National recovery plan for the Downy Wattle (Acacia pubescens)

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Environment Australia, February 2003
ISBN 0 7313 6504 6

8. Previous Management Actions

8.1 Report on Conservation Status

Acacia pubescens was considered in a report on the conservation status of five rare plants in Western Sydney (Nash & Matthes 1995). This report included information on threats and recommendations for further research and management. Some of these recommendations have been implemented, such as survey work and acquisition of land by NPWS.

8.2 Recovery Team

A Recovery Team was established in 1998 as part of the preparation of this Recovery Plan. The membership of the team included representatives from the NPWS, Royal Botanic Gardens, Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, Railway Services Authority, Sydney Water, Department of Land and Water Conservation, Nature Conservation Council and an environmental consultant.

8.3 Surveys

The Urban Bushland Biodiversity Surveys undertaken by the NPWS in 1996 surveyed the biodiversity of Western Sydney with an emphasis on threatened species, communities and habitats (NSW NPWS 1997). A total of 75 sites of A. pubescens were recorded, many of which had not been recorded previously. An inventory of all sites where A. pubescens had been previously found, was completed as part of the preparation of this Recovery Plan, using data from a number of sources. Sites that had accurate location details and had not been surveyed by the UBBS teams, were surveyed in 1997-98 by S. Burke of NPWS.

8.4 In situ and ex situ Propagation

Bankstown Council has planted A. pubescens in at least five reserves (at Mirambeena Reserve, Salt Pan Creek Reserve, Deepwater Park, Roberts Park and at the Crest of Bankstown) (R. Corby, Bankstown Council, pers. comm.). Strathfield Council also has stores of seed collected from Rookwood Cemetery and some planting of plants from this seed source has occurred in Frank Zions Reserve at Strathfield (J. Orton, Strathfield Council, pers. comm.). Auburn Council planted some A. pubescens along the Duck River, with seed sourced from The Crest of Bankstown Reserve (D. Sheils, Auburn Council, pers. comm.). The RTA also planted some individuals as compensation for habitat lost during the construction of the M5 motorway (R. Miller, consultant, pers. comm.). In addition, many community nurseries run by Councils have been selling A. pubescens over the years.

Some ex situ conservation work has also been carried out by Mount Annan Botanic Garden, which has collections of seed from Lansdowne, Long Neck Lagoon and Pitt Town. There are also plantings in the Threatened Species Garden and the Wattle Garden at Mount Annan (P. Cuneo, RBG pers. comm.). The species has also been planted in the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra and the Burrendong Arboretum (Leigh et al. 1984). The ANBG has seed collected from Scheyville National Park, from the site at the corner of Old Stock Route Rd and Pitt Town - Dural Rd. The Burrendong Arboretum has seed from Bilpin and Menai. Greening Australia has seed collected from a Bossley Park site.

Propagation from seed has been found to be the most successful method of propagation. High levels of germination have been obtained through treatment of the seeds by scarification and hot water (D. Bishop, RBG pers. comm.). Propagation from cuttings and root suckers have a lower success rate (D. Bishop, RBG pers. comm.). Cuttings have been found to be more successful if taken from regrowth (S. Fisher, plant propagator, pers. comm.)

8.5 In situ Protection

In situ protection has occurred at a number of A. pubescens locations, including:

  • Scheyville National Park, where plants have been fenced to provide protection from mechanical damage caused by trail bikes and horses.
  • Liverpool Showground, where plants have been fenced and weed removal has been undertaken.
  • Avondale Rd Pitt Town, where a restriction on use of land (under Section 88B of the Conveyancing Act) was placed on the rear of lots, so that clearing could not occur without the consent of the NPWS.
  • Rookwood Cemetery, where a Property Management Plan has been prepared, ensuring that plants will be fenced and bush regeneration will be undertaken.

8.6 Preparation of Species Profile and EIA Guidelines

The NPWS has prepared a species profile and draft EIA guidelines for use by public authorities and private landholders to assist in conservation of A. pubescens on lands under their control. These documents are also designed to assist consent and determining authorities in the assessment of impacts on the species, and for members of the public who are interested in becoming involved in conservation of the species. These are attached as an appendix to this plan (Appendix 3) and can also be accessed via the NPWS Internet homepage (

8.7 Genetic Research

In 1999, the NPWS commissioned the Australian National University to undertake genetic analysis of A. pubescens at a number of sites (Mountain Lagoon, Carysfield Park at Bass Hill, Louisa Reserve at Georges Hall, Rookwood Cemetery, Scheyville National Park, Prospect Reservoir, Bishop Rd at Menai, Yennora Wool Centre, Salter Rd Reserve at Bossley Park and Weeroona Rd at Strathfield). Most of the sites sampled for this study were found to consist of fewer than four individuals, even though the number of ramets recorded at these sites varies between 110 and 4300. Individuals were also found to cover large areas (up to 1.2 hectares) at most sites (Moore et al. 1999). This may have implications for the long-term survival of the species at sites. Further work will need to be undertaken to determine if an interaction is occurring between clonality and self-incompatibility, which is resulting in the limited seed set, or whether pollination or resources is limiting seed set (Moore et al. 1999).