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

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 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.

3. Recovery Actions

Existing recovery actions

All relevant land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of the taxon. The notification details the Declared Rare status of Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua and associated legal obligations.

The current managers of the station have mustered feral goats to reduce their numbers.

Approximately 2250 seeds were collected from Population 1 in 2001. These have been found to have high viability with an initial germination rate of 90% (unpublished data Anne Cochrane (Manager, CALM's Threatened Flora Seed Centre). The seed is stored in CALM's Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) at 18C. Additional seed was collected in 2003. This has not been processed yet, and so the quantity and viability of that seed are as yet unknown.

Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) currently holds 0.31 g of seed from a single plant. Seven plants in the Botanic Garden that are derived from the same clone are now approximately 4 years old (Amanda Shade, Horticulturalist, Botanic Garden and Parks Authority, pers. comm.).

Staff from CALMs Geraldton District regularly monitor all populations of this taxon.

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.

Future recovery actions

Where populations occur on lands other than those managed by CALM, permission has been or will be sought from appropriate land managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken. The following recovery actions are roughly in order of descending priority; however this should not constrain addressing any of the priorities if funding is available for lower priorities and other opportunities arise.

1. Coordinate recovery actions

The Geraldton District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (GDTFRT) will coordinate recovery actions for Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua and other Declared Rare Flora in their district. They will include information on progress in their annual report to CALMs Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action:Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility:CALM (Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$1,000 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 redressed 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:CALM (Geraldton District, WATSCU) through GDTFRT
Cost:$1,000 in the first year

3. Liaise with relevant land managers

Staff from CALM's Geraldton District will continue to liaise with relevant land managers to ensure that populations are not accidentally damaged or destroyed, and that the impact of stock and feral goats is minimised. Grazing pressure will be of particular significance after any fires in the populations. Water harvesting has not been raised as a possibility, but if the issue arises, CALM will seek to ensure that the design will not affect populations of this taxon. 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. Input and involvement will also be sought from any indigenous groups that have an active interest in other areas that are habitat for E. crucis subsp. praecipua.

Action:Liaise with relevant land managers
Responsibility:CALM (Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$800 per year

4. Monitor populations

Annual monitoring of factors such as habitat degradation (including feral goat damage or weed invasion), population stability (expansion or decline), pollination activity, seed production, recruitment and longevity is essential. Regeneration of any burnt population will be monitored, and will provide useful information for management.

If goat damage is found to be increasing, action may need to be taken with regard to fencing to protect the health of the habitat, and particularly to protect any potential germinants. Goat mustering will also ideally continue to reduce goat numbers.

It is considered that the low recruitment rate is natural for such a long-lived taxon. This will not pose a problem for the future viability of the taxon provided that the adult plants remain healthy and producing seed. Plants may live for 600 or 1200 years, and a high rate of recruitment is not necessary for a population to remain viable. However, if plant health declines in the future action may be needed to stimulate germination by disturbance such as a management burn. Any germinants would then need to be protected from grazing to provide the best chance of juveniles recruiting to the population, and this may include consideration of the need for fencing.

Action:Monitor populations
Responsibility:CALM (Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$1,200 per year

5. Conduct further surveys

Community volunteers will be encouraged to be involved in further surveys supervised by CALM staff. The time of year is not particularly important as the taxon is conspicuous and readily identifiable by bark type when not in flower. Records of areas surveyed will be sent to Wildlife Branch and retained at the district, even if no new populations of E. crucis subsp. praecipua are located.

Action:Conduct further surveys
Responsibility:CALM (Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$1,900 per year in the first, third and fifth years

6. Collect seed

It is necessary to store germplasm as a genetic resource, ready for use in translocations and as an ex situ genetic blueprint of the taxon. The germplasm stored will include seed and live plants in cultivation. Some seed has been collected from Populations 1a and 1c but additional collections are required from these and other populations to maintain adequate representation of the existing genetic diversity of this taxon.

Action:Collect seed
Responsibility:CALM (TFSC, Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$1,000 in the second and fourth years

7. Develop and implement a fire management strategy

It is thought likely that adult plants of this taxon resprout after fire. Fire probably drives germination flushes, allowing recruitment from seed if the germinants survive subsequent conditions. Typically, resprouters show rapid and high mortality of the high numbers of post-fire germinants. E. crucis subsp. lanceolata has been found to fit this pattern (Yates et al., 2003). However, such long-lived species usually have many such chances to recruit new individuals before adults reach senescence, and Dr C. Yates considers that neither presence nor absence of fire are a threat at this time.

Frequent fire may deplete the lignotubers of adult plants, and kill fire-stimulated juveniles before they can recruit into the population. If a population is burnt, population and habitat regeneration will be monitored. Whatever measures possible will be implemented in cooperation with the leaseholders to ensure the population is not burnt again before plants reach maturity and produce seed for a number of years. Possible measures will vary with the location of the population, but may involve installation of firebreaks or fire suppression.

No recruitment has been noted in this taxon, but this is likely to be quite normal for a long-lived eucalypt. If the health of the adult plants declines in future, a fire or other disturbance is likely to be required to stimulate regeneration of adults and germination of seed. Grazing will ideally be excluded post-fire to maximise the chances of some juveniles recruiting.

Action:Develop and implement a fire management strategy
Responsibility:CALM (Geraldton District) in cooperation with the leaseholders, through GDTFRT
Cost:$2,500 in the fifth year, if required

8. Promote awareness

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 will be produced, and will include a description of the plant, its habitat, threats, recovery actions and photos. This will be distributed to the public through CALMs Geraldton District office and at the office and library of the Shire of Yalgoo. Such information distribution may lead to the discovery of new populations.

Action:Promote awareness
Responsibility:CALM (Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$1,700 in first year, and $500 per year in subsequent years

9. Obtain biological and ecological information

Improved knowledge of the biology and ecology of Eucalyptus crucis subsp. praecipua will provide a scientific basis for its management in the wild. An understanding of the population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and gene flow, and minimum viable population size is desirable.

Action:Obtain biological and ecological information
Responsibility:CALM (Science Division, Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$8,000 per year in the second, third and fourth years

10. Review the need for further recovery actions

At the end of the fourth year of its five-year term this Interim Recovery Plan will be reviewed and the need for further recovery actions will be assessed.

Action:Review the need for further recovery actions
Responsibility:CALM (WATSCU, Geraldton District) through GDTFRT
Cost:$200 in the fifth year