National recovery plan for the Lord Howe Woodhen (Gallirallus sylvestris)

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2002

12. Recovery Objectives and Performance Criteria

12.1 Objectives of the Recovery Plan

This recovery plan is designed to achieve five outcomes:

  • to maintain and, where possible, increase the population level of wild Woodhens on Lord Howe Island;
  • to establish a Lord Howe Island recovery team to co-ordinate the implementation and ongoing review of the recovery plan;
  • to involve the Lord Howe Island community in monitoring, management, habitat rehabilitation and threat abatement;
  • develop a plan for establishing and resourcing an on-island captive breeding facility in the event of a substantial reduction in Woodhen numbers; and
  • to establish captive populations at a sites other than Lord Howe Island as insurance against a catastrophe affecting the wild population.

12.2 Risk Management Framework

This recovery plan has been formulated within a framework of spreading the risk of extinction among a number of 'sub-populations'. The distinction between sub-populations is made for management purposes, notwithstanding likely movements of individuals between them. These are described below.

The southern mountains (PPP) sub-populations represents the Lord Howe Woodhen in its 'pristine' state, with population processes taking their natural course, within a context of reducing island-wide threats (eg. control of feral pests, Masked Owls, weeds).

The settlement area sub-population is more intensively managed through the involvement of the local community, as insurance against serious, natural decline in the southern mountain population.

If total numbers of the Lord Howe Woodhen on Lord Howe Island drop substantially then a captive breeding facility will be established on Lord Howe Island to enable captive-bred releases to supplement the wild population. The population level which will trigger this process will be determined as part of the recovery actions.

An appropriately designed program to establish off-island captive populations at a suitable institution(s) will be implemented as insurance against catastrophe on Lord Howe Island.

12.3 Recovery Performance Criteria

Recovery performance criteria are that:

  • regular monitoring shows that numbers of Woodhens are stable or increasing;
  • a recovery team is established which co-ordinates the implementation and review of the recovery plan;
  • the carrying capacity of the Island for Woodhens and the critical number of Woodhens to trigger an on-island captive breeding program will be determined through analysis of habitat availability and monitoring data within six months;
  • a contingency plan for on-island captive breeding is developed within eighteen months and implemented in the event of a substantial reduction in Woodhen numbers;
  • captive colonies established elsewhere as insurance against catastrophe (eg. disease, cyclone, predation) on Lord Howe Island; and
  • successful establishment of broader community involvement in monitoring and management of threatening processes.