What are we doing?
Future research into the long-term, broader landscape process that might be causing dieback is being discussed within the ACT Government. Research can provide a greater understanding surrounding:
- the impact of different ‘times since fire’ on the intensity of dieback in Blakely’s Red Gum
- the interaction between Noisy Miners, psyllids, loss of understorey vegetation and loss of small woodland birds
- the effect of climate change and drought events on Blakely’s Red Gum and associated ecological community
- soil condition and its correlation with Blakely’s Red Gum health
- how conditions are changing spatially and temporally, and how they are affected by different treatments, through the establishment of long-term monitoring sites of Blakely’s Red Gum
- genetic and greenhouse trials of local provenance and provenance from other regions
- which other species may be affected by dieback now and into the future.
Blakely's Red Gum dieback research project
The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) engaged researchers Dr Alie Cowood and Dr Jasmyn Lynch at the University of Canberra to undertake a project to better understand the causes of red gum dieback in the ACT.
A map to demonstrate the extent and severity of Blakely’s Red Gum Dieback can be found here (indicative only, ground verification in progress)
A spatial and temporal analysis of the distribution and health of Blakely’s Red Gum has been proposed as a means to determine the rate and extent of dieback across the ACT over time. This information can demonstrate any trends or patterns that might be occurring. The following tools, maps and data can be used to assess defoliation and tree mortality, and determine the ideal location for Blakely’s Red Gum based on environmental and climate conditions:
- vegetation mapping
- soil and hydrology mapping
- climate/rainfall data
- satellite imagery
- aerial photography
- Landsat imagery
- LIDAR imagery
- digital terrain models
To help improve the health and persistence of Blakely’s Red Gum, some trials have been proposed:
- Effectiveness of short-term uses of stem injections of pesticides to control pysllids in high value trees such as : street trees; isolated paddock trees; and trees that provide connectivity stepping stones in nature reserves (noting negative impacts of pesticide stem injections on beneficial insects/pollinators).
- The effects of time since fire on dieback intensity.
- Thinning of Blakely’s Red Gum regrowth to reduce competition between seedlings and make space for larger trees to grow.
- Provenance trials of seeds from Blakely’s Red Gum trees that appear to be more resilient to dieback in this region and provenance trials of seeds from Blakely’s Red Gum that occur in warmer drier regions that represent the possible future climate of the ACT.
- Planting trials of other more resilient species, including other species in the Red Gum—Yellow Box community, that can be planted as a replacement for Blakely’s Red Gum and thus replace the structural and functional roles of this species in the ecosystem.
- Inoculation of Blakely’s Red Gum seed with mycorrhizal fungi.