BT23076Impact of Phytophthora dieback on a key heathland species Xanthorrhoea australis (Asphodelaceae) (austral grasstree) and floristic composition in the eastern Otways, Victoria
The plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi causes severe declines in Australian native vegetation. The iconic Australian grasstrees, which provide prime habitat for many vertebrates and invertebrates, are highly susceptible to the pathogen. This study found significant declines in susceptible species following infestation, particularly the austral grasstree, which had 50% less cover. These results have severe implications for heathy woodland communities and reliant fauna. Limiting the spread of P. cinnamomi and protecting grasstrees is critical for their security. Photograph by B. Wilson.