanding the breeding system and biology of these
populations may reveal surprising resistance to such exotic hybridisation as well as identifying high risk
situations to focus conservation management.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Barbour, RC and Wise, SL and McKinnon, GE and Vaillancourt, RE and Williamson, GJ and Potts, BM
Keywords: Gene flow Biological invasion Genetic pollution Genetic contamination Pollen dispersal Introgression Off-site impacts Forest management Plantation forestry
Journal or Publication Title: Forest Ecology and Management
ISSN: 0378-1127
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.08.049
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