Round-leafed Honeysuckle (Lambertia orbifolia subsp. Orbifolia ms) 2002-2007

Interim Recovery Plan No. 115
Robyn Phillimore and Andrew Brown
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 subspecies in the wild.

Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased.
Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased.

3. Recovery actions

Existing recovery actions

Private property owners and the Shire have been formally notified of the location and threatened nature of the subspecies. This notification details the Declared Threatened status of the taxon and associated legal responsibilities.

Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at Population 1 and Subpopulations 2a, 2b and 3a. These alert workers to the presence of the threatened flora and help prevent accidental damage during maintenance operations. An awareness of these markers is being promoted to Shires with dashboard stickers and posters produced and distributed. These illustrate DRF markers, inform of their purpose and provide a contact telephone number to use if such a marker is encountered.

Approximately 1356 seeds were collected from Population 1 between 1985 and 1996. During the same period a further 2237 seeds were collected from Population 2. These seeds are stored in the Department's Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) at -18°C. Forty-five out of 51 (88%) of germinants received by the Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) from the TFSC have survived with another planting having 100% survival (personal communication A. Shade ¹).

In 1998, 216 seedlings of Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms were planted into a Conservation Reserve in Narrikup, in accordance with an approved Translocation Proposal (Coates et al., 1998). The seedlings originated from seed that was collected by the TFSC and grown by the BGPA. The translocation is being conducted on an experimental basis, and will provide information about effective techniques for future translocations. In 1998, three treatments were tested, light mulch, thick mulch and gro-cones. Monitoring included the number of surviving germinants, height, crown width, reproductive state, number of inflorescences and follicles, presence of second generation plants and general health and was undertaken every two months. Further planting's were subsequently undertaken and included 358 plants (82 from cuttings propagated at the BGPA and 248 from seed) in 1999 and 69 plants in 2000. Many of these plants were caged to protect them from grazing. Preliminary monitoring data of seedlings planted in 1998 suggests that there was little difference in the survival between the treatments, only on the rate of growth. Those in gro-cones grew taller and wider than those with thick mulch (Monks & Coates, 2000).

An Honours project on Lambertia orbifolia was undertaken by L. Sage from Curtin University. The research objectives were to:

  1. Assess plant size and population age structure.
  2. Assess flowering and factors affecting seed production, viability and longevity.
  3. Assess population recruitment patterns with particular reference to the impact of fire and plant disease.
  4. Assess population health in relation to fungal pathogens and insect attack.

Staff of Science Division undertook research on the genetic structure and mating systems of Lambertia orbifolia between 1996 and 1997.

To control Phytophthora cinnamomi, Populations 1 and 2 were sprayed with phosphite in autumn/winter 1994 and 1995. At this time, new plants were discovered in several areas and these were sprayed in August 1995. Due to the continuing threat of dieback the Department's Albany District staff will continue spraying these areas as part of its phosphite spraying program. Staff from the Departments Albany District Office regularly monitors populations in relation to the impact of Phytophthora cinnamomi and the effectiveness of phosphite application.

An article and drawing of the Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms was placed in the Albany Advertiser and Narrikup News in April 2000.

Staff from the Department's Albany District attended the Department of Agriculture's, Wilson Inlet Catchment field day and gave an oral presentation on Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms and provided the Community Landcare Coordinator with posters.

Subpopulations 2a and 2b have been fenced.

The Albany District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (ADTFRT) is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include it in its annual report to the Department's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Future recovery actions

Where populations occur on lands other than those managed by the Department, permission has been or will be sought from the appropriate land managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken.

1. Coordinate recovery actions

The ADTFRT will continue to oversee the implementation of recovery actions for Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms and will include information on progress in its annual report to the Department's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action: Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $400 per year.

2. Apply phosphite

Both Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms and the community in which it grows are suspected to be susceptible to Phytophthora cinnamomi. The department will continue applying phosphite to those areas that are infected. Application to the whole associated community will have the added benefit of protecting a number of other threatened plant species in the area and will help the community as a whole.

Action: Apply phosphite
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District, Dieback Disease Coordinator) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $13,900 in first third and fifth years.

3. Install fencing

Fences will be erected around Subpopulations 2b, 2c, 2d and 2e and will include a buffer of surrounding habitat to protect Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms from possible future grazing.

Action: Install fencing
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $5,900 in the first year.

4. Propagate plants for translocation

The propagation of plants for translocation is essential as all extant populations are under threat in the wild.

Action: Propagate plants for translocation
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District, TFSC), and the BGPA through the ADTFRT
Cost: $1,400 in first and second years.

5. Undertake further translocations

As the number of extant plants is low and populations are not secure from threats, including disease and inappropriate fire, further translocations are essential for the plants long-term conservation. Although translocations are generally undertaken under full Recovery Plans, a translocation proposal has been written and approved (Coates et al., 1998), and implementation has begun. The Department will continue implementing this proposal under the direction of the ADTFRT. Information on the translocation of threatened animals and plants in the wild is provided in the Department's Policy Statement No. 29 Translocation of Threatened Flora and Fauna. All translocation proposals require endorsement by the Director of Nature Conservation.

Action: Undertake further translocations
Responsibility: The Department (Science Division, Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $8,700 per year for the first three years.

6. Implement weed control

Weeds are a minor threat to roadside populations. The following actions will be implemented:

  1. Selection of appropriate herbicides after determining what weeds are present.
  2. Controlling invasive weeds when they first emerge by hand removal or spot spraying.
  3. Scheduling weed control to include spraying at other threatened flora populations within the district.

The tolerance to herbicides of other native plant species in the area of Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms is not known and weed control programs will be undertaken in conjunction with research.

Action: Implement weed control
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District, Science Division) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $700 per year.

7. Develop and implement a fire management strategy

It is thought that fire kills adult plants of the subspecies and regeneration is largely from seed. Frequent fire may prevent the accumulation of sufficient soil stored seed for recruitment to occur. Fire should therefore be prevented from occurring in this area at least in the short term. A fire management strategy will be developed to determine fire control measures and fire frequency.

Action: Develop and implement a fire management strategy
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $2,300 in first year and $1,000 in subsequent years.

8. Monitor populations

Annual monitoring of factors such as habitat degradation (including the impact of dieback and the effectiveness of Phosphite application), population stability (expansion or decline), weed invasion, pollination activity, seed production, recruitment, longevity and predation is essential.

Action: Monitor populations
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $1,800 per year.

9. Conduct further surveys

Further surveys supervised by departmental staff and with assistance from local naturalists and wildflower society members will be conducted during the plants flowering period (November to May).

Action: Conduct further surveys
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $3,200 per year.

10. Collect seed

Preservation of germplasm is essential to guard against possible future extinction of wild populations. Seed collections are also needed to propagate plants for translocations. Seed has been collected from Populations 1 and 2 but additional seed is required from all populations.

Action: Collect seed
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District, TFSC) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $2,700 per year for the first three years.

11. Liaise with land managers

Staff from the Department's Albany District will continue liaison with land managers and adjacent landowners to ensure that populations are not damaged or destroyed accidentally. Due to the potential susceptibility of the plants habitat to dieback, the need for hygiene procedures will be included in information provided to land managers. This will stress the need to restrict soil movement and vehicular activity in the habitat of the subspecies.

Action: Liaise with land managers
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $1,200 per year.

12. Achieve long-term protection of habitat

Ways of achieving long-term protection of land on which Subpopulations 2c, 2d and 2e occur will be investigated. Possible methods of achieving this include covenanting and land purchase.

Action: Achieve long-term protection of habitat
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: To be determined

13. Obtain biological and ecological information

An increased knowledge of the biology and ecology of Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms will provide a scientific basis for its management in the wild. Investigations will include:

  1. Study of the soil seed bank dynamics and the role of various fire, competition, rainfall and grazing in recruitment and seedling survival.
  2. Investigating the impact of dieback and subsequent control techniques on the subspecies and its habitat.

Action: Obtain biological and ecological information
Responsibility: The Department (Science Division, Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $5,000 per year.

14. Promote awareness

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the need for the long-term protection of wild populations of the Critically Endangered species Lambertia orbifolia subsp. orbifolia ms will be promoted to the community by a publicity campaign through the local print and electronic media and poster displays. 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 type, threats, management actions and photos will be produced.

Due to the susceptibility of the habitat and this species to dieback, the need for dieback hygiene procedures will be included in information provided to visitors to sites where the species occurs.

Action: Promote awareness
Responsibility: The Department (Albany District, Corporate Relations) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $1,100 in first year and $700 in subsequent years.

15. Write a full Recovery Plan

At the end of the fourth year of the five-year term of this Interim Recovery Plan, the need for further recovery will be assessed. If ranked as Critically Endangered at that time a full Recovery Plan will be developed that prescribes actions required for its long-term recovery.

Action: Write a full Recovery Plan
Responsibility: The Department (WATSCU, Albany District) through the ADTFRT
Cost: $18,100 in the fifth year.