National recovery plan for Boronia granitica (Granite Boronia)

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

8 Social and economic consequences

8.1 Intrinsic ecological value

The ecological function of Boronia granitica is unknown but the species has intrinsic value as a species with a narrow ecological amplitude and as a component of specialised vegetation communities restricted to a resource-poor, fire-prone environment.

8.2 Scientific and taxonomic value

B. granitica has considerable scientific value as a geographically and ecologically restricted species, as an example of granite island biogeography, and as a fire-sensitive 'obligate seeder' of granite outcrops for fire ecology research. B. granitica also has considerable taxonomic interest as it and its two closest congeners represent a small clade in the B. ledifolia group of section Valvatae that are all rare and restricted species.

8.3 Biodiversity value

The occurrence of B. granitica contributes to the high biodiversity of the flora of the northern tablelands and slopes of NSW. Granite outcrop vegetation communities on the New England Batholith are significant in terms of the high number of ROTAP species recorded (Hunter and Clarke 1998). Many of these species (see Table 7) occur sympatrically with B. granitica and would benefit from conservation efforts directed towards B. granitica.

Table 7: Rare or threatened flora occurring with Boronia granitica
Species Species
Acacia betchi Eriostemon myoporoides ssp. epilosus
Acacia granitica Hibbertia sp. B
Acacia williamsiana Homoranthus biflorus
Acacia torringtonensis Homoranthus prolixus
Allocasuarina brachystachya Persoonia terminalis ssp. terminalis
Astrotricha roddii Phebalium rotundifolium
Babingtonia odontocalyx Prostanthera staurophylla
Brachyloma saxicola Pultenaea stuartiana
Dodonaea hirsuta  

References:
Quinn et al. (1995), Briggs and Leigh (1996), Clarke et al. (1998), Hunter and Clarke (1998), Richards et al. (1998).

Boronia granitica has been identified as a member of an assemblage of species characterising the Howell Shrublands ecological community, which occurs in the Inverell and Manilla local government areas within the New England and Nandewar bioregions (see Hunter and Clarke 1998). In 2000, this community was listed as an endangered ecological community on Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the TSC Act (NSW Scientific Committee 2000b). Therefore, actions directed toward conservation of B. granitica may also benefit this endangered ecological community.

Rare and threatened plants represent those plant species at greatest risk of becoming extinct due to human-induced causes. As such, they are priority species to consider in conservation efforts aimed at arresting further loss of biodiversity from our natural ecosystems.

8.4 Pharmaceutical and commercial value

There are no known pharmaceutical or other commercial values of B. granitica. The species has an abundance of the aromatic oils in the foliage that are characteristic of the Rutaceae that may have some, as yet unknown, application. Although B. granitica has been cultivated in NSW in the National Endangered Flora Collection, the species is not generally known to be under horticulture. However, it has potential as a garden plant because it exhibits masses of relatively large (for Boronia), bright pink flowers over several months.

8.5 Social benefits

The preparation of this recovery plan provides an information source for future research and management of B. granitica and may assist similar efforts directed at related species or plants occurring in the same habitat. 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, an appreciation of the need for sustainable development, and increased protection of biodiversity.