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 Endangered as Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852)
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010l) [Recovery Plan] as Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852).
 
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] as Melichrus hirsutus.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852).
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Hairy Melichrus - Profile (New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), 2005c) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Melichrus hirsutus
Scientific name Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852) [82048]
Family Epacridaceae:Ericales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author  
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Other names Melichrus hirsutus [64695]
Melichrus hirsutus J.B.Williams ms. [67419]
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

The current conservation status of the Hairy Melichrus, Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852), under Australian and State Government legislation is as follows:

National: Listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

New South Wales: Listed as Endangered under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

Scientific name: Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P. Gilmour 7852)

Common name: Hairy Melichrus

Melichrus hirsutus, M. hirsutus J.B. Williams ms and M. sp. 1 (ms hirsutus) are all synonyms of M. sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852). M. sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852) is the current name according to APNI and the Australian Plant Census and is a phrase name in the form approved by the Heads of Herbaria.

This is a low spreading heathy shrub with a decumbent (lying on the ground, with the tip pointing upward) to erect habit (Harden 1993; Sheringham & Westaway 1995) and ascending branches, 20 to 50 cm high (Quinn et al. 1995). It has red flowers (Harden 1993). The leaves are narrow and sharply pointed, 2 to 3 cm long and have seven to 11 distinct parallel veins. The flowers are a nectar-filled urn or cup. They are small and half-hidden amongst the crowded leaves but are conspicuously red and pink, yellowish at the base, and covered with thick white hairs. Fruits are hard, round and brown to deep red in colour (DECC 2005c).

The Hairy Melichrus is restricted to the Glenreagh-Coaldale sandstone belt near Glenreagh on the northcoast of NSW (Harden 1993; Sheringham & Westaway 1995). The major population is at Kremnos Creek, north of Glenreagh and south-southwest of Grafton (Quinn et al. 1995).

Population distribution fits roughly within the five general localities referred to by Quinn and colleagues (1995): Banyabba Nature Reserve, Wombat Creek north of Copmanhurst (Vacant Crown Land); Shannon Creek escarpment southwest of Grafton (VCL); two sites north of Glenreagh; roadside near VCL near Flaggy Creek and roadside and VCL near Krenmos Creek. Populations confirmed recently include one in Newfoundland State Forest and another near Pillar Valley (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 1999an).

Sheringham and Westaway (1995) give the following survey information regarding population distribution:

  • Banyabba Nature Reserve, north of Grafton; one plant (1 September 1994)
  • Wombat Creek, Punchbowl Vacant Crown Land; North of Copmanhurst; 12 mature plants in vigorous condition over an area of 10 m² (24 August 1994)
  • Sandstone escarpment between Deep and Shannon Creeks (near Coutts Crossing), around 30 km south west of Grafton; around 30 plants in good condition (23 November 1994)
  • Roadside at Kremnos Creek, around 8 km north of Glenreagh; 500-900 plants in good condition (May 1994)
  • Black Swamp Creek, west of Kremnos Creek; around 1000 plants, but around 50 left in good condition after October fires (1994-1995)

Quinn and colleagues (1995) and Sheringham and Westaway (1995) put the total population at around 593-993 plants.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service estimate there are 12 populations totaling approximately 500 individuals of this species known in the wild (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 1999an).

At Kremnos Creek, counts of around 1000 plants were made in 1993; in 1998 there were fewer than 100 plants. The reduction is thought to be the result of 1994 fires. In 1999 more than 200 small to medium plants were counted at the site (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 1999an).

Of the five locations, only the Banyabba population is in a reserve; the other sites are all VCL parcels not managed for flora conservation (Quinn et al. 1995; Sheringham & Westaway 1995).

This species grows on sandstone (Harden 1993; Sheringham & Westaway 1995). It occurs in dry sclerophyll and eucalypt forest where there is a well developed shrub layer of many species (Quinn et al. 1995).
The Hairy Melichrus is found at low altitudes (20 to 150 m) in sandy soils derived from Mesozoic sandstones including both grey-brown podsolics (a soil that develops in temperate to cold moist climates under coniferous or heath vegetation) and lithosols (shallow soils with no distinct profiles) with conspicuous sandstone outcrops. It mostly occurs on gentle to moderate slopes, but part of one population was in a gully above a creek, and another was on the top of a sandstone escarpment. Mean annual rainfall of the area is around 1200 to 1300 mm (Quinn et al. 1995). In 1999, it was observed that most of the plants at the Pillar Valley site were growing on soil from which the vegetation had been completely removed through quarrying activities in the previous 10 years (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 1999an).
The Hairy Melichrus occurs with other threatened species. At the population near Shannon Creek, E. gummifera and E. psammitica occur, as well as the associated rare species Bertya sp. nov. and Grevillea beadleana (Quinn et al. 1995; Sheringham & Westaway 1995). At Glenreagh, dominant tree species include Angophora robur, Eucalyptus baileyana, E. gummifera, E. planchoniana, E. psammitica, E. pyrocarpa, E. resinifera, and, with limited occurrences, A. costata, E. bancroftii and Lophostemon suaveolens. The shrub layer is moderately dense to dense and comprises 74 species including many Dilleniaceae (Hibbertia spp.), Epacridaceae, Fabaceae (Dillwynia spp., Daviesia spp., Hovea spp., Pultenaea spp., etc.), Mimosaceae (Acacia seven spp.), Myrtaceae, and Proteaceae (Banksia spp., Hovea spp., Persoonia spp., etc.). Thirty herbaceous species occur, of which only four are grasses. A full flora list for the Glenreagh site is given by Williams in Quinn and colleagues (1995). At Wombat Creek, dominant tree species include Eucalyptus natobilis, E. resinifera, E. tindaliae, and Syncarpia glomulifera. At the population near Shannon Creek, E. gummifera and E. psammitica occur, as well as the associated rare species Grevillea beadleana and Bertya sp. nov. (Quinn et al. 1995; Sheringham & Westaway 1995).

Reproduction by parthenogenesis (development of an individual from an egg without fertilisation) may be operating in the species and consequently, the localised populations may have a quite narrow genetic base (Quinn et al. 1995).

This species flowers from March to August, and fruits from August to November (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 1999an). It is not known for certain whether this species re-sprouts or grows from seed after fire. Observations suggest that recovery of burnt populations is occurring through germination of seed rather than through re-sprouting (NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 1999an).

The infertile sandstone areas inhabited by the Hairy Melichrus have, to a large extent, escaped clearing and severe disturbance in the past. The sites were not regarded as of value for pastoral or agricultural development. Light selective harvesting of timber (Eucalyptus pyrocarpa, among others) is likely to have occurred in the area (Quinn et al. 1995). The populations are likely to decline if soils are fertilised because the species occurs on infertile, gritty-sandy soil (Quinn et al. 1995).

The Hairy Melichrus is fire sensitive; plants observed at the Kremnos Creek site were all single individuals and many adult individuals at Black Swamp Creek were killed by the October fires. Germination may be stimulated by fire (Quinn et al. 1995). The Kremnos Creek dry sclerophyll vegetation has been subject to periodic wildfires but there is no evidence that such fires have disadvantaged this Hairy Melichrus population. Fires at very frequent intervals might result in the elimination of the species from this site. The Wombat Creek site is threatened by a changed fire regime (J. Westaway, pers. comm. in Quinn et al. 1995). The fire regeneration strategy of this new species requires investigation (Sheringham & Westaway 1995).

Changing land use of the main Kremnos Creek site might result in reduction or elimination of the Hairy Melichrus population (Quinn et al. 1995).

A potential threat to the Shannon Creek population is the filling of a dam on Shannon Creek for the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour Regional Water Supply Project (NCCNSW Water and Fisheries 1999).
As stated above, reproduction by parthenogenesis may be operating in the species and consequently, the localised populations may have a quite narrow genetic base. Low levels of genetic diversity could threaten the future survival of the species (Quinn et al. 1995).

Some key measures for threat abatement and recovery are (DECC 2005c):

  • Captive husbandry and ex situ collection/propagation. This should include collecting seed for NSW Seedbank, developing a collection program in collaboration with the Botanical Gardens Trust - multiple provenances, and investigating seed viability, germination, dormancy and longevity (in natural environment and in storage).
  • Community and landholder awareness and education. Provide detailed location information to councils, state government agencies and utility providers. Assess the need to maintain confidentiality records to all other groups and individuals.
  • Habitat management of fire. Include or review the hazard reduction conditions on the Threatened Species Hazard Reduction List. Provide map of known occurrences to Rural Fire Service and seek inclusion on mitigative measures on Bush Fire Risk Management Plan(s), risk register and/or operation map(s).
  • As part of an ongoing EIA, provide advice to consent and planning authorities. Prepare EIA guidelines and distribute to local councils, state government agencies and utility providers.
  • Monitor all known populations for demographics and threats.
  • Consider species management in the DECC Plans of Management.
  • Undertake research, specifically into the effect of fire and other disturbances on the species. Importantly, research should examine the role of fire disturbance in the species lifecycle and the appropriate regimes required.
  • Survey, map and assess potential habitat of the species.

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is preparing a Recovery Plan for this species.

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
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852)in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006qg) [Internet].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes including flooding Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852)in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006qg) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852)in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006qg) [Internet].
Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].

Harden, G.J. (ed) (1993). Flora of New South Wales, Volume Four. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

NCCNSW Water and Fisheries (1999). Submission on Regional Water Supply Project, Clarence River. [Online]. Available from: http://www.nccnsw.org.au/water/projects/WaterandFisheries/clarence.html.

New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) (2005c). Hairy Melichrus - Profile. [Online]. Available from: http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=10520.

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW) (2010l). Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan. [Online]. Coffs Harbour, New South Wales: DECCW. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/northern-rivers.html.

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (1999an). Threatened Flora Species of the Glenreagh-Coaldale Sandstone Area Recovery Plan. NSW NPWS Recovery Planning Program. Sydney, NSW NPWS.

Quinn, F., J.B. Williams, C.L. Gross & J. Bruhl (1995). Report on rare and threatened plants of north-eastern New South Wales. Armidale: University of New England.

Sheringham, P. & J. Westaway (1995). Significant Vascular Plants of Upper North East NSW: A report by the NSW NPWS for the Natural Resources Audit Council. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.

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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). Melichrus sp. Newfoundland State Forest (P.Gilmour 7852) in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:52:58 +1000.