An epacrid is a type of plant. There are about 40 species that are endemic to South-East Australia and New Zealand alone, and a number of these occur exclusively in Tasmania. Of the eight Tasmanian species nationally listed as threatened, seven occur in forested landscapes.
The forest epacrids are native shrubs. Some species can grow up to two metres in height although the average is one meter. They can be either single or multi-stemmed plants but they all have short lance shaped leaves and white flowers.
The species have differing distributions but occur in the south-east, east, north and west of the island. Some species are restricted to pockets in one or two specific locations whereas others have populations across a wider area of the island. They span a range of habitats including dry forests, gallery forest, riparian scrub, heathland, rocky outcrops and swamps. They can be found at a range of elevations from sea level up to 1,000 metres.
There are a range of activities that jeopardise the long-term stability and recovery of these species. Major threats include disease infection by the root rot fungus, fires, land clearing and habitat degradation.
A recovery plan has been prepared to manage these species. The actions identified in that plan seek to halt the risk of extinction. The following are just some of the actions being implemented:
- protection of important habitat in conservation reserves or under other land tenure and land use agreements
- development of fire management plans and practices to reduce risk to these species
- management of sites in accordance with hygiene protocols to minimise the spreading of root rot fungus
Contact the Threatened Species Unit in Tasmania on (03) 6233 6191, or write to them at GPO Box 44A, Hobart, Tasmania 7001.
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department of the Environment and Heritage's Community Information Unit on free call: 1800 803 772