Paynes Find Mallee (Eucalyptus crucis subsp. Praecipua) Interim Recovery Plan 2004-2009

Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit (WATSCU)
© The Western Australian, Department of Conservation and Land Management, 2004

Foreword

Interim Recovery Plans (IRPs) are developed within the framework laid down in Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) Policy Statements Nos. 44 and 50.

IRPs outline the recovery actions that are required to urgently address those threatening processes most affecting the ongoing survival of threatened taxa or ecological communities, and begin the recovery process.

CALM is committed to ensuring that Critically Endangered taxa are conserved through the preparation and implementation of Recovery Plans or Interim Recovery Plans and by ensuring that conservation action commences as soon as possible and always within one year of endorsement of that rank by the Minister.

This Interim Recovery Plan will operate from June 2004 to May 2009 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that this IRP will be reviewed after five years.

This IRP was given regional approval on 4 June, 2004 and was approved by the Director of Nature Conservation on 22 June, 2004. The allocation of staff time and provision of funds identified in this Interim Recovery Plan is dependent on budgetary and other constraints affecting CALM, as well as the need to address other priorities.

Information in this IRP was accurate in June 2004.

Summary

Scientific Name: Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua Common Name: Paynes Find Mallee
Family: Myrtaceae Flowering Period: August - November
CALM Region: Midwest CALM District: Geraldton
Shire: Yalgoo Recovery Team: Geraldton District Threatened Flora Recovery Team

Illustrations and/or further information: Brooker, M.I.H. and Hopper, S.D. (1993) New series, subseries, species and subspecies of Eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) from Western Australia and from South Australia. Nuytsia 9(1), 1-68; Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds) (1998) Western Australias Threatened Flora, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Sampson, J.F., Hopper, S.D. and James, S.H. (1988) Genetic Diversity and the Conservation of Eucalyptus crucis Maiden. Australian Journal of Botany 36, 447-460.

Current status: Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua was declared as Rare Flora in July 1989. It is currently ranked as Endangered (EN) under World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List criterion D (IUCN 2000), as less than 250 mature individuals are known. Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua is also listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The main threat is grazing by feral goats, with inappropriate fire regimes and lack of recruitment posing a potential threat in the long term.

Description: Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua is a large erect mallee (or sometimes single-stemmed tree) to 15 m tall with stems to about 30 cm diameter. It has thick, grey, rough bark on lower stems, and red-brown minni ritchi bark above. Young branchlets are smooth, white and glaucous. Juvenile leaves remain opposite for many nodes, lack a petiole and are more or less round with a conspicuous mucro. Intermediate leaves are opposite or nearly so, and are ovate with small petioles. Adult leaves are alternate, on slender petioles, and are lanceolate to narrow-lanceolate tapering to a fine, sometimes curved point, with many minute black oil dots. Inflorescences are cream-yellow, axillary and 7-flowered, with slender petioles and peduncles. Buds are glaucous with an obtusely or acutely conical operculum that is lost early in bud development. Fruits are 8-13 mm long and 14-20 mm in diameter (Brooker and Hopper 1982; Brooker and Hopper 1993; Nicolle 2001).

Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua differs from subspecies lanceolata in the larger adult leaves, buds and fruits (Brooker and Hopper 1993). In addition, a study by Sampson et al. (1988) found that the genetic distance between the morphologically similar Eucalyptus crucis subsp. lanceolata and Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua was much larger than the distance of Eucalyptus crucis subsp. lanceolata from the morphologically dissimilar Eucalyptus crucis subsp. crucis.

Habitat requirements: Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua is currently known from a single granite outcrop in the Paynes Find area. It occurs on red-brown loam over granite in woodland with Allocasuarina campestris, Acacia sp., Dodonaea spp. and sedges.

Critical habitat: The critical habitat for Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua comprises the area of occupancy of the known populations; similar habitat within 200 metres of known populations; corridors of remnant vegetation that link populations and additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the taxon but may have done so and may be suitable for translocations.

Habitat critical to the survival of the taxon, and important populations: Given that this taxon is listed as Endangered, it is considered that all known habitat for wild and translocated populations is habitat critical to its survival, and that all wild and translocated populations are important populations.

Benefits to other species or ecological communities: Acacia cerestes and Baeckea sp. Paynes Find are both Priority 1 species that occur in the habitat of Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua. These species appear to be rare but are poorly known, and need further survey to clarify their conservation status before they can be formally gazetted rare. Recovery actions such as reducing goat numbers in the vicinity of E. crucis subsp. praecipua populations will also help protect the plant community in which the populations are located.

International obligations: This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australias responsibilities under that convention. The taxon is not listed under any specific international treaty, however, and therefore this IRP does not affect Australias obligations under any other international agreements.

Role and interests of indigenous people: An Aboriginal Corporation holds the pastoral lease over the rocky habitat in which Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua occurs. The Corporation is involved in the conservation of these populations and also a proposed Indigenous Protected Area elsewhere on the station. The granite rock on which these populations occur is listed as a ceremonial and mythological site on the Register of Aboriginal Sites maintained by the Department of Indigenous Affairs. Artefacts are also associated with this site. Input and involvement will be sought from any indigenous groups that have an active interest in the areas that are habitat for E. crucis subsp. praecipua, and this is discussed in the recovery actions.

Social and economic impact: The implementation of this recovery plan has the potential to have some limited social and economic impact as both populations of Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua occur on a pastoral lease. Negotiations between stakeholders will continue with regard to the future management of these populations.

Evaluation of the plans performance: The Department of Conservation and Land Management in conjunction with the Geraldton District Threatened Flora Recovery Team will evaluate the performance of this IRP. In addition to annual reporting on progress with listed actions and comparison against the criteria for success and failure, the plan is to be reviewed within five years of its implementation.

Existing Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented:

  1. Relevant land managers have been made aware of the location and threatened status of the taxon.
  2. The managers of the station on which Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua occurs have mustered feral goats to reduce numbers.
  3. Approximately 2250 seeds were collected from Population 1 in 2001 and are stored in CALMs Threatened Flora Seed Centre at 18C. Additional seed was collected in 2003.
  4. The Botanic Garden and Parks Authority currently hold 0.31 g seed from a single plant, and 7 plants in the Botanic Gardens derived from the same clone are approximately 4 years old.
  5. Staff from CALMs Geraldton District regularly monitor all populations of the taxon.
  6. The Geraldton District Threatened Flora Recovery Team is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in its annual report to CALM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

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

Recovery criteria

Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased or remained stable over the period of the plans adoption under the EPBC Act.

Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased over the period of the plans adoption under the EPBC Act.

Recovery actions:

  1. Coordinate recovery actions
  2. Map critical habitat
  3. Liaise with relevant land managers
  4. Monitor populations
  5. Conduct further surveys
  6. Collect seed
  7. Develop and implement fire management strategy
  8. Promote awareness
  9. Obtain biological and ecological information
  10. Review the need for further recovery actions