Boscabel Conostylis (Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim Recovery Plan No. 150
Bethea Loudon
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 taxon 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

The managers of land containing all subpopulations have been notified of the location and threatened status of Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys. The notification details the Declared Threatened status of the taxon and the associated legal responsibilities.

The large expanse of privately owned natural bushland containing Population 1B has been fenced for a very long time. The current owners have been in possession of the land for almost 20 years and are very conservation minded having purchased the land for its natural bush.

Sixty-three seeds were collected from Population 1C in December 1999 and 70 seeds from Population 2 also in December 1999. Many fruits were reported to be predated and the seed aborted. This, along with low levels of seed production resulted in the low number of seed collected. Seeds are stored in DCLM'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 Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys seed was 0% and 11% using a sample from each site consisting of only ~10 seeds. Tests after one year of storage have not been conducted due to the low amount of seed available and the poor germination rates (pers. comm. A. Cochrane, 2002).

The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) currently have 8 plants of Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys growing in their Nursery. These plants originate from a single clone, the original plant being grown from seed in 1993 and the subsequent plant divided. Records of the propagation method used to germinate this seed are not available. Propagation of this taxon by cuttings has resulted in medium success, with results from division having roughly the same rate of success. Apart from the occurrence above, only one other record of propagation from seed exists. The BGPA received one seedling from the TFSC in 2000, however this plant did not survive for long perhaps due to its tiny size and fragility (pers. comm. A. Shade, 2003).

Staff from DCLM's Katanning District regularly monitor all populations of this taxon.

The Katanning District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (KDTFRT) is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in its annual report to DCLM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Future recovery actions

As all subpopulations occur on non-departmental property, permission has been or will be sought from the land owners/managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken.

1. Coordinate recovery actions

The KDTFRT will continue to oversee the implementation of recovery actions for Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys and will include information on progress in its annual report to DCLM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action: Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT

Cost: $500 per year

2. Liaise with land managers

Renotify or personally liaise with all land owners/managers concerned and reiterate the critical nature and presence of Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys to ensure its long-term existence.

Action: Liaise with landowners/managers
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $300 in first year

3. Establish DRF markers

Reposition DRF markers for Population 1D (south verge) and install markers for extension of Population 1A and 1D (north verge).

Action: Reposition and install markers
Responsibility: DCLM (TFSC, Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $450 in the first year and $150 in subsequent years

4. Collect seed and cutting material

Preservation of germplasm is essential to guard against extinction if wild populations are lost. Such collections are also needed to propagate plants for possible future translocations. Some seed has been collected from Population 1C and 2 but further collections from both populations is necessary to expand the range of genetic material available and to ensure the species is adequately represented in storage. At this time cuttings will also be obtained to enhance the living collection at the BGPA.

Action: Collect seed and cutting material
Responsibility: DCLM (TFSC, Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $3,000 for the first two years and $1,000 in subsequent years

5. Control rabbits,, monitor rabbit activity and numbers

Rabbit control is required at Population 1D and the west part of 1B near the powerlines. Regular monitoring of other sites for evidence of increased rabbit numbers and grazing is necessary. If the threat increases, rabbit control will be implemented in consultation with the land managers.

Action: Rabbit control and monitoring
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $200 per year

6. Monitor populations

Annual monitoring of factors such as population stability (expansion or decline), habitat degradation, pollinator activity, seed production, recruitment, longevity and predation is essential. Particular attention should be paid to the level of threat posed by weeds and rabbits. If this should increase, appropriate control should be undertaken.

Action: Monitor populations
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $2,000 per year

7. Conduct further surveys

Further surveys by Departmental staff and community volunteers will be conducted during the flowering period of the taxon (October to November). Population 1B and 2 need to be more extensively surveyed to determine the full extent of occurrence and plant numbers of Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys in these areas.

Action: Conduct further surveys
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $2,500 per year

8. Promote awareness, disseminate information

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the need for the long-term protection of wild populations of this taxon 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, which includes a description of the plant, its habitat, threats, recovery actions and photos will be produced.

A reply paid postal drop illustrating Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys and describing its distinctive features and habitat will also be produced and distributed by DCLM's Katanning District office to local farmers and other residents in Shires containing possible habitat of the taxon. Staff from Katanning District will confirm the identification of any populations found through this action. Postal drops aim to stimulate interest, provide information about threatened species and provide a name and number to contact if new populations are found by members of the community.

Action: Promote awareness
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $1,200 in first year and $600 in subsequent years

9. Obtain biological and ecological information

Improved knowledge of the biology and ecology of Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys will provide a better scientific basis for management of the wild populations. An understanding of the following is necessary for effective long-term management:

  1. The soil seed bank dynamics and the role of disturbance (including fire and soil disturbance), competition, rainfall and grazing in recruitment and seedling survival.
  2. The effect of Phytophthora cinnamomi on the species (whether it is resistant or susceptible to the disease).
  3. The pollination biology of the species.
  4. The reproductive needs, phenology and seasonal growth of the species.
  5. The population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size.

Action: Obtain biological and ecological information
Responsibility: DCLM (Science Division, Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $6,000 for the first year and $2000 in subsequent years

10. Weed control

Liaison with the Shire may be required regarding the issue of weed invasion and its control at Population 1C. Presently, the level of threat from weeds in all subpopulations is very low. However, if weed numbers increase there is potential that they will impact on Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys by preventing seed germination, competing for resources, exacerbating grazing pressure, and increasing the risk and severity of fire. If during monitoring it is deemed that the threat from weeds has increased, weed control using appropriate methods will be undertaken in consultation with the land managers.

Action: Weed control
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $500 per year

11. Develop a fire management strategy

There is evidence of fire having occurred within populations of Conostylis setigera subsp. dasys during the last 50 years, however, the precise effect on mature plants, seedlings and soil-stored seed of is not known. If the subspecies is typical of many other Conostylis taxa it is likely that fire will stimulate germination of soil-stored seed. Currently, fire presents a medium level of threat to the taxon as, although the habitat is fire prone, the risk of frequent fire is low and habitat recovery rate moderate-rapid. A fire management strategy will be developed to determine fire control measures and fire frequency.

Action: Develop a fire management strategy
Responsibility: DCLM (Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $1,500 for preparation and $500 for implementation in subsequent years

12. Review this IRP and revise it or prepare a full Recovery Plan if necessary

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 to rewrite this IRP or to replace it with a full Recovery Plan (RP) will be determined.

Action: Review this IRP and revise it or prepare a full Recovery Plan if necessary
Responsibility: DCLM (WATSCU, Katanning District) through the KDTFRT
Cost: $20,000 in the fifth year (if required)