National recovery plan for Boronia granitica (Granite Boronia)

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

12 Recovery actions

12.1 Implement research and monitoring programs

12.1.1

Efforts directed to the recovery of B. granitica will continue to be hampered by the current inadequate understanding of the life history of the species. Research into aspects of the species ecology such as floral phenology, pollination biology, life stage longevity, seed dispersal, seed viability and seed bank dynamics will assist recovery through improved knowledge.

12.1.2

Population monitoring provides a mechanism to measure the outcomes of management actions and can, therefore, be used to help assess the degree to which factors such as fire and feral animals are implicated in the decline of B. granitica. Quantitative results from research and population monitoring can be incorporated into an adaptive management approach and help reduce uncertainty in biodiversity conservation.

12.1.3

Effective fire management strategies for B. granitica include the determination of an appropriate fire frequency. This is best developed in cognisance of the species' primary juvenile period, time required to establish a viable soil seed reservoir, recruitment rate and longevity. The following recommended research action can provide this information and should be undertaken by a university or competent botanist. For cost effectiveness, such work could ideally be integrated into wider ecological research covering sympatric rocky outcrop species, especially the higher priority taxa, ie. those most threatened or restricted. It is recommended that a research program be designed and conducted focussing on experimental burns of tagged individuals at multiple sites. This should be followed by monitoring of germination, seedling establishment and survivorship, age at which recruits flower and set seed, the period required for replenishment of seed bank, seed longevity and mortality rates and causes.

The Division of Botany, University of New England, and the NPWS Northern Tablelands Region have recently established a detailed program studying fire and rare plants, including B. granitica, at Torrington SRA and initial post-fire results are presented in Clarke and Fulloon (1999). It would be logical and prudent for these authorities to continue this program through the plant's life stages to attain the other important life history information. Results of these programs should be correlated with the variables of temperature of burn (fire intensity) and post-fire climatic conditions.

As the impacts of herbivores can increase after fire, feral animal control may be required before experimental burns and post-fire browsing can be managed and monitored.

12.1.4

Concurrent with fire response experiments, plant-insect observational study, seed storage tests and seed burial and retrieval experiments should be conducted to reveal pollination vectors and mechanisms, aspects of seed dispersal and predation and seed dormancy and viability periods. Experimental testing for additional cues to break seed dormancy and initiate recruitment such as smoke or scarification would also be valuable in order to help determine the likelihood of recruitment in the absence of fire.

12.1.5

Conduct further surveys of suitable habitat, including the area near Elsmore, to confirm the presence of new populations on granite outcrops elsewhere on the New England Tablelands.

Outcome: Collation of ecological and life history information that assists the conservation and management of B. granitica.

12.2 Manage current reserved areas

12.2.1

In the development of Fire Management Plans for Kings Plains NP and Severn River NR, the NPWS should recommend an interim fire management strategy that ensures that locations of B. granitica populations are not burnt more frequently than 8-10 years and preferably have fire excluded for at least 20-30 years. This strategy should be reviewed in the light of further results of fire ecological research (see Section 6.2).

12.2.2

The NPWS should ensure that park workers are aware of the significance and location of the species and that park works, infrastructure and maintenance do not encroach on the species.

12.2.3

Continue with feral goat control and monitoring programs.

12.2.4

Continue to monitor the B. granitica population demographics regularly every 2 or 3 years.

Outcome: The conservation of the species where it is known in reserved areas is ensured.

12.3 Manage the Torrington State Recreation Area population

12.3.1

The status of Torrington SRA should be reviewed on account of its high botanical significance with the aim of improving the security of tenure of either the entire SRA or, at least areas of highest conservation value under National Park or Nature Reserve status. The effectiveness of the Memorandum of Understanding between the DMR and the NPWS in regard to the conservation of B. granitica in the SRA should also be assessed.

12.3.2

An assessment should be undertaken of the effectiveness of legislative planning controls that require consideration of B. granitica habitat on lands that have potential for exploration, mining and other extractive industries such as granite quarrying and bushrock collection. Mining leases and exploration licences over specific sites that support B. granitica populations should be amended to ensure that activities are undertaken in a manner that avoids or minimises adverse impacts.

12.3.3

The NPWS should implement control of feral goats.

12.3.4

An appropriate fire management strategy should be included in the Plan of Management for the SRA and a provisional strategy implemented that is in accordance with the ecological requirements of B. granitica and other sympatric threatened species. These should include those species of extreme fire sensitivity, and be in accordance with results of Clarke and Fulloon (1999) and the recommendations of Hunter (1999).

Outcome: The Torrington population is conserved.

12.4 Manage the Howell and Parlour Mountain populations

12.4.1

Control of feral goats is the priority recovery action for these populations. This can be accomplished by culling programs and the fencing of the three plants at Parlour Mountain.

12.4.2

Small scale trial controlled burning should be undertaken to try to stimulate seed bank germination (avoid burning remaining plants at Parlour Mountain by selecting equivalent adjacent habitat). The response to trial burns should be recorded and the fate of any subsequent seedlings monitored.

12.4.3

Where B. granitica occurs on private property, landholders should be approached with a view to entering Voluntary Conservation Agreements under the NPW Act, Property Agreements under the NVC Act and/or preparing Property Management Plans under the TSC Act. Financial incentives are available from DLWC under the Native Vegetation Incentive Fund to assist in the management of the species on private lands.

Outcome: Known populations on private lands are conserved in cooperation with landholders.

12.5 Publicity

12.5.1

The NPWS Northern Tablelands Region have produced a free poster on threatened plants, including B. granitica, and a landowners guide book that includes management guidelines for the species (NSW NPWS 1999). An information leaflet for B. granitica has also been prepared (refer Appendix 2). These documents should continue to be distributed and promoted among local councils, landholders and leaseholders of granite country in the Tenterfield, Inverell, Severn, Guyra and Armidale areas. This will help increase public awareness of the status of rare flora including B. granitica and the value of remnant vegetation. Such information can potentially generate new records of the species from private property.

Outcome: Public awareness of the species is increased and new populations are found and conserved.

12.6 Horticulture

12.6.1

B. granitica, in common with much of the genus, is likely to have considerable horticultural appeal and has been successfully propagated using cuttings of matured new growth tips (see Section 8.4). Specialist authorities (eg. University of New England, Mt Annan Botanical Gardens and Royal Botanic Gardens) will be encouraged to propagate the species. Plants will then be distributed through local Landcare and Greening Australia groups or commercial nurseries. More information is also available from the 'Boronia and Allied Genera Study Group' of the Australian Plants Society.

Outcome: The genetic variability of the species is maintained and its susceptibility to stochastic events that hinder its conservation is reduced.