Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Critically Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Epacris stuartii (Stuart's Heath) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001aw) [Listing Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Epacris stuartii Recovery Plan 1996-2005 (Keith, D.A. & M. Ilowski, 1999) [Recovery Plan].
 
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi (Department of the Environment, 2014a) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (05/10/2001) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2001c) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Recovery Plan - Tasmanian Forest Epacrids 1999-2004 (Keith, D., 1997) [State Recovery Plan].
TAS:Threatened Species Notesheet - Epacris stuartii (Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tas. DPIPWE), 2003o) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Epacris stuartii (Stuart's Heath): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014cm) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list)
Scientific name Epacris stuartii [10348]
Family Epacridaceae:Ericales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Stapf
Infraspecies author  
Reference Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Kew: 217, with Plate (Aug. 1910).
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images
http://www.dpiwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/SJON-59X25L/$FILE/Epacris%20stuartii.pdf
http://www.bushcare.tas.gov.au/info/thspecies4.htm#epac_stu

Stuart's Heath is an erect or semi-prostrate multi-stemmed shrub growing to 1 m tall (Keith & Ilowski 1999) with white flowers (Curtis 1979).

This species is known from only a single locality on Southport Bluff, about 6 km SE of Southport township in far SE Tasmania (Keith & Ilowski 1999).

The population covers an area of approx. 0.3 ha over a range of about 300 m and consists of about 850 mature plants. Overall the population of established plants declined at least 20% between early 1994 and March 1996 (Keith & Ilowski 1999) and by 30% between 1994 and 2001 (Keith 2002).

This species grows only on one exposed dolerite headland at 5-19 m asl. The site is E-facing and fully exposed to onshore winds ranging from slight to gale force. The majority of the population occurs in shallow, well-drained, dark grey loam - sandy loam. The species also occurs on massive rocky outcrops, either in crevices with no visible soil, or in shallow depressions with up to 1-2 cm soil or moss (Keith & Ilowski 1999).

It grows exclusively in heathland. On shallow soil substrates the associated species of larger shrubs include Leptospermum scoparium, Westringia brevifolia, Acacia verticillata and Banksia marginata. Smaller shrubs include Pultenaea dentata, Epacris impressa, Bossiaea prostrata and Astroloma humifusum. Groundcover species include Stylidium graminifolium, Gonocarpus tetragynus, Helichrysum scorpioides, Viola hederacea, Deyeuxia densa, Microlaena stipoides, Danthonia pilosa, Poa poiformis and Lepidosperma sp. (Keith & Ilowski 1999).

In recently burnt areas the associated species, mainly groundcovers, include Lomandra longifolia and Deyeuxia densa amongst other grasses and sedges. On rocky substrates the cover of vegetation is sparse, with scattered individuals of Westringia brevifolia, Leptospermum scoparium, Poa poiformis, Baumea juncea, Selliera radicans and the introduced grass Aira caryophyllea (Keith & Ilowski 1999).

Flowering occurs from Aug. to Oct., with fruit dehiscence from late Dec. to Feb. (Keith & Ilowski 1999). The flowers are white, solitary, have a slight stalk and are usually located along the length of the upper part of the branches (Curtis 1979).

The pollinators of Stuart's Heath are large adult carrion flies from the Calliphoridae family. Two species of flies, Calliphora sp. and Calliphora hilli, were directly observed pollinating Stuart's Heath during Aug. and Sept. 1995 (P.B.McQuillan, pers. comm. in Keith & Ilowski 1999). This species was apparently the only local pollen source exploited by Calliphoraspp. at this time of year and seems likely to be their first floral food source after emergence as adults (Keith & Ilowski 1999).

Studies conducted to examine why levels of seedling recruitment were low after some fires, despite high rates of pre-fire seed production, found that high germination rates occurred when high levels of soil heating were generated as well as penetration of high concentrations of smoke derivatives into the soil profile (Keith 1997c). Also, plants on rock behave like obligate seeders, whereas plants on soil resprout after fire (Keith 2002).

Although the first seed crop is likely to be produced in the fourth fruiting season after fire, it may be six to eight years before a seedbank of sufficient size has accumulated to ensure sufficient seedling recruitment after a subsequent fire (Keith 1997).

The mortality, post emergence, is 60% per year in soil substrates and more than 90% on skeletal lithosols and rock (Keith 2002). Although, seedling numbers and densities have been observed as lower on soil than other substrates (Keith 2002).

Herbarium specimens show the formation of adventitious roots from aerial branches, suggesting the species is capable of vegetative propagation (Keith 1997).

Native animals often browse on the young shoots, and aerial buds will resprout after a low intensity fire (R.Crowden pers. comm. in Lawrence 1993).

This species has a low background mortality rate, less than 1% per annum. It is therefore likely to be long lived, though the life span of individual shrubs is unknown (probably in the order of decades) (Keith & Ilowski 1999).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Sea level rise:Inundation associated with climate change Inundation study (Environmental Resources Information Network, 2007) [Database].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Storms and Flooding:Storm damage Commonwealth Listing Advice on Epacris stuartii (Stuart's Heath) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001aw) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Epacris stuartii (Stuart's Heath) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001aw) [Listing Advice].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Recovery Plan - Tasmanian Forest Epacrids 1999-2004 (Keith, D., 1997) [State Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Vegetation and habitat loss caused by dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi Epacris stuartii Recovery Plan 1996-2005 (Keith, D.A. & M. Ilowski, 1999) [Recovery Plan].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Epacris stuartii (Stuart's Heath) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001aw) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Epacris stuartii Recovery Plan 1996-2005 (Keith, D.A. & M. Ilowski, 1999) [Recovery Plan].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Epacris stuartii (Stuart's Heath) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001aw) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes Epacris stuartii Recovery Plan 1996-2005 (Keith, D.A. & M. Ilowski, 1999) [Recovery Plan].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Epacris stuartii Recovery Plan 1996-2005 (Keith, D.A. & M. Ilowski, 1999) [Recovery Plan].

Barker, P.C.J. (1994). Phytophthora cinnamoni: The susceptibility and management of selected Tasmanian rare species. Hobart, Tasmania: Forestry Tasmania.

Black, P.G. (2001). Personal Communication. DPIWE.

Curtis, W.M. (1979). The Students Flora of Tasmania. Part 4A. ANGIOSPERMAE: Orchidaceae. Government Printer, Hobart.

Keith, D. (1997). Recovery Plan - Tasmanian Forest Epacrids 1999-2004. [Online]. Hobart: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/tas-forest/index.html.

Keith, D. (1997b). A test of multiple germination cues in Epacris stuartii, an endagered fire-prone Australian Shrub.

Keith, D.A. (1997c). Combined effects of heat shock, smoke and darkness on germination of Epacris stuartii Stapf., an endangered fire-prone Australian shrub. Oecologia. 112:340-344.

Keith, D.A. (2002). Population dynamics of an endangered heathland shrub, Epacris stuartii (Epacridaceae): Recruitment, establishment and survival. Austral Ecology. 27:67-76.

Keith, D.A. & M. Ilowski (1999). Epacris stuartii Recovery Plan 1996-2005. [Online]. Hobart: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/e-stuartii/index.html.

Lawrence, N. (1993). Epacris barbata (Melville) Flora Recovery Plan; Research Plan Phase. Hobart: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Epacris stuartii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:36:41 +1000.