Wing-fruited Lasiopetalum (Lasiopetalum pterocarpum ms) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no. 134
Gillian Stack and Val English
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 species in the wild.

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

3. Recovery actions

Existing recovery actions

All appropriate people have been made aware of the existence of this species and its locations. The National Park Rangers are familiar with the location of this species and its management needs. Water Corporation has been notified of the location and Declared Rare status of Lasiopetalum pterocarpum ms and the associated legal responsibilities.

Searches for this species have been carried out upstream and downstream of the wild population and in other similar habitat close to the population. Students from Joondalup College of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) assisted with surveys conducted in 1999 that were supervised by Departmental staff.

Where there is sufficient distance from flowing water to allow herbicide use, weed control of the watsonia (*Watsonia meriana) has been undertaken. Some control of blackberry and watsonia was achieved with assistance from Environmental Management students from Joondalup TAFE in September 1999, shortly before a hot fire burnt the area on 15th December 1999. Follow-up control by staff from the Department's Perth Hills District on resprouting and germinating weeds has been ongoing, and to date, control of blackberry and watsonia is having a marked effect, and weed numbers are in decline.

A fence was erected around the habitat of Population 1a in early 2000. This has served to prevent trampling of the area while the vegetation re-establishes after the fire. Regeneration has been good, with some native species emerging that were not evident prior to the 1999 fire.

Seed was collected in December 1998 and 1999 from the wild population, and approximately 2700 seeds are now stored in the Department's Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) at -18°C. The 1999 collection was made immediately prior to the wildfire. The TFSC tests viability of the seed initially, after one year in storage and again after five years. The initial viability of these collections ranged from 84% to 97%. After one year in storage the germination rate ranged from 11% to 75% (unpublished data A. Cochrane ¹).

The BGPA currently hold 13 plants of L. pterocarpum ms from three clones. The species demonstrates a generally low strike rate from cuttings, often around 10%, and some plants usually die after potting up (personal communication A. Shade ²;).

A Translocation Proposal was developed in 2001. A suitable translocation site was selected that is as close as possible in character to the existing site, but sufficiently far away that it is unlikely that both sites will be burnt in the same fire.

The propagation of plants in readiness for translocation was initiated prior to the previous plantings and will continue as necessary. A high proportion of the 300 seeds previously collected from Population 1a germinated successfully in October 2000. However, many deaths occurred from unknown causes after germination. Cuttings were also taken from eighty percent of adult plants at Population 1c and propagated by BGPA. A total of 48 plants were planted into the translocation site in June 2001, following good rains in May. Of these, 17 were propagated from cuttings from 6 clones, and 31 from seedlings. The growth of these plants has been vigorous, and they appeared very healthy when monitored in March 2003. Many plants produced flowers in 2002, but it is not known whether they produced viable seed in this first fruiting season.

Staff from the Department's Perth Hills District regularly monitor the wild and translocated populations.

Trials have been conducted to assess the susceptibility of L. pterocarpum ms to Phytophthora cinnamomi. The species appears to have low susceptibility (personal communication C. Crane).

A double-sided information sheet is being distributed to the local community through libraries, wildflower shows and other avenues.

The Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT) is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress 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 appropriate land managers prior to recovery actions being undertaken.

1. Coordinate recovery actions

The Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT) will coordinate recovery actions for L. pterocarpum ms and other Declared Rare flora in the region. They will include information on progress in their annual report to the Department's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.

Action: Coordinate recovery actions
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $400 per year

2. Continue weed control

Following several years of very successful weed control, the previously severe infestation of blackberry (Rubis aff. selmeri), watsonia (Watsonia meriana) and gladioli (Gladiolus undulatus) in the habitat of the wild population has been reduced. However, the weeds are still present, and propagules are continually introduced from infestations upstream of this population. Cottonbush is also an emerging threat. Adult Lasiopetalum pterocarpum ms plants are threatened by competition from weeds, and recruitment is severely threatened. The objectives of weed control are to reduce weed competition and create opportunities for recruitment of the species, and to lessen the fire risk through reduction in fuel loadings. Effective weed control with the use of herbicides and hand removal will continue to be implemented. The tolerance of native plant species to herbicides at L. pterocarpum ms sites is unknown, so caution will be exercised during application.

The proposed strategy is to continue to control the watsonia and gladioli with herbicides, and hand grubbing where necessary. The blackberry will be controlled through slashing and wick application of herbicides in the first two years, and if feasible through careful selective cool burns of the infestation in the second and third years. Ideally, weed control will be extended upstream if resources permit. All applications of weed control in the habitat of the population will be followed by a report on the method, timing and success of the treatment against weeds, and the effect on L. pterocarpum ms and associated native plant species.

Action: Continue weed control
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $3,900 in the first and second years, and $3,400 in subsequent years

3. Restrict access, rehabilitate unauthorised tracks

Foot access to the populations will be restricted to reduce damage to the species and its habitat by trampling. A fence is currently in place preventing access to the portion of the wild population that was burnt in 1999 (Population 1a), and the native vegetation is regenerating well. Small unauthorised access tracks around and through the wild population are an ongoing issue as recreational users attempt to move from one point of the river to others, and will be addressed as necessary. Access will be controlled by placement of brush cut from local species and strategic plantings. The composition of the riparian community will be maintained by using only local provenance seed from species that occur in the habitat of Population 1 in rehabilitation work.

Action: Restrict access, rehabilitate unauthorised tracks
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $3,700 in the first year, and $2,600 in subsequent years

4. Ensure appropriate stream flow and water quality adjacent to populations

Water flows and water quality in the stream adjacent to the wild and translocated populations of Lasiopetalum pterocarpum ms must be adequate to maintain populations and associated habitat, whilst not causing excessive erosion of the stream bank. The Department will liaise with the Water Corporation, and ensure flows and water quality are monitored and are appropriate for Lasiopetalum pterocarpum ms and its habitat.

Action: Ensure appropriate stream flow and water quality adjacent to populations
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $ 700 per year

5. Develop and implement a fire management strategy

It is known that fire kills adult plants of the species and regeneration is from seed. It seems likely that the species requires occasional fire for recruitment from soil-stored seed, but that frequent fires would be detrimental to the long-term survival of the species. Fire also promotes the introduction and proliferation of weed species. Fire should therefore be prevented from occurring in the area of populations, except where it is being used experimentally as a recovery tool. A fire management strategy will be developed to determine fire control measures and recommended fire frequency and intensity.

Action: Develop and implement a fire management strategy
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $2,000 in second year, and $1,000 in subsequent years

6. 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 done 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: The Department (Swan Region, WA Threatened Species and Communities Unit (WATSCU)) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $2000 in the first year

7. Monitor the populations

Monitoring of factors such as habitat degradation (including weed densities, plant diseases such as Phytophthora cinnamomi), population stability (expansion or decline), pollination activity, seed production, recruitment and longevity and predation is essential. The recruitment of Lasiopetalum pterocarpum ms from soil-stored seed as a result of the removal of weeds such as blackberry and watsonia from the habitat, and the requirement for rehabilitation following weed control will be monitored in particular. Both wild and translocated populations will be inspected annually.

Action: Monitor the populations Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT Cost: $1,000 per year

8. Collect seed and cutting material

Preservation of germplasm is essential to guard against extinction if the wild population is lost. Such collections are also needed to propagate plants for translocation. Seed was collected from Population 1a before it was burnt, and cuttings have since been taken from eight of the ten mature plants at Population 1c for propagation for translocation. Seed will also be collected from Population 1c, and material collected from all mature plants in the wild population for BGPA's living collection.

Action: Collect seed and cutting material
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District TFSC,) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $2,300 in the first and second years, and $ 1,000 in subsequent years

9. Conduct further surveys

Community volunteers will be encouraged to be involved in further surveys supervised by Departmental staff. Surveys will be conducted during the species' flowering period (September - November).

Action: Conduct further surveys
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $2,200 in the second and fourth years

10. Continue to implement Translocation Proposal

Translocation is essential for the conservation of this species, as the single small wild population is not secure from threats including weed competition, inappropriate fire and trampling. Information on the translocation of threatened plants and animals in the wild is provided in the Department's Policy Statement No. 29 Translocation of Threatened Flora and Fauna.

The propagation of plants for translocation has been undertaken and will continue as necessary. The first planting of 48 plants has been done and follow-up plantings will occur in accordance with the approved Translocation Proposal. Monitoring of the translocation is essential, and will continue to be done according to the timetable in the Translocation Proposal.

Action: Continue to implement Translocation Proposal
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District, TFSC, WATSCU) and BGPA through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $3,800 in the first and third years, and $1,500 in the second, fourth and fifth years

11. Obtain biological and ecological information

Improved knowledge of the biology and ecology of L. pterocarpum ms will provide a better scientific basis for its management in the wild. An understanding of the following is particularly necessary for effective management:

  1. Soil seed bank dynamics and the role of various disturbances (including fire), competition, rainfall and grazing in germination and recruitment.
  2. The pollination biology of the species.
  3. The requirements of pollinators.
  4. The reproductive strategies, phenology and seasonal growth of the species.
  5. The population genetic structure, levels of genetic diversity and minimum viable population size.
  6. Response of L. pterocarpum ms and its habitat to fire.

Action: Obtain biological and ecological information
Responsibility: The Department (Science Division, Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $16,300 per year in the second, third and fourth years

12. Promote awareness

The importance of biodiversity conservation and the need for the long-term protection of populations of this species 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, and the continuing involvement of groups in implementing recovery actions will also be encouraged.

Action: Promote awareness
Responsibility: The Department (Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $500 per year

13. Incorporate general recovery actions for L. pterocarpum ms into Management Plan for National Park

The general management recommendations for Lasiopetalum pterocarpum ms will be included in the Management Plan for the National Park in which the species occurs. This will include recommendations on weed control, restricting access, maintaining steam flow and water quality, fire management and monitoring. The current Management Plan will expire in 2009 (Department of Conservation and Land Management 2000).

Action: Include general recovery actions in Management Plan for National Park
Responsibility: The Department (Planning Branch, Mundaring District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $2,000 in fifth year.

14. Review the need for further recovery actions and/or a full Recovery Plan

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. If the species is still ranked as Critically Endangered at that time a full Recovery Plan may be required.

Action: Review the need for further recovery actions and/or a full Recovery Plan
Responsibility: The Department (WATSCU, Perth Hills District) through the SRTFCRT
Cost: $20,300 in the fifth year (if full RecoveryPlan required)