Bailey's Symonanthus (Symonanthus bancroftii) Interim Recovery Plan 2006-2011
Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia
- Bailey's Symonanthus (Symonanthus bancroftii) Interim Recovery Plan 2006-2011 (PDF - 888 KB) | (Word - 155 KB)
Scientific Name: Symonanthus bancroftii
Common Name: Bailey's Symonanthus
Flowering Period: June – September
DEC Region: Wheatbelt
DEC District: Yilgarn
Shire: Bruce Rock
Recovery Team: Yilgarn District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (YDTFRT)
Illustrations and/or further information: Brown, A.P., Thomson-Dans C. and Marchant N. (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Buehrig, R. M. (1997). Symonanthus bancroftii Report. Durell, G. S. and Buehrig, R. M. (2001). Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Narrogin District; Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Haegi, L. (1982). Flora of Australia 29 13-16; Mueller, F. (1882). Syst. Census Austral. Symonanthus bancroftii.
Current status: Symonanthus bancroftii was declared as Rare Flora Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in October 1996 and is ranked as Critically Endangered (CR) in Western Australia against IUCN 2001 Red List criteria A1c and D based on a suspected population reduction of 90% over the last three generations due to a decline in area and quality of habitat and a population size of less than 50 mature individuals. The species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The species was known from two mature plants (one male and one female) approximately 500 metres apart. However, the female plant died in 2000 (Population 2). Currently the species is represented by the natural male plant (Population 1) and two translocations, with less than 100 mature individuals. Threats to the species include senescence, accidental destruction during firebreak, rail and road maintenance, herbicide spraying, drought and weed invasion.
Description: Symonanthus bancroftii is a low, many-stemmed herbaceous undershrub to 25 cm. It's stalkless egg-shaped to narrow, more or less spreading leaves are 5-17 mm long and up to 3 mm wide. They are hairy, somewhat warty and rolled over at the margins. Plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Flowers are white in colour, small, hairy and streaked with violet inside. The fruit is a nearly globular capsule, 3-4 mm long, 2.5-4 mm wide, with 3-5 seeds. Seeds are 2 mm long and 1 mm wide. An aroma of tobacco emanates from Charles Gardner's 75-year-old collection; however this has not been evident from freshly collected material.
Habitat requirements: The species is geographically restricted in two highly degraded areas, in the Shire of Bruce Rock. Due to habitat degradation, little is known about its habitat requirements. Mr. Rob Buehrig (former CALM Technical Officer) compiled a report in 1997 which hypothesized that the species may have been more common in areas of prime agricultural soil and that extensive clearing in the Bruce Rock area may have taken most of its habitat.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Habitat critical to the survival of the species includes the area of occupancy of important populations; areas of similar habitat surrounding important populations provide potential habitat for natural range extension and are necessary to provide habitat for pollinators; the local catchment of the surface and possibly ground waters that maintain the habitat of the species; and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain the species or be suitable sites for future translocations.
This species is listed as Critically Endangered and all known habitat for wild and translocated populations is considered habitat critical to the survival of the species.
Benefits to other species/ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Symonanthus bancroftii will also improve the status of remnant vegetation in which it is located.
International obligations: This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity that was ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia's responsibilities under that Convention. The species is not listed under the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In addition, it is not listed under any other specific international treaty and this plan does not affect Australia's obligations under these international agreements.
Role and interests of indigenous people: According to the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register, no sites of Aboriginal significance are known at or near populations of Symonanthus bancroftii. However, the involvement of the indigenous community will continue to be sought to determine whether there are any issues or interests identified in the plan. If no role is identified for indigenous communities in the recovery of this species, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation and awareness of the species.
Continued liaison between DEC and the indigenous community will identify areas in which collaboration will assist implementation of recovery actions
Social and economic impacts: The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impacts as all known populations occur on crown reserves. Affected interests: Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include the Shire of Bruce Rock, as managers of the area containing Population 1, 3t and 4t (t = translocated populations) and West Net Rail as managers of the land containing Population 2.
Evaluation of the plans performance: DEC will evaluate the performance of this plan in conjunction with the Yilgarn District Threatened Flora Recovery Team. In addition to annual reporting on progress with listed actions and comparison against the criteria for success and failure, the plan is to be reviewed within five years of its implementation.
Existing Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented:
- Relevant land owners and land managers have been notified of the threatened nature of this species and its location.
- Plants have been fenced in both translocated and wild populations.
- Declared Rare Flora markers have been erected at Populations 1 and 2 to prevent accidental destruction.
- Regular monitoring of all plants is being undertaken.
- Areas adjacent to Population 1 were sprayed with smoked water in an attempt to germinate soil-stored seed. No seedlings have appeared to date.
- Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) staff have used tissue culturing techniques to produce clones of the male (Sb1) and female (Sb2) plant. Artificial cross-pollination has enabled them to also produce a second female clone (Sb3). All cloned plants have been, and will be, used in the translocation of the species. Staff from the BGPA have also developed appropriate techniques for cryostorage of shoot tips.
- Translocation of propagated specimens is taking place (sites 3t and 4t) annually to boost artificial populations and develop appropriate establishment and 'hardening off' techniques. Watering of translocated plants is conducted over the summer period.
- Joint Department/community surveys have been conducted over the known distribution range and in other areas of suitable habitat, particularly in sites that have been recently burnt or disturbed.
Recovery Plan Objective: The objective of this Recovery Plan is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance the in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the species in the wild.
Criteria for success: The following criteria are to be met over the five year term of this plan.
- The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have stabilized and/or increased and translocated populations have produced a viable soil seed bank large enough to create a self-sustaining population. NOTE: Failure of seeds to germinate in situ may be due to environmental conditions (e.g. lack of stimuli such as fire, smoke and/or weathering - scarification of seed) and such issues as seed viability must be addressed satisfactorily before an accurate criterion for successes can be achieved.
- There is an increase in the knowledge of the biology and ecology of Symonanthus bancroftii that improves the probability of survival and aids in future management of the species.
- Sufficient genetic material for the long-term survival of the species is stored at BGPA or TFSC.
- All populations are protected from threatening processes (e.g. human activity), as defined in this document.
Success in the longer term, (> 5 years,) requires an improved knowledge of the plant life cycle and soil seed bank dynamics in order to assess population viability.
Criteria for failure: One of the following occurs over the period of the plan's adoption under the EPBC Act:
- The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased and no observable seed set has occurred in translocated populations or seed produced is not viable. NOTE: Failure of seeds to germinate in situ may be due to environmental conditions (e.g. lack of stimuli such as fire, smoke and/or weathering - scarification of seed) and such issues as seed viability and germability must be addressed satisfactorily before a true and accurate criterion for failure can be achieved.
- There is no increase in the knowledge of the biology and ecology of Symonanthus bancroftii that can foreseeably improve the survival or aid in future management of the species.
- Sufficient genetic material is not adequately stored at BGPA or TFSC.
- Populations are impacted by ongoing threatening processes, (e.g. human activity,) as defined in this document.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Map total habitat
- Continue the propagation and translocation program
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Collect seed, cuttings and cryostorage material
- Promote awareness
- Conduct further surveys
- Monitor populations
- Improve the security of populations
- Maintain fences and DRF markers
- Liaise with relevant land managers and landowners
- Undertake weed control
- Develop and implement a fire management strategy
- Review the plan and assess the need for further recovery actions