Concern grows for endangered plant species
CONCERN continues to grow for the endangered Boronia plant species, with immediate action being taken by Stanthorpe Rare Wildflower Consortium to ensure its survival.
Stanthorpe Rare Wildflower Consortium secretary Liz Bourne was left devastated after the Boronia repanda species was burnt out from the bushfires in September.
"We received some funding last year to conduct a survey on two of our endangered Boronia's."
Ms Bourne said their organisation knew there was a handful of the endangered specie present in the Broadwater Forest, an area that was tragically hit by bushfires.
"There really wasn't many plants. What plants that were there were highly scattered.
"We are very interested to see whether it will recover because prior to the fire it would have been suffering from severe drought stress."
Ms Bourne said her initial return to the forest failed to show any signs of regeneration.
"I've been back four times since then. Since we have had rain I am hoping things improve."
To Ms Bourne's surprise, her recent visit to the Broadwater Forest came up with some success.
"On the edge of the forest near Granite Belt Brewery and a private property the Boronia's located there had begun to resprout.
"It shows an incredible ability to recover."
With this knowledge in mind, Ms Bourne said her next task will be to find out if the Boronia's located deeper within the Broadwater Forest have any chance at regeneration.
"Now it is our job to see if those Boronia's that got burnt from the fire can recover."
Ms Bourne said that time consuming process will begin with a thorough search through the Broadwater Forest.
"We now know what they look like. There is so little known about the ecology of this plant.
"We are probably the first people to see that it is resprouting.
"They can either germinate from seed which tends to happen post fire. Not every Boronia does that, but this particular species will do that," she said.
Ms Bourne said the signs are looking positive, wanting to see the regeneration of the plant throughout Broadwater Forest.
"They should be capable for recovering from fire, but they are very susceptible to drought.
"I just hope the combination of the prolonged drought and then the fire hasn't done long term and lasting damage to them."
She said the effects of both the drought and bushfire isn't the only factor effecting the Boronia.
"We recently discovered that a tiny moth called the diurnal moth is the pollinator for this Boronia.
"The problem with that is that we haven't been able to locate any of these moths since the bushfires.
"If they were present in the forest when the bushfires hit there is a chance they could have burnt."
Ms Bourne said a researcher plans to visit the Granite Belt next week, in search for the moth species.
"He is coming up to see if there is any flowers, but more particularly if there is any moths.
"He has already made two trips to the Granite Belt without any success.
"Even if the plant regenerates it won't survive without a pollinator.
Ms Bourne said insects are critical for the survival of many of the plant species.
"There has been a lot of stories in the media over the last couple of months about how affected our wildlife has been by these bushfires. We haven't even begun to talk about insects.
"It is very concerning," she said.