It has been shown that gene flow (through pollen mediated hybridisation) is occurring from both Eucalyptus nitens and E. globulus plantations into neighbouring native eucalypt forest. The challenge now for the plantation industry is to accuaretly assess and manage the risk of exotic gene flow from plantations, to minimise the potential negative impacts on native forest, and to ensure the sustainability of the industry.
This project will focus on the risk of gene flow from either E. nitens on the island of Tasmania, or E. globulus plantations across southern Australia, into native eucalypt forests. The project aims to provide the basic biological information necessary to develop strategies for assessing and managing this risk. My project will investigate physical, temporal and taxonomic barriers to gene flow, as well as examining the relative fitness of locally exotic species and their hybrids and the potential ecosystem effects of hybrids within natural landscapes. It is hoped this approach will enable the identification of when, where, and how gene flow from exotic eucalypt plantations should be managed in southern Australia.
Authorised by the Head of School, Plant Science
17 April, 2012