The developing lesions may cause a deformation of the leaves and shoots, and twig dieback if the infection is severe. Myrtle rust is likely to be carried by wind to New Zealand from Australia, New Caledonia or Raoul Island.
In January 2019, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) found myrtle rust produced a teleutospore stage in New Zealand. Sexual reproduction introduces genetic variability, increasing the risk to New Zealand, as it allows fungi to adapt to new environments and possibly affect new hosts.
New Zealand already has stringent bio security measures to protect against myrtle rust introduction, including a complete ban on imports of cut flowers and foliage from myrtle species in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. There are strict bio security procedures for DOC staff travelling between Raoul Island and the New Zealand mainland to prevent any people-assisted spread.
DOC has put immediate restrictions on beehive movements on specific areas of conservation land in a bid to contain the spread of myrtle rust. The decision comes after research from Plant and Food indicates bees may be a vector for the spread of myrtle rust.
Areas with myrtle rust infection identified by Bio security NZ prior to 30 June 2019 are yellow, orange or red blocks. Purple to blue blocks are areas with myrtle plants confirmed by Bio security NZ prior to 30 June 2019.
Research is vital to help us understand the impact of myrtle rust on our myrtle plants This timeline tracks its spread across the country, and efforts to manage the disease and safeguard New Zealand’s myrtles.
This website was developed from a partnership between Bio security New Zealand (a business unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries) and the Department of Conservation to host a one-stop shop of information about myrtle rust in New Zealand. Myrtle rust is a serious fungal disease that affects plants in the myrtle family.
A number of organizations are involved in safeguarding the Maori of myrtle species and dependent ecosystems including the Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated and Project Crimson. Myrtle rust (Puccini side) is a fungal disease which infects plants in the Myrtaceae family.
Common Australian Myrtaceae species include eucalyptus, willow myrtle, turpentine, bottle brush, paperbark, tea tree and Lilly Billy. Since myrtle rust was first detected in NSW in April 2010 it has spread across the eastern Australian landscape in bushland reserves, home gardens, commercial operations and amenity settings such as parks and street plantings.
Myrtle rust can now be found in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and on the Kiwi Islands in the Northern Territory. Myrtle rust is a fungal disease which attacks soft, actively growing leaves, shoot tips and young stems.
In severe infections, spots enlarge and merge, often causing leaf distortion. Plants with dark purple leaves such as willow myrtle 'After dark' (Agonist plexus CV 'After dark') do not display obvious symptoms of early infection.
Disease becomes apparent once the bright yellow pustules form on both surfaces of the infected leaf. On turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), initial symptoms appear as small purple flecks on young leaves then yellow pustules form on the lower surface.
Myrtle rust spores can also spread over long distances if carried on infected plant material, contaminated equipment, vehicles and clothing. Continued infection of new seedlings and young trees over time may hinder the regeneration of susceptible species in natural forests.
Genetic diversity in highly susceptible species could be greatly reduced and the structure and function of certain ecosystems could be adversely affected in the long term. Myrtle rust can lead to seedling death and increases costs of managing disease outbreaks.
The movement of Myrtaceae plant material is regulated in some states and trade can be impacted. At the time of writing Tasmania, Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia have quarantine restrictions in place for the importation of products of the Myrtaceae family from states known to have myrtle rust.
Myrtle rust is widespread along the east coast of Australia from southern New South Wales to far north Queensland. Myrtle rust is unlikely to establish in arid regions as dry conditions do not support disease growth and spread.
Myrtle rust threatens trees and shrubs in the Myrtaceae family of plants which includes Australian natives like bottle brush (Callisto SPP. The disease can cause deformed leaves, heavy defoliation of branches, reduced fertility, dieback, stunted growth, and plant death.
Myrtle rust spores can be spread easily via contaminated clothing, hair, skin and personal items, infected plant material, equipment as well as by insect/animal movement and wind dispersal. A fungicide spray program can effectively reduce the levels of myrtle rust infection in plant nurseries and home gardens.
However, this is not feasible for natural bushland settings where it is critical to minimize the risk of its introduction or spread on items such as clothing, equipment, vehicles, machinery or plant material. It is established along the east coast of Australia from southern NSW to far north Queensland with impacts recorded across a range of ecosystems.
In December 2010, the heads of Australian Government and state agencies responsible for bio security took the decision, based on expert technical advice, that it was not technically feasible to eradicate myrtle rust from Australia. The Australian Government funded a program to enable the transition from eradication to management of myrtle rust as it became naturalized across Australia. In 2014-2015, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee considered a public nomination to list ‘exotic rust fungi of the order Puccini ales that are pathogenic on plants of the family Myrtaceae’ as a Key Threatening Process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
On 12 December 2012 the Department held a national workshop in Canberra to facilitate communication and collaboration on management actions and research into myrtle rust in natural ecosystems. In December 2014, the Department hosted a national teleconference of expert researchers, state and territory government representatives and non-government organizations to share information about the distribution of myrtle rust and its impact on species and communities; and identify critical management and research actions to manage the impact of myrtle rust in our natural ecosystems.
The Australian Government's Chief Environmental Bio security Officer, Ian Thompson, said myrtle rust is one of the most significant native plant diseases to enter Australia. “This research has highlighted the existing and potential impact of myrtle rust on many native species and underlines the importance of working to prevent new diseases entering and establishing in Australia,” Mr Thompson said.
According to the study's lead scientist Associate Professor Rod Fen sham from The University of Queensland the disease, myrtle rust, arrived in Australia in 2010 and poses a major threat to the survival of dozens of Australian plant species. “ Myrtle rust is a highly contagious and deadly plant disease,” said Dr. Fen sham, “It produces trillions of microscopic spores which are carried by the wind allowing it to quickly reach new areas.
“This shrubby tree was once common in subtropical rainforests stretching over one thousand kilometers along the east coast of Australia from to Gym pie to Newcastle, where it provided important habitat for many other species. “To prevent extinctions we are working with nurseries and gardens to establish rescue populations away from myrtle rust affected areas.
Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The fungus spread rapidly along the east coast and can now be found infecting vegetation in a range of native forest ecosystems with disease impacts ranging from minor leaf spots to severe shoot and stem blight and tree dieback.
Psidii was observed for the first time in a wet chlorophyll site with a rainforest understory, dominated by species of Myrtaceae, in Tallebudgera Valley, south-east Queensland, Australia. Here we provide quantitative and qualitative evidence on the significant impact A.
Psidii has in native ecosystems, on a broader range of species than previously reported. Archirhodomyrtus Becker, Decaspermum humble, Gossip hill ii and Romania maddening are in serious decline, with significant increases in tree mortality over the period of our study.
This research further highlights the potential of this invasive pathogen to negatively impact native ecosystems and biodiversity. Citation: Egg G, Taylor T, Entitle P, Summer G, Goblin F, Carnegie A (2017) Impact of Austropuccinia side (myrtle rust) on Myrtaceae-rich wet chlorophyll forests in south-east Queensland.
Editor: Sabrina Sirocco, University deli Studio DI Pisa, ITALY This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: Financial support was provided by the Plant Bio security Cooperative Research Center CRC2063 (www.pbcrc.com.au). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Austropuccinia side (formerly Puccini side) (myrtle rust) is a serious pathogen whose rapid global spread impacts commercially and ecologically important species of Myrtaceae . It was first reported from Brazil in 1884 infecting Sodium guava and now occurs in numerous South and Central American countries , as well as USA (Hawaii, Florida, California) , Australia , New Caledonia , South Africa , Indonesia Singapore and most recently New Zealand (www.mpi.govt.nz : Accessed 5 September 2017).
Austropuccinia side was detected in Australia in April 2010 on the central coast of New South Wales (NSW) . Many naïve species of Myrtaceae in Australia are susceptible hosts such as eucalypti (Eucalyptus, Columbia), paperbark and bottle brush (Metallica), tea tree (Leptospermum) and Lilly Billy (Alcmena, Syzygium).
Myrtaceae is the dominant iconic and ecologically important plant species in Australia , with approximately 2,250 native species within 88 genera, representing more than half of the global number of Myrtaceae . Species of Myrtaceae are present in 11 out of the 13 major vegetation formations in Australia .
Psidii spread rapidly along the east coast of Australia, from southern NSW, as far north as Damage at the tip of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland . It is not reported to have established in native ecosystems in Victoria despite being detected in nurseries and gardens in 2011 (D. Smith Per's.
Psidii was detected in Tasmania (http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au) and the Northern Territory . Austropuccinia side is now identified from a range of native forest ecosystems in Australia including coastal heath, coastal and river wetlands, sand island ecosystems, and littoral, montane, subtropical and tropical rainforests .
Its host range exceeds 350 species from 58 genera in Australia alone . Psidii range from minor leaf spots to severe foliage and stem blight, as well as infection of flowers and fruit of some species.
An area of subtropical wet chlorophyll forest with rainforest understory dominated by Myrtaceae was identified on private property (Ryan's Road) in the Tallebudgera Valley, south-east Queensland, Australia (28°12´7.28’S, 153°21´0.66E, Altitude 80 m ASL). The site has a history of forest logging activities and clearing for cattle grazing, but has since been allowed to regenerate naturally.
Psidii on Rhodomyrtus psidioides and Romania pubescent in 2014 and was revisited in 2016 to examine the progression of decline on these species. At this time, significant levels of infection and related decline were identified on a range of other Myrtaceae.
Psidii on the range of different Myrtaceae species within the site, four 50 m long x 2 m wide line transects were assessed. The start and finish of each transect was marked and GPS co-ordinates recorded.
Trees one meter each side of the center line were marked with flagging tape and individually numbered. Samples and photos of Myrtaceae and non-Myrtaceae were taken to confirm species identification.
Austropuccinia side disease impact on individual trees was assessed as: Crown transparency score as an indicator of overall tree health and to enable monitoring of change over time for mid and over-story species only.
Disease incidence and severity levels were also assessed as described previously , but due to inconsistent levels of growth flush between species the data was not included in this study. The number of dead Myrtaceae within our study transects was also recorded and then recounted again 12 months later (August 2017) to determine rates of decline for individual species.
To determine if the level of disease and associated dieback was unique to the Ryan's Road site or more widespread, other plant communities in the area were examined for presence of myrtle rust related dieback. A range of other Myrtaceae species, in addition to those occurring within the transect plots, were identified and assessed for A.
Psidii impact at the Ryan's Road site in 2014 , although data for R. In 2016, as part of this current study, the same trees were re-assessed to determine rates of decline.
Impact data for Romania maddening that was also collected from five sites across northern NSW (Fig 1) but not previously published, also is reported. At the Ryan's Road site, photographic evidence of decline was also captured enabling comparison of trees from 2014 to 2016.
Photos of other Myrtaceae (Alcmena smith ii, Decaspermum humble, Syzygium corynanthum) taken in 2014 were re-taken in 2016 as a visual comparison of decline caused by A. Data from the four transects at Ryan's Road were pooled for analysis, with individual trees of each species considered as replicates for between-species comparisons.
All proportion data were Arc sine square root transformed prior to analysis using one-way ANOVA and compared using Fishers PLD post how test (Stat view ®). Other sites accessed including public reserves and state owned conservation areas were covered within current permits.
Samples of plant material for identification were done as per Queensland Her barium permit requirements. The vegetation in the mid- and under-story was dominated by Myrtaceae (75%) with an over-story consisting primarily of Eucalyptus grands and Lophostemon suaveolans (Fig 2).
Composition of Myrtaceae and non-Myrtaceae (n = total number of trees/shrubs) within the different forest layers in a subtropical rainforest/wet chlorophyll ecosystems at Site 1, Ryan's Road, Tallebudgera Valley, Queensland. However, 78% of the under-story was established tree ferns (Cynthia leichhardtiana, Cyatheaceae), which are suited to growing in heavily shaded environments.
The other most common seedling and sapling species present in all plots was Neolithic debate (Laureate), a common species in wet chlorophyll and rain forest ecosystems, favored by disturbance. Weed species identified as emerging seedlings included Ochoa errata (Ochoa) (Echinacea) and Cinnamon amphora (Camphor laurel) (Laureate).
Decaspermum humble, Archirhodomyrtus Becker and Gossip hill ii were species of Myrtaceae that dominated the mid- and under-story. Alcmena smith ii was also locally common, particularly in the open forest edges, as was Romania pubescent and Rhodomyrtus psidioides.
Alcmena smith ii (n = 65) was the most common species regenerating at Ryan's Road, making up 66% of all the Myrtaceae seedlings and small saplings assessed (Fig 3) and showing significantly lower levels of A. Psidii related branch death (F 4,94 = 5.637; P = 0.0004) and dieback (F 4,94 = 120.44; P<0.0001) (Table 2).
Smithii assessed, 72% were regenerating seedlings or saplings with significantly lower branch death (F 2,87 = 6.15; P = 0.03) levels in comparison to more mature trees in the under- (P = 0.02) and mid-story (P = 0.004). Composition of regenerating (n = 99), understory (n = 101) and mid-story (n = 93) Myrtaceae in 2016 within a subtropical rainforest/wet chlorophyll forest at Ryan's Road, Tallebudgera Valley, Queensland.
Impact of Austropuccinia side infection on the main species making up the three vegetation-story components of the wet chlorophyll/rainforest ecosystem at Ryan's Road, Tallebudgera Valley, Queensland. The composition within the forest canopy is presented for each species including Regeneration, Under-story and Mid-story.
Impact levels are based on the mean percentage of dead branches, the mean percentage of remaining branches with evidence of dieback as a result of infection by A. Mean crown transparency is used as an indicator of tree health.
The same letters within columns indicate that means do not differ significantly when comparing species (Capital letters = Regeneration; Capital Bold = Under-story; Lower case = Mid-story) (S1 Table). The same numbers within columns indicate that means do not differ significantly when comparing disease impact levels within species at the different canopy positions (S1 Table).
Decaspermum humble made up 6% of the regenerating Myrtaceae, and although some of those seedlings had only low levels of decline with no branch death, an average one-third of branches had dieback symptoms. Species composition in the under-story of the wet chlorophyll/rainforest plots at Ryan's Road were made up of seven different Myrtaceae (Fig 3).
Oleosum (n = 1) that occupied this vegetation layer within the study transects. Due to the low numbers of individuals present, assessment of both P.
Impact of Austropuccinia side based on a single assessment conducted in 2014of Romania maddening trees across six sites in NSW and Queensland. Significant differences in levels of branch dieback were identified (F 4,79 = 57.409; P<0.0001).
Alcmena smith ii had significantly lower levels of branch dieback than all other species identified in the forest under-story (P<0.0001) (Table 3). Oleosum tree, although infection was identified on foliage and evidence of shoot dieback recorded.
Archirhodomyrtus Becker (n = 39) was the most common species in the mid-story making up 41% of all the Myrtaceae identified (Fig 3). Hodgkinsoniae had evidence of dieback on all branches with significant foliage loss and infection occurring on all new growth flush (Fig 4).
Tree dieback and increased canopy transparency as a result of repeated infection by Austropuccinia side on species of Myrtaceae (a) Decaspermum humble ; (b) Syzygium corynanthum ; (c) Archirhodomyrtus Becker ; (d) Syzygium hodgkinsoniae ; (e) Gossip hill ii. Using crown transparency as an indicator of health, significant differences were identified (F 3,82 = 23.213; P<0.0001) (Table 2).
Alcmena smith ii had the lowest levels of crown transparency indicating healthier trees, significantly lower than A. Decaspermum humble had the highest transparency levels, indicating poor tree health, significantly higher than A.
Branch death (F 3,82 = 16.226; P<0.0001) and dieback (F 3,64 = 34.37; P<0.0001) levels also differed significantly between species. Beckleri in the mid-story trees was relatively low and not significantly different to A.
Epidermic shoot regeneration, an indicator of stress, was found on the main trunk and base of G. Beckleri trees showing A. side related dieback.
Symptoms of Austropuccinia side infection of epidermic/reshooting young foliage of (a) Romania maddening, (b) Syzygium corynanthum, (c) Syzygium hodgkinsoniae, (d) Gossip hill ii, (e) Decaspermum humble and (f) Archirhodomyrtus Becker. Psidii infection or related dieback was observed on the over-story species E.
Assessments of species decline from 2016 to 2017 show a dramatic increase in tree mortality levels. Tree deaths from 2016 to 2017 (12 months) increased three-fold for Archirhodomyrtus Becker (13% to 44%) and more than doubled for Decaspermum humble (36% to 73%) and Gossip hill ii (18% to 38%).
Two additional sites within the Tallebudgera Valley, Tallebudgera Creek Road and Putsch Creek Road, were examined to determine if the impact levels of A. Psidii identified at our primary study site (Ryan's Road) were representative of impact on a larger scale in subtropical rainforest/wet chlorophyll environments.
At the Tallebudgera Creek Road site over-story species were primarily E. Tristaniopsis Laurine was found on the margins of the forest but were not assessed.
At both sites, considerable levels of decline in the under- and mid-story were identified with particularly severe impact on A. Syzygium oleo sum was scattered within the site, with four trees having some level of A.
Psidioides trees were also identified, with no evidence of coppice or seedling regeneration observed. Hodgkinsoniae trees were assessed outside the established study plots.
All juvenile (saplings) trees had very high incidence (90–100%) of rust infection on new shoots and expanding foliage. Dieback on all branches is likely to have been caused by past infection episodes (Figs 4 and 5) with symptoms typical of A.
Corynanthum trees were present in an open area adjacent to the study plots. The remaining individuals were over-story trees on the forest edge along the ridge that leads to a creek where they are more established and evidence of historical site disturbance is less obvious.
The trees on the forest edge all had some evidence of infection occurring on branch tips. A comparison of photographs taken in 2014 and 2016 indicate a decline in the health of the Myrtaceae at Ryan's Road site.
Photographs taken in 2014 (Fig 6) show some evidence of disease impact on D. Smithii trees at the site, it was found that there was considerable variability in susceptibility to A.
Progression of decline from 2014 (top) to 2016 (bottom) on Alcmena smith ii, Decaspermum humble and Syzygium corynanthum caused by repeated Austropuccinia side infection. (2016), surveys included assessments of Romania maddening but data was not published.
In 2014, the average transparency score, an indicator of crown loss and dieback, for twenty R. Maideniana trees at the Ryan's Road site was 68.75 ±3.55, increasing to 91.34 ±1.51 in 2016 (Table 3).
Psidii infection in comparison to 29.8% of trees assessed as being dead in 2016 (Fig 7). Psidii infection and impact levels at selected areas across the native range in north-east NSW–south-east Queensland in 2014 (Table 3), disease incidence levels were similar apart from Hogans Scrub, where disease incidence was significantly lower (F 5,76 = 12.65; P<0.0001) than other sites assessed.
Decline in tree health over time as a result of repeated Austropuccinia side infection on Romania pubescent (a 2014; b 2016), Romania maddening (c 2014, d 2016) and Rhodomyrtus psidioides (e 2014, f 2016). In 2014 96.7% of Rhodomyrtus psidioides trees assessed at Ryan's Road were dead, increasing to 100% in 2016.
No evidence of root sucker regeneration or seedling germination was found at spots where R. Rhodomyrtus psidioides at Ryan's Road has been replaced by other species including the noxious weeds' Santana (Santana camera) and wild tobacco (Solarium Mauritian) (Fig 7).
However, decline in tree health was observed with foliage loss occurring primarily from the lower branches (Fig 7). Archirhodomyrtus Becker, Decaspermum humble, Gossip hill ii and Romania maddening were the most common mid- and under-story species of Myrtaceae.
Psidii with branch death and dieback recorded on all trees, with significant increases in mortality for A. It is likely that in the very near future these species will become extinct from this location (extirpation) with no evidence of resistance identified in established populations during this study, nor evidence of resistant seedling recruitment.
Tree deaths in the twelve months since the plots were first established have more than doubled for A. This will be a rapid change in the plant community structure, given that the disease was only detected in the region five years prior to our assessment .
The presence of plant species favored by disturbance (e.g. Neolithic debate http://keys.trin.org.au/key) is further evidence of the impact A. Psidii at a plant community level in Australia and within a wet chlorophyll ecosystem with a rainforest under-story dominated by Myrtaceae.
In Queensland, wet chlorophyll forests are mostly found in the south-east but also occur as narrow colones bordering the western edge of rainforests in the wet tropics . These ecosystems are unique to Australia and the understory may be comprised of rainforest plants or be grassy with a sparse shrub layer or a combination of both.
Species composition may vary depending on climate, topography, soil type and previous land management practices. In the absence of fire or other disturbances, many wet chlorophyll sites will transition to rainforest with a dense understory that reduces light levels, preventing further recruitment of eucalypti species .
Psidii has been demonstrated previously , but here we report decline and death of a broader range of Myrtaceae (viz. Psidii at our study site, with levels of impact significantly lower than recorded for other species.
Smithii is now the dominant regenerating species based on seedlings present. Psidii is having on a broader scale, at least where species composition and stage of transition of the plant community is similar.
However, further surveys are required to determine if this type of impact is restricted to the Tallebudgera Valley or if it extends into other areas of similar climate in the local region or other subtropical ecosystems in Queensland and New South Wales. It is also unknown if the same level of impact can be identified in more established rainforest ecosystems in the region.
Psidii on more established rainforest trees within the site would suggest that this is quite likely, but that the rate of decline may be slower. Psidii is enough to prevent our study site from transitioning to a rainforest ecosystem.
Studies in other ecosystems, however, have shown that a reduction in biodiversity increases ecosystem vulnerability to invasive plant species and also enhances the spread of plant fungal diseases . There is also likely to be an additional impact on richness and structure of insect communities .
Mammals dependent on these insect populations and those that may have relied on the rich variety of food source provided by the diverse Myrtaceae flowers and fruit will be affected. Conversely, a loss of highly susceptible species may see a reduction in disease pressure through lower A.
Psidii innocuous levels resulting in reduced disease incidence and severity on less susceptible species. However, the influence of different climatic conditions on disease incidence and severity may prevent the level of damage seen at this site from occurring at other locations.
Archirhodomyrtus Becker has a disjunct distribution with a population in the south occurring from Williams River in New South Wales to Kin in south-east Queensland , and the northern population extending from Angela to Mt Lewis in far north of Queensland. The species grows in rainforests on a variety of sites and can also grow as an edge species or as an understory tree in wet chlorophyll forest dominated by Eucalyptus grands as we have seen at our study sites.
A more extensive assessment across the populations would be required to not only determine impact but also identify any possible resistance. Gossip hill ii occurs from north-east Queensland extending south to north-eastern New South Wales and grows as an understory tree in well-developed upland and mountain rain forests.
Psidii , our study is the first report on the impact myrtle rust is having on this species in native ecosystems, although anecdotal reports of decline have been made from seed collectors in regions around the Sunshine Coast (http://www.seedpartnership.org.au/partners/qld-bbg/southernpenda). The rate of decline and lack of evidence of regeneration at our study site would suggest that G.
Decaspermum humble has a wide distribution with a disjunct northern and southern population, occurring from Cape York Peninsula to Townsville in the north, and Bundaberg in Queensland to Wrong in New South Wales in the south (http://www.ala.org.au). Decaspermum humble grows in well-developed rain forests on a variety of sites ranging in altitude from near sea level to 1000 m. There is conjecture that the northern population may be considered a separate species (peers.
considered the northern form to be different, rating it as being Relatively Tolerant to A. Psidii in comparison to the southern form, which rated as Extremely Susceptible.
Corynanthum, is significant and has not been reported previously, with ratings of exist plantings indicating the species was Relatively Tolerant to A. Syzygium hodgkinsoniae, a rare subtropical rainforest tree, grows on alluvial soils by streams in north-east New South Wales and south-east Queensland, Australia.
While dieback was present on the mature trees assessed, it was generally restricted to the branch tips. Hodgkinsoniae closer to extinction but more extensive assessments across its range are required.
It is considered a rare or threatened Australian plant (Rota), although its official listing is The Least Concern (http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Rhodamnia~maideniana). Rates of tree death have increased rapidly in the Based on evidence collected from our study, and previous observations , we would suggest that the species is likely to be in rapid decline and conservation strategies be implemented while living specimens can still be found.
The rate of decline and change that has occurred at our study site is of great concern. More extensive assessments, both at a species and plant community level, are required to determine if the impact we have seen is representative of these species and plant communities more generally.
Monitoring these communities over a greater time period will also provide a better understanding of the long term impact of A. Psidii and consequences of changes at the plant community and ecosystem level.
Surveys across other populations and other sites need to be conducted to identify areas at risk and also assess for the potential to select for resistance. This will also provide information for determining any future conservation status for species affected.
More information is required from a range of sites to enable more accurate modelling of short and long-term impacts and for determining sites at greatest risk of significant change to plant community structures. We would like to thank Doug and Lydia Cook for kindly allowing access to their property so that we could complete this study, Kristopher Kusch for helping provide data from sites in NSW and Dr Helen Nah rung for reviewing the manuscript.
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