Gingin Wax (Chamelaucium sp. Gingin) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Gillian Stack and Val English
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 ten percent or more.
Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by ten percent or more.

3. Recovery actions

Existing recovery actions

All land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of the species. The notification details the Declared Rare status of Chamelaucium sp. Gingin and the associated legal responsibilities.

Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at all roadside populations. These serve to alert people working in the vicinity to the presence of DRF, and the need to avoid work that may damage it in that area. The Shire of Gingin and the Shire of Chittering have been informed of the placement of these markers and their importance in the conservation of this species.

Fencing has been completed around Populations 1b, 2a and 5. Most populations are protected by boundary fences, with stock excluded from paddocks that contain Chamelaucium sp. Gingin. There has previously been evidence of trampling near Population 1a, but information provided to landholders appears to have helped to prevent a recurrence of this problem.

One landholder who had this species on his property was fostering the species as an attractive native garden plant before the species was declared as rare, and has made and shared many observations regarding this taxon's biology and ecology. In 1996, he transplanted several seedlings to Hollywood Reserve near Nedlands, Perth. One survived to flower in 1999. This is considered to be cultivated rather than a wild or translocated population, as it was not undertaken under an approved translocation proposal with due consideration of genetic and ethical issues.

Survey has indicated that Population 1a occurs in the Threatened Ecological Community, 'Banksia attenuata woodlands over species rich dense shrublands' (Gibson et al. 1994; English and Blyth 1997). This private land was purchased by the Department with assistance from Environment Australia in 1999. It was intended that this area become a Nature Reserve, but this process has been delayed by negotiations with a mining company who has mineral interests in the area concerned.

Another block containing Population 4b was purchased more recently, and is also in the process of becoming a Nature Reserve. Both new acquisitions are currently being managed as conservation reserves.

Dieback samples have been taken from one Population to confirm Phytophthora presence. There is visual evidence that the disease is affecting surrounding habitat, but it does not appear to be impacting on Chamelaucium sp Gingin. In addition, initial laboratory testing indicates that the species is highly susceptible to Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Approximately 1650 seeds have been collected from Populations 1b, 1c and 3 since 1995, and stored in the Department's Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) at -18°C. Staff of the TFSC test the viability of seed soon after collection and again after one year in storage. The initial germination rate of Chamelaucium sp. Gingin seed has varied across collections from 10 to 60%. After one year in storage the germination rate has ranged from nil to 22% (unpublished data A. Cochrane). Germinants from these trials are delivered to Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) nursery for maturation into full plants.

The BGPA currently have 86 plants of Chamelaucium sp. Gingin from three clones. Cuttings of this species show moderate success, with strike rates between 10% and 34% (personal communication A. Shade ).The species was successfully cultivated by several other nurseries, but due to lack of commercial interest it only exists as stock plants in several gardens.

A double-sided information sheet has been produced, and includes a description and photos of Chamelaucium sp. Gingin, its habitat, threats, and recovery actions. This is being distributed to the community through local libraries, wildflower shows and other avenues. It is hoped that this may result in the discovery of new populations.

Staff from the Department's Swan Region regularly monitor all populations of this species.

The Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT) is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in its annual report to the Department's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

6 Amanda Shade, Horticulturalist, Botanic Garden and Parks Authority

Future recovery actions

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

1. Coordinate recovery actions

The Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT) will coordinate recovery actions for Chamelaucium sp Gingin and other Declared Rare flora in the region. They will include information on progress in their annual report to the Department's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action: Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility: The Department (Swan Region) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: Moderate
Cost: $600 per year

2. Map critical habitat

It is a requirement of the EPBC Act that spatial data relating to critical habitat be determined. Although critical habitat is described in Section 1, the areas as described have not yet been mapped and that will be done under this action. If any additional populations are located, then critical habitat will also be determined and mapped for these locations.

Action: Map critical habitat
Responsibility: The Department (Swan Region, WATSCU) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: Moderate
Cost: $2000 in the first year

3. Seek long-term protection of habitat

Liaison with land managers and landowners will continue to help ensure that populations are not accidentally damaged or destroyed. This will include information about dieback hygiene practices and why these are necessary. In addition, negotiations will continue with regard the future management of habitat that is covered by mineral leases.

Ways and means of improving the security of populations and their habitat will also be investigated. This may include conservation covenants through a range of agencies, the Land for Wildlife scheme, possibly land acquisition, and maintenance of Declared Rare Flora markers on road reserves and near powerlines.

  • Action: Seek long-term protection of habitat
  • Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills and Swan Coastal Districts) through the SRTFCRT
  • Priority: Moderate
  • Cost: $3,200 in the first year and $2,700 in subsequent years

4. Complete reservation process

Two parcels of land have been purchased from landholders with the intention of these areas becoming Nature Reserves. The first contains Population 1a, and the other contains Population 4b. Although the purchase of both blocks is now complete, the process of them becoming Nature Reserves is still underway.

One block in particular (containing Population 1a) is affected by negotiations with a mining company over the possibility of mining this area. Liaison will continue between stakeholders, including the mining company, the Department of Industry and Resources (previously Department of Mineral and Petroleum Resources), and the Natural Heritage Trust who supplied a grant to assist with purchase of the land for conservation purposes.

Action: Complete reservation process
Responsibility: The Department (Land and External Funding Unit, Environmental Protection Section,Perth Hills and Swan Coastal Districts) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: High
Cost: $2,000 in the first year

5. Develop and implement a fire management strategy

Fire results in destruction of above-ground growth in mature plants. Field evidence suggests that the plants then produce suckers which take up to five years to become reproductive. It is likely that the species requires occasional fire for recruitment from soil-stored seed. However, frequent fire may prevent the accumulation of sufficient soil-stored seed for recruitment to occur. Fire also promotes the introduction and proliferation of weed species. Fire has occurred relatively recently in many populations, and should therefore be prevented from occurring in the area of populations, except where it is being used experimentally as a recovery tool. A fire management strategy will be developed to determine fire control measures and a recommended fire frequency.

Action: Develop and implement a fire management strategy
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills and Swan Coastal Districts) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: Low
Cost: $2,300 in first year and $1,000 in subsequent years

6. Monitor populations

Annual monitoring of factors such as habitat degradation (including weed invasion, plant diseases such as Phytophthora cinnamomi), population stability (expansion or decline), pollination activity, seed production, recruitment, longevity and predation is essential. For roadside populations, the visibility of DRF markers will also be monitored and their visual prominence maintained.

Weeds and rabbits are a minor threat at many Chamelaucium sp. Gingin populations. These factors will be monitored to determine if and when action is required.

Action: Monitor populations
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills and Swan Coastal Districts) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: High
Cost: $2000 per year

7. Collect seed and cutting material

Preservation of germplasm is essential to guard against extinction if wild populations are lost. Some seed has been collected from Populations 1 and 3 but further collections are required from those and other populations to maximise the genetic diversity of the material in storage, and also 'update' the material as the shelf life of this seed in storage seems relatively low. At this time cuttings will also be obtained to add to the number of clones in the living collection at the BGPA.

Action: Collect seed and cutting material
Responsibility: The Department (TFSC) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: Moderate
Cost: $3,400 in first, third and fifth years

8. Conduct further surveys

There have been extensive surveys for this species since 1988, when it was first recognised as a distinct species. However, there are still areas that contain suitable habitat that have not been surveyed, particularly on private lands. Further surveys by Departmental staff and community volunteers will be conducted during the flowering period of the species (May and October to February).

Action: Conduct further surveys
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills and Swan Coastal Districts) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: Low
Cost: $2,300 in second and fourth years

9. Promote awareness

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the need for the long-term protection of wild populations of this species will be promoted to the community through poster displays and the local print and electronic media. Formal links with local naturalist groups and interested individuals will also be encouraged. An information sheet has been produced, and will be distributed through wildflower shows and Shire libraries.

Action: Promote awareness
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills and Swan Coastal Districts) through the SRTFCRT
Priority: Moderate
Cost: $500 per year

10. Obtain biological and ecological information

Improved knowledge of the biology and ecology of Chamelaucium sp. Gingin will provide a better scientific basis for its management in the wild. An understanding of the following is particularly necessary for effective management:

  1. Soil seed bank dynamics and the role of various disturbances (including fire), competition, rainfall and grazing in germination and recruitment.
  2. The pollination biology of the species.
  3. The requirements of pollinators.
  4. The reproductive strategies, phenology and seasonal growth of the species.
  5. The population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size.
  6. The impact of weeds and control methods on Chamelaucium sp. Gingin and its habitat.
  7. The impact of dieback disease and control techniques on Chamelaucium sp. Gingin and its habitat.
  • Action: Obtain biological and ecological information
  • Responsibility: The Department (Science Division) through the SRTFCRT
  • Priority: Low
  • Cost: $22,000 per year in the second, third and fourth years