National recovery plan for Boronia granitica (Granite Boronia)

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, July 2002
ISBN 0 731 36889 4

Executive Summary

Introduction

Boronia granitica (Granite Boronia) is a medium-sized, open shrub with pinnate foliage and pink flowers. It grows in heathy vegetation amongst granite boulders of the New England Batholith, where it is restricted to a limited number of mostly small populations.

This recovery plan describes our current understanding of B. granitica, documents the research undertaken to date and identifies management actions required and parties responsible in addressing the conservation of B. granitica.

Legislative context

The Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) is NSW's most comprehensive legislative framework to protect and encourage the recovery of threatened species, populations and communities. Under the TSC Act, the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife has certain responsibilities including the preparation of recovery plans for threatened species, populations and ecological communities. This recovery plan has been prepared to satisfy the requirements of both the TSC Act and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Current species status

B. granitica is known in NSW from only five disjunct areas on the north-western side of the New England Tablelands from near Armidale north to the Torrington district. The species also occurs in the Stanthorpe district of southern Queensland.

Viable populations of B. granitica are known from Kings Plains National Park, Torrington State Recreation Area and Severn River Nature Reserve in NSW (and Girraween National Park in Queensland). However, populations outside conservation reserves are either critically small or vulnerable to decline.

The major threats to B. granitica are the impacts of inappropriate fire regimes and browsing by stock and feral goats. Such processes pose a serious threat to unreserved populations of B. granitica and a potential threat to reserved populations. Disturbances such as mining activities and clearing are additional potential threats.

B. granitica is listed as endangered under the NSW TSC Act. However, a review process by the NSW Scientific Committee has resulted in a recommendation in May 2002 that B. granitica be downlisted to vulnerable (NSW Scientific Committee 2002). The species is also listed as endangered under the EPBC Act and is included on the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) Threatened Australian Flora list (1993). On the Rare or Threatened Australian Plant (ROTAP) list, the species is considered vulnerable and is assigned a code of 3VC- (Briggs and Leigh 1996).

Recovery objectives

The overall objective of this recovery plan is to protect populations of B. granitica from decline induced by non-natural agents and to ensure that these populations remain viable in the wild in the long term.

Specific objectives of this recovery plan are to:

  • improve the long-term viability of reserved populations;
  • improve the viability of known non-reserved populations;
  • determine if further populations exist on granite outcrops elsewhere on the New England Tablelands;
  • increase our understanding of the ecology of B. granitica; and
  • identify and ameliorate threatening processes.

Recovery criteria

Recovery criteria are that:

  • cessation of feral goat browsing at the Parlour Mountain location and reduction of goat (and stock) interference at Howell;
  • reduction in feral goat populations in NPWS estate to a minimum;
  • an improved understanding of the biology and ecology of B. granitica is sufficient to enable management for long-term viability of the species in NSW;
  • reserved populations do not suffer any reduction due to human induced causes;
  • populations that are not reserved are protected by appropriate measures;
  • evidence of seedling establishment and recruitment at all or most population areas; and
  • site monitoring to indicate population stability.

Recovery actions

Recovery actions will be directed toward:

  • implementation of the most appropriate and effective fire management options for the stability or enhancement of B. granitica in situ;
  • research into aspects of the ecology of B. granitica, especially reproductive biology, seed-bank dynamics and fire response, necessary to develop the above management strategies; and
  • protection of populations from the adverse impacts associated with feral goat and stock grazing.

Biodiversity benefits

The occurrence of B. granitica contributes to the high biodiversity of the flora of the northern tablelands and slopes of NSW. Other threatened species and communities that occupy similar granite outcrop habitats are likely to benefit from conservation of B. granitica.

Through awareness of the fate of B. granitica, the profile of all threatened plant species is raised in the general community. This in turn leads to greater opportunities for the conservation of threatened species and increased protection of biodiversity.

Michael Wright Bob Debus MP
A/Director-General Minister for Environment