Western prickly honeysuckle (Lamberta echinata subsp. Occidentalis) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no. 133
Gillian Stack & Andrew Brown
Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, 2003

Summary

Scientific Name: Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis Common Name: Western Prickly Honeysuckle
Family: Proteaceae Flowering Period: October - December
Dept Region: South West Dept District: Blackwood
Shire: Busselton Recovery Team: South West Region Threatened Flora Recovery Team (SWRTFRT)

Illustrations and/or further information: A. Brown, C. Thomson-Dans and N. Marchant (Eds) (1998) Western Australia's Threatened Flora; V. English (1999) Shrubland Association on Southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstone, Draft Interim Recovery Plan; G.J. Keighery (1997) A new subspecies of Lambertia echinata (Proteaceae). Nuytsia, 11 (2): 283-284.

Current status: Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis was declared as Rare Flora in October 1996 and ranked as Critically Endangered in November 1998. It currently meets World Conservation Union (IUCN, 2000) Red List Category 'CR' under criteria A2c,B1+2ce,C1,D as it is known from a single wild population comprised of less than 100 mature individuals and there is a continuing decline in the quality of the habitat due to Phytophthora cinnamomi infection. The main threats to the subspecies are disease, inappropriate fire regimes, mineral sand mining, waterlogging, weeds and rabbit grazing.

Critical habitat: The critical habitat for Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis comprises the area of occupancy of the known population; area of occupancy of translocated populations; similar habitat within 200 metres of known and translocated populations; corridors of remnant vegetation that link populations; the local catchment area; and additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the species but may have done so in the past and may still be suitable for further translocations.

Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Given that this subspecies is listed as Threatened it is considered that all known habitat for wild and translocated populations is habitat critical.

Benefits to other species/ecological communities: Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis occurs on the threatened ecological community "Shrubland Association on Southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstones (Busselton Area)". Also, several other threatened plant taxa (Brachysema papilio, Petrophile latericola, Chamelaucium roycei ms, Dryandra squarrosa subsp. argillacea and Dryandra nivea subsp. uliginosa) will benefit from recovery actions put in place for the subspecies. Recovery actions for this subspecies will also improve the condition of the associated remnant bushland.

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 Australia's responsibilities under that Convention. However, as Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis is not listed under any international agreement, the implementation of other international environmental responsibilities is not affected by this plan.

Role and interests of indigenous people: There are no known indigenous communities interested or involved in the management of areas affected by this plan. Therefore no role has been identified for indigenous communities in the recovery of this species.

Social and economic impacts: The implementation of this recovery plan has the potential to have some minimal economic impact as the subspecies occurs in an area adjacent to a Mining tenement.

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

Habitat requirements: Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis is known from a single wild population at the base of the Whicher Range where it is confined to highly restricted ironstone habitat. The habitat is a winter-wet area of shrubland over shallow sandy soils over ironstone. The plant association in which the taxon occurs is the Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) 'Shrublands on southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstones', which is ranked Critically Endangered (English 1999).

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

  1. Appropriate land managers have been notified of the presence and threatened status of the taxon.
  2. Seed has been collected from Population 1 on several occasions, and is stored in DCLM's Threatened Flora Seed Centre at -18°C.
  3. The Botanic Garden and Parks Authority currently have 88 plants of Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis from six clones.
  4. An experimental translocation has been implemented in stages in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. Plantings during the translocation have occurred in the area of the original population and in two newly vested Nature Reserves.
  5. In 1997 staff of DCLM's Science Division took samples that positively identified the presence of the plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi (dieback) in the habitat of the subspecies.
  6. To combat dieback disease, the site containing the Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis population was first sprayed with phosphite in April 1998. This action is ongoing.
  7. Implementation of the recovery actions outlined in the IRP for the TEC 'Shrublands on southern Swan Coastal Plain Ironstones' (English 1999) has commenced and is ongoing. Actions being put in place to protect this community also protect Lambertia echinata subsp. occidentalis.
  8. An information sheet that describes and illustrates the taxon, threats and recovery actions has been produced.
  9. A separate information sheet describing and illustrating the TEC in which it occurs has also been produced.
  10. Blackwood District staff have produced a map that defines areas that are not available for commercial wildflower picking to help prevent illegal picking in the area of the population.
  11. Staff from DCLM's Blackwood District regularly monitor wild and translocated populations of the taxon.
  12. The South West Region Threatened Flora Recovery Team is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in an annual report to DCLM's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

IRP Objective: 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.

Recovery criteria
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.

Recovery actions
1. Coordinate recovery actions 10. Continue rabbit control
2. Maintain disease hygiene 11. Conduct further surveys
3. Apply phosphate every two years and monitor impact 12. Collect seed and cutting material
4. Map critical habitat 13. Obtain biological and ecological information
5. Implement the fire management strategy 14. Stimulate the germination of soil-stored seed
6. Continue translocation 15. Promote awareness
7. Liaise with land managers 16. Review the need for a further recovery actions and/or a full Recovery Plan
8. Monitor population 17. Rehabilitate habitat, if necessary
9. Continue weed control