Public can collect to protect precious tuarts

June 1, 2011

Picture courtesy of the City of Mandurah

Members of the public can do their bit for forest research by joining volunteer groups, school children and Murdoch University researchers in collecting tuart tree seeds in Yalgorup National Park, near Mandurah on Tuesday, June 7.

The collected seeds will be stored for restoration activities and other research purposes with the aim of preserving the tuarts – a tree which is in decline in the Yalgorup region.

Dr Katinka Ruthrof from the Murdoch University-based Centre of Excellence for Climate Change and Forest and Woodland Health said it was imperative that the seeds were collected.

“A good seed store has been recorded this year and we need to take advantage of that because these trees only produce seeds intermittently,” she said.

“Given that there has been a recent decline in the trees in the Yalgorup region, it is important that we collect as many as we can now in case there is a further deterioration of this population.

“We can then go on to either plant seedlings raised from the seed, or use the seed in broadcast seeding trials.

“Unfortunately, the population structure in some areas is unsustainable and so it’s vital that we act now.”

Tuart trees store their seed in fruit held in their canopy for a number of years, therefore fruit containing seed may be found in some trees throughout the year.

Volunteers will be asked to collect the particularly ripe fruit from a selected section of tuart woodland. This fruit will then be dried, the seed removed and then stored at an appropriate temperature to maximise its shelf life.

The collection on June 7 is the third to have happened this year and volunteer groups including Men of the Trees, the Bush Cadets from Mandurah Senior College and the Friends of Island Point will also be volunteering their time. The City of Mandurah and Murdoch University will be providing a morning tea for the volunteers.

Murdoch University is partners in the project with the Department of Environment and Conservation, the City of Mandurah, the Friends of Island Point and the Forest Products Commission.

The three hour seed collection session will begin at 9am and volunteers are advised to email Dr Ruthrof for more details.

The Centre of Excellence for Climate Change and Forest and Woodland Health is comprised of three research partners – Murdoch University, the University of Western Australia and DEC, 27 collaborating industry partners and seven collaborating institutions from Australia, USA, Canada, South Africa, Italy and China.

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