Hinged Dragon Orchid (Caladenia drakeoides) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no. 141
Andrew Brown, Emma Holland and Kim Kershaw
Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, 2003

2. Recovery objective and criteria

Objectives

The objective of this Interim Recovery Plan is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the species in the wild.

Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by 10% or more.

Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by 10% or more.

3. Recovery actions

Existing recovery actions

Populations 1, 7 and 14 and subpopulation 2b (all private property) have been fenced to exclude sheep.

Owners of private property populations have been notified of the presence of the species.

Staff from the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority have collected seed from several populations.

An information sheet, which includes a description of the plant, its habitat type, threats and management actions has been produced.

The Moora, Merredin and Katanning District Threatened Flora Recovery teams oversee the implementation of recovery actions prescribed in this IRP, and report annually to DCLM's Corporate Executive.

Future recovery actions

Where populations occur on lands other than those managed by DCLM, permission has been or will be sought from the appropriate land managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken.

1. Coordination

The Katanning District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (KDTFRT), Merredin District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (MeDTFRT) and Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (MoDTFRT) will continue to coordinate recovery actions for Caladenia drakeoides and other Declared Rare Flora in the districts. They will include information on progress in their annual report to DCLM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action: Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility: Relevant recovery teams (Katanning, Narrogin & Moora Districts) in conjunction with DCLM staff.
Cost: $1,800 per year.

2. Declared Rare Flora Markers

Four Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers are required at population 12 (Capamauro Nature Reserve).

Action: Install DRF markers
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora District) through the MoTFRT
Cost: $100 in year 1.

3. Monitoring

Monitoring of factors such as goat activity, rising salinity, weed encroachment, population stability (expanding or declining), pollination activity, seed production, recruitment, and longevity is essential.

Action: Monitor populations
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora, Katanning and Merredin Districts) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost: $2,000 pa.

4. Fencing

The habitat of subpopulations 4a, 5b and population 11 are currently being grazed by sheep. These will be fenced to exclude stock.

Action: Erect fencing

Responsibility: DCLM (Moora and Merredin Districts) through the relevant recovery teams, landowners

Cost: $2,500 in years 1 and 2.

5. Goat control

Goat control is needed in Capamauro Nature Reserve (population 12) to prevent further degradation of the habitat. This should be done in conjunction with a goat control program for the nearby Watheroo National Park and Pinjarrega Nature Reserve.

Action: Implement goat control
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora District) through the MoTFRT
Cost: $4,500 in years 1 & 3.

6. Weed control

Weeds are a major threat to the habitat of populations 1, 5b, 6, 7, 9 and 10 (private), population 3 (nature reserve) and population 8 (Shire road reserve) is badly infested by weeds. The following should be taken into consideration when undertaking weed control.

  1. Experience and research to date in similar situations has shown that the use of selective herbicides to control grasses may result in infestation by broad leaf weeds. As there are currently no herbicides available for broad leaf weeds that can be used in a non-selective way and it is unknown how herbicides will affect orchids, care must be taken when implementing weed control.
  2. Broad spectrum, non-residual herbicides, e.g. glyphosate, can be used for spot control of weeds utilising techniques such as direct application or the use of temporary spray shields. Generally these techniques have been under utilised in respect to threatened flora and practical methods of application in the field require further development.
  3. Hand removal of native weeds immediately around plants of Caladenia drakeoides plants may have to be undertaken due to the risk of damage from herbicides at such close quarters. Care must be taken as hand weeding has the potential to increase weed levels (at least temporarily) as a result of soil disturbance.
  4. Within the five-year scope of an IRP weed control will be a short-term protective measure. Long term conservation of populations of CR flora will require further habitat rehabilitation including the replacement of weeds with appropriate native species.

Action: Implement weed control
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora, Katanning and Merredin Districts) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost: $2,500 pa.

7. Habitat rehabilitation

The reintroduction of native shrubs and trees is required to rehabilitate the degraded habitat of subpopulations 2a, 2b, 5a and population 11.

Action: Rehabilitate habitat of subpopulations 2a, 2b, 5a and population 11
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora and Merredin Districts) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost: $3,500 in years 1, 2 and 3.

8. Seed collection

Preservation of germplasm is essential to guard against extinction if wild populations are lost. Seed collections can also be used to propagate plants for the establishment of a living collection at the Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) and for future translocations back into the wild (see 13).

Action: Collect and store seed
Responsibility: DCLM (TFSC, Merredin, Katanning & Moora Districts), Kings Park and Botanic Garden (KPBG) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost: $4,000 in year 1 and 2.

9. Translocation

Although translocations are generally undertaken under full Recovery Plans, the threats to all known wild populations of Caladenia drakeoides requires the implementation of a translocation proposal within the time frame of this IRP. A translocation proposal prepared by DCLM and BGPA will be coordinated by the relevant recovery teams. Information on the translocation of threatened animals and plants in the wild is provided in DCLM's Policy Statement No. 29 Translocation of Threatened Flora and Fauna.

Action: Develop and implement a translocation proposal
Responsibility: The Department (Science Division, Katanning, Merredin and Moora Districts) through KPBG and relevant recovery teams
Estimated Cost: $13,300 in the third year and $6,200 in subsequent years.

10. Surveys

Surveys supervised by DCLM staff, and with the assistance of the West Australian Native Orchid Study and Conservation Group, wildflower societies and naturalist clubs, will be conducted for Caladenia drakeoides during its flowering period (Late August- early October).

Action: Conduct further surveys
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora and Merredin Districts) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost: $4,000 pa.

11. Fire management strategy

It is likely that Caladenia drakeoides is not harmed by fire between November and May when the plant is dormant but fires during the growing, flowering and seeding phase (June-October) may be detrimental to the long term survival of the species.

Action: Develop and implement a fire management strategy
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora, Katanning and Merredin Districts) through the relevant recovery teams, relevant authorities and landowners
Cost: $1000 in the first year and 700 in subsequent years.

12. Biology and ecology

Better knowledge of the biology and ecology of Caladenia drakeoides will provide a scientific basis for management of wild populations. An understanding of the following is necessary for effective management:

  1. The pollination biology of the species, and the requirements of pollinators.
  2. The phenology and seasonal growth of the species.
  3. The distribution of seed and the requirements for germination.
  4. The longevity of plants, and time taken to reach maturity.
  5. The population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size.
  6. The impact of salinity on Caladenia drakeoides and its habitat.
  7. The effects of weeds on recruitment and establishment.

Action: Obtain biological and ecological information
Responsibility: DCLM (Science Division, Moora, Katanning & Merredin districts) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost
: $18,000 per year.

13. Community awareness

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the protection of Caladenia drakeoides will be promoted to the public. This will be achieved through an information campaign using the local print and electronic media and by setting up poster displays. This is especially important as most populations of the species are small and all are highly threatened, and increased awareness may result both improved protection and the discovery of others.

An information sheet, which includes a description of the plant, its habitat type, threats and management actions has been produced. The preparation of a poster illustrating all Critically Endangered flora species in the District is recommended. Formal links with local naturalist groups and interested individuals will be encouraged.

Action: Promote community awareness
Responsibility: DCLM (Moora and Merredin Districts, Corporate Relations) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost: $500 in the first year and $1,500 in the second year.

14. Recovery Plan

If the taxon is still ranked as Critically Endangered at the end of the fourth year of the five-year term of this Interim Recovery Plan, the need for a full Recovery Plan or a review of this IRP will be assessed and a plan prepared if necessary.

Action: Review this IRP and the need for a full Recovery Plan
Responsibility: The Department (WATSCU, Moora, Merredin & Katanning Districts) through the relevant recovery teams
Cost: $22,200 in the fifth year (if required).