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Myrtle Rust Rescue Project first Ex-Situ planting

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Volunteer group Earth Learning Australia's primary project at the moment is the Myrtle Rust Rescue Project, started on Nov 19, 2019.

Myrtle Rust is a disease that is attacking dozens of Myrtaceae species in the wild – Llllypillys, Rhodamnias, Rose myrtles, Paperbarks and many more.

Few of us realize just how much damage it has already done to our native forest ecosystems.

Three species which were once common in the Tweed are now on the brink of extinction and many more look set to follow.

Photos: Conservation property at Farrents Hill in the Tweed Valley, NSW, and Landcare Australia image showing Myrtle Rust affected native species.

Earth Learning has been collecting a selection of affected species and propagating them under license as part of a NSW state government Saving Our Species initiative.

The plants are direct clones of parents in the wild. The idea is to preserve a genetic representation of these iconic species, with some having a very restricted range, and which are barely hanging on in the wild.

The first Myrtle Rust Rescue Ex-Situ Planting​ happened on Saturday Oct 23, 2021, at a private property on Farrants Hill, in the Tweed Valley.

Attended by 15 volunteers assisting with the first planting out of cloned specimans, volunteers learned more about how the Myrtle Rescue program is attempting to preserve the biodiversity of Myrtaceae species that are the backbone of so many forest ecosystems in the Tweed. This was followed by a short property tour & info session at morning tea.

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