A healthy natural environment is important for our plants, animals and communities. Phytophthora cinnamomi poses a significant threat to the Australian environment. This plant pathogen can spread easily, causing disease, death and potential extinction in susceptible plants, and loss of habitat for animals. The disease, Phytophthora dieback, is often difficult to detect and can cause permanent damage to ecosystems and landscapes before it is identified. Phytophthora cinnamomi can remain dormant for long periods during dry weather and is impossible in most situations to eradicate from infested areas, so it is critical to prevent further spread.
Any activity that moves soil, water or plant material can spread Phytophthora – this includes recreational activities such as bushwalking, off-road vehicle use and gardening, as well as other activities such as road building, land management, timber harvesting and mining. To minimise spread of the disease from one site to another, it is important to ensure that footwear, tools and vehicles are always clean on arrival and departure, to source pathogen-free material and plant stock and dispose of garden waste carefully.
Key threatening process
'Dieback caused by the root-rot fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi' is listed as a key threatening processes under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Since its listing, further research has determined that Phytophthora cinnamomi is a water mould and not a fungus.
Threat abatement plan
A threat abatement plan has been prepared to provide a national strategy to manage the impact of Phytophthora dieback on biodiversity.