Photo credit: Pemberton, Frances Andrijich

Speakers

Geoff Perkins Headshot

Dr geoff pegg

Aj Perkins Headshot

Aj Perkins

Dr Geoff Pegg and Aj Perkins – Keynote

Cultural Wisdom protecting forests and Country – Partnerships to protect country from forest biosecurity threats.

Dr Geoff Pegg is a Senior Principal Forest Pathologist and Team Leader Forest Production and Protection with the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Queensland. Prior to this, Dr Pegg worked as a Biosecurity officer with Australian Quarantine. Dr Pegg has more than 24 years’ experience as a forest pathologist working on a range of diseases impacting commercial forest species. For the last 14 years, following the arrival of Austropuccinia psidii (Myrtle rust), Dr Pegg has focussed his research towards the environmental space, studying the impacts of Myrtle rust on native Myrtaceae and associated ecosystems. Dr Pegg has been working in partnership with Indigenous groups to develop and deliver projects to address exotic pests that threaten the cultural and environmental biodiversity values unique to Australia. This includes Myrtle rust and the more recent decline of Bunya pines in the Bunya Mountains National Park.

BIO – Aj Perkins – Perkins is a Project Officer, Aboriginal Community Engagement within Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) NSW.

Mr Perkins is a Gumbaynggirr man with strong connections to Aboriginal communities throughout northern NSW. Mr Perkins is part of the Ecosystems and Threatened Species unit of North-East Branch, DCCEEW. This team has carriage of the recovery program for threatened species in NSW under the Saving our Species program, working on a range of threatened flora and ecological communities including ones affected by myrtle rust and other plant pests and pathogens.

BIO – Dr Geoff Pegg – Senior Principal Forest Pathologist and Team Leader Forest Production and Protection with the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Queensland.

Dr Geoff Pegg is a Senior Principal Forest Pathologist and Team Leader Forest Production and Protection with the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Queensland. Prior to this, Dr Pegg worked as a Biosecurity officer with Australian Quarantine. Dr Pegg has more than 24 years’ experience as a forest pathologist working on a range of diseases impacting commercial forest species. For the last 14 years, following the arrival of Austropuccinia psidii (Myrtle rust), Dr Pegg has focussed his research towards the environmental space, studying the impacts of Myrtle rust on native Myrtaceae and associated ecosystems. Dr Pegg has been working in partnership with Indigenous groups to develop and deliver projects to address exotic pests that threaten the cultural and environmental biodiversity values unique to Australia. This includes Myrtle rust and the more recent decline of Bunya pines in the Bunya Mountains National Park.

Melanie Davies Headshot

Melanie Davies

Urban Forest Program Facilitator, WA Local Government Association

Creating Resilient Urban Forests

We are at a critical junction for urban forests, with ongoing loss of canopy.  Trees are vital to mitigate the impacts of climate change in urban areas, providing multiple environmental, social and economic benefits.  WALGA has been leading advocacy work for over ten years to support Local Governments to retain and grow their urban forest.  This presentation will outline the policy and on-ground greening programs to support Local Governments to create resilient, connected, expanded and equitable urban forests.

BIO

Melanie is responsible for delivering policy and projects to support Local Governments to retain and increase their urban forest. The role involves working with multiple stakeholders to ensure urban greening projects support liveability, urban heat reduction, resilience, biodiversity and water management.  Melanie has over 20 years’ experience in sustainability and environmental management in Local Government, State Government and the private sector, both within Western Australia and Victoria. Melanie is passionate about urban greening and enjoys volunteering with bushcare groups and creating native verges. 

Dig 2024 Speakers 1

Tom Mansfield

Murdoch University

Long-term ecosystem decline under Phytophthora cinnamomi

This talk highlights research on long-term impacts of Phytophthora cinnamomi to keystone forest trees. Historically, P. cinnamomi killed many jarrah, but not marri, in high rainfall periods; however, dryer conditions have lessened jarrah deaths. We studied tree population demographics in >60-year-old P. cinnamomi infestations. Our findings suggest that jarrah and, unexpectedly, marri are experiencing failed seedling recruitment within infested forest. The suggested decline of keystone trees has implications for long-term resilience of infested ecosystems.

BIO

Tom has recently achieved his PhD at Murdoch University where he studied how plant death from Phytophthora cinnamomi can cause cascading impacts to fauna and fungi. Tom is particularly interested in the ecological impacts caused by invasive plant pathogens and ways to counteract them to preserve ecosystem function.

Barbara And Mark Head Shots

Barbara wilson and mark garkaklis

A Roadmap for National (APVMA) Registration of Phosphite for the Management of Phytophthora cinnamomi in Native Vegetation.

The National Registration of phosphite to allow for the management of Phytophthora dieback in native vegetation will remove an administrative burden to the states and improve the uptake of this management tool throughout Australia.  This presentation summarises the extent of the risks to Australia’s biodiversity from Phytophthora dieback, considers the barriers to use of phosphite in controlling the disease and presents a way forward for eventual national registration of phosphite. 

BIO – Mark Garkaklis, Hon. Professor, Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University
Mark is an ecologist with significant experience in biodiversity management, climate change adaptation, ecological research, environmental monitoring, data analysis, scientific publishing and in leading teams in the management of Australia’s terrestrial and marine environment. He has worked in Phytophthora dieback management since 2001 and has ongoing contribution to research, supervision in conservation sciences and Environmental Impact Assessment throughout Australia.

BIO – Barbara Wilson, Hon. Associate Professor, Deakin University
Barbara is an internationally recognised conservation scientist with 40 years of experience in management and fundamental research of Australia’s flora, fauna, and terrestrial ecosystems, including state and commonwealth environmental policy and biodiversity conservation legislation development, environmental planning and management.  Barbara has worked in Phytophthora dieback management in Victoria and Western Australia since the early 1990’s and she pioneered the aerial application of phosphite in the Otway Ranges.

Dig 2024 Speakers 2

Nigel Rowe

Nigel Rowe

Senior Environment Officer – Main Roads WA

Dieback Free Gravel

Research and studies into using Metham Sodium to eliminate Phytophthora from gravel have been undertaken for almost two decades.  Recently this work has ramped up to a commercial scale treating large quantities of gravel for use in road projects. This presentation summarises Main Roads’ approach to treating gravel with Metham Sodium and the management requirements of using this dieback free material on road projects.

BIO

Nigel began working as an Environment Officer with Main Roads in 2002. Initially his primary role was to manage the environmental approvals process for various road/bridge projects but he was always more interested in the revegetation works that were part of these projects. Nigel followed this interest and now specialises in the management of roadsides with regard to revegetation and vegetation management, including dieback.

Shannon Head Shot

Shannon hunter

Shannon Hunter

PhD Student, University of Auckland, Aotearoa – New Zealand

Phytophthora Communities Associated with Agathis australis (kauri) New Zealand and the Impact of Phosphite Treatments on Species Assemblages and Inoculum Abundance

This presentation will summarise two research papers from Shannon Hunters PhD project, one of which has been recently published and the other has been submitted to a journal. The Phytophthora community around kauri was explored using metabarcoding of environmental DNA (eDNA) and soil baiting in the context of kauri dieback disease expression and in response to a field phosphite-treatment.

BIO

Shannon Hunter is in the final stages of her PhD project (with the University of Auckland, New Zealand) and will be submitting her thesis in September 2024. Her PhD research has focused on the Phytophthora species assemblages in native kauri (Agathis australis) forests in the Northern regions of New Zealand. She is particularly interested in the effects of the treatment phosphite on the Phytophthora community and its impact on the inoculum abundance of the causal agent of kauri dieback (Phytophthora agathidicida).

Nick Headshot

Nick wilkins

Nicholas Wilkins

PhD candidate, Environmental Health, Flinders University. South Australia

A review of the current methods used to detect Phytophthora cinnamomi

In this presentation, Nicholas will discuss a flow chart I created for management to assess the sampling and processing of potential or infected P. cinnamomi sites. Reliable and time-efficient assessment of new or spreading infestations is vital for conservation efforts and to limit dieback. With plant species knowledge combined with the most effective sampling and processing techniques, the connection of management to fieldwork then lab work can improve the understanding of P. cinnamomi.

BIO

Nicholas is a PhD candidate in Environmental Health at Flinders University, his research is looking at the identification of symptomatic sites on Kangaroo Island to inform the government and landholders. His research has found that sites that were heavily burnt in a fire in 2019-20 are still positive for P. cinnamomi and that previously symptomatic sites are now identified as infected with P. cinnamomi, including a heavily used fire track. This means the movement of vehicles will be changed which will slow the spread of P. cinnamomi and management strategies will be advised.