National recovery plan for the East Lynne Midge Orchid (Genoplesium vernale)
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, May 2002
ISBN 0 731 36253 5
There is no evidence to suggest that the distribution of the East Lynne Midge Orchid extended beyond its current known range. It is apparent, however, that localised activities such as the construction of roads, forestry tracks and utility easements have destroyed habitat and individuals within this distribution in the past. For example, at the Type locality at East Lynne, road works and the laying of a communication cable directly impacted on that population. The clearing of vegetation for farming and other developments may have also removed some habitat.
Until recently, the species did not occur on any reserves or land that was managed specifically for conservation, however twelve of the known sites are now known to occur within NPWS Reserves, representing approximately half of the total number of East Lynne Midge Orchid sites. Of the known sites in State Forest, 41% occur in non-harvesting areas (Forestry Management Zone (FMZ) 2) where there appears to be little immediate threat, and 59% occur in harvesting areas (FMZ 4). Forestry land designated FMZ 2 is for the specific management and protection of natural and cultural conservation values, i.e. non-harvesting areas and Forestry land designated FMZ 4 is for management of timber production, i.e. harvesting areas. The terms of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA) for the Southern Region and any Species Specific Management Plan that may arise under the auspices of that approval should ensure the longer term protection of the East Lynne Midge Orchid where it occurs on State Forests in FMZ 4 areas.
The IFOA includes the following species specific prescriptions aimed at protecting the East Lynne Midge Orchid (listed in section 6.16.2 of the licence):
Where there is a record of the species within the compartment or within 20 metres outside the boundary of the compartment, the following must apply:
- A 10 metres radius exclusion zone must be implemented around all individuals.
- An additional 10 metres width buffer zone must be implemented around all the exclusion zones established above. Limited operations (snigging and selective tree removal) may be conducted within the buffer zone. Hazard reduction burning must be excluded from the buffer zone.
This prescription may in some circumstances affect road upgrades that come within 20 metres of known East Lynne Midge Orchid populations. If these activities cannot meet the required conditions, there are mechanisms available to vary the licence conditions. These mechanisms include formulating either a Species Specific Management Plan or Site Specific Management Plan. Such Plans must be approved by the NPWS. This approval would be considered only after consultation with the Recovery Team.
- A Recovery Team was established by the NPWS and met for the first time on 30 July 1998.
- Officers of SFNSW and NPWS conducted surveys for the species in November and December 1998. An additional 18 populations were found.
- Two signs were erected by the RTA to identify the type locality as a significant native vegetation area.
- A survey was conducted in November and December 2000 by an NHT-funded botanist and an Officer from SFNSW. An unpublished report has been compiled which details all data obtained, including the nine additional sites supporting the East Lynne Midge Orchid discovered during this survey.
- Four permanent monitoring sites were established in November 2000 across the range of known populations and all individuals in these plots have been marked and will be monitored for at least the next five years. In addition, eight research plots were established in recent extensions to the Murramurang National Park to assist in determining the response of this species to fire. The four control plots at this site will also serve as permanent monitoring plots.
- On the 14th April 2001, four of the eight plots established to assist in determining the response of this species to fire were burnt by NPWS staff.
- A nomination was prepared and submitted for listing the East Lynne Midge Orchid as Vulnerable on Schedule 2 of the TSC Act. This nomination was successful and the East Lynne Midge Orchid was preliminarily listed as Vulnerable on the TSC Act by the Scientific Committee on the 1st June, 2001.
- A nomination was prepared for down-listing the East Lynne Midge Orchid from Endangered to Vulnerable on the EPBC Act. This nomination was successful and the East Lynne Midge Orchid was listed as Vulnerable on the EPBC Act by the Commonwealth Scientific Committee on the 4th October, 2001.