Quartz-loving Synaphea (Synaphea quartzitica) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no. 128
Gillian Stack and Val English
Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, 2003


  • Scientific name: Synaphea quartzitica
  • Common name: Quartz-loving Synaphea
  • Family: Proteaceae
  • Flowering period: July - August
  • Dept region: Midwest
  • Dept district: Moora
  • Shire: Moora
  • Recovery team: Moora district threatened flora recovery team

Illustrations and/or further information

Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (eds) (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; George, A. S. (1995). Synaphea. Flora of Australia 16: 271-315; Harding, M.G. and Lamont, B.B. (2001) Conservation biology of the rare Synaphea quartzitica and common Synaphea spinulosa. Department of Environmental Biology, Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia.

Current status

Synaphea quartzitica was declared as rare flora in July 1998, and was ranked as critically endangered in Western Australia in November 1998. There has since been a perceived decline in level of threat to the species due to reservation of the biggest population and it is now recommended for listing as endangered (EN) under criterion D (World Conservation Union (IUCN) 2000)) due to the low number of plants. Synaphea quartzitica is also listed as endangered under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The species is known from four populations, with a total of less than 350 plants, many of which form part of clumps that are assumed to be clones, so it is likely that there are fewer than 200 genetically distinct individuals. The species is threatened by grazing, inappropriate fire regimes and possibly mining.

An interim recovery plan was developed for the species in 1999 (Stack and English 1999). Information accumulated since that plan was completed has been incorporated into this plan and this document now replaces Stack and English (1999).

Population 1 of Synaphea quartzitica occurs within a plant community listed as endangered in Western Australia. This IRP will therefore be implemented in conjunction with the IRP for the community described as 'Heath dominated by one or more of Regelia megacephala, Kunzea praestans and Allocasuarina campestris on ridges and slopes of the chert hills of the Coomberdale Floristic Region' (Hamilton Brown 1999), in which population 1 of Synaphea quartzitica occurs.

Critical habitat

The critical habitat for Synaphea quartzitica comprises the area of occupancy of the known populations; similar habitat within 200 metres of known populations; remnant vegetation that links populations and additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the species but may have done so in the past and may be suitable for translocations.

Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations

Given that this species is listed as critically endangered it is considered that all known habitat for wild and translocated populations is habitat critical.

Benefits to other species/ecological communities

Population 1 is located within an occurrence of a threatened ecological community, and other declared rare flora (DRF) (Acacia aristulata (DRF), Daviesia dielsii (DRF) also occur in the vicinity of population 1. Acacia aristulata is listed as endangered, and Daviesia dielsii as vulnerable under the EPBC Act. Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Synaphea quartzitica population 1 are likely to improve the status of the threatened ecological community in which this population is located, and populations of other listed species that occur in the same habitat.

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 Synaphea quartzitica 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 is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impacts. There are mineral leases over the area that contains population 1 of Synaphea quartzitica, however, an agreement has been negotiated with the mining company with regard to the future management of the area that contains the habitat of the population. Recovery actions refer to continued liaison between stakeholders with regard to this area.

Evaluation of the plan's performance

The Department of Conservation and Land Management, in conjunction with the recovery team will evaluate the performance of this IRP. In addition to annual reporting on progress with 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

Synaphea quartzitica is currently known from a range of approximately 40 linear km in the Moora - Watheroo area. It grows on the slopes of chert hills in open heath with Melaleuca radula and Kunzea species, adjacent to tall shrubland of Allocasuarina campestris. At Population 1, this species occurs with Acacia aristulata (DRF), Daviesia dielsii (DRF), Acacia congesta subsp. cliftoniana (Priority 1), Baeckea sp. Moora (Priority 3) and Regelia megacephala (Priority 4) and is part of the Endangered Heath community on the chert hills of the Coomberdale Floristic Region (Hamilton-Brown 2000).

Existing recovery actions

The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented:

  1. All appropriate people have been made aware of the location and threatened status of the species.
  2. Declared rare flora markers have been installed at population 2.
  3. Dashboard stickers and posters describing the significance of declared rare flora markers have been produced and distributed.
  4. Negotiations to acquire the area on which population 1 occurs as a Nature Reserve are well advanced.
  5. Staff of the Department's Threatened flora seed centre attempted, largely unsuccessfully, to collect seed in 1997 and again in 1998.
  6. An information sheet that describes and illustrates the species has been produced.
  7. Staff from the Department's Moora district regularly monitor populations of the species.
  8. Detailed investigations have been undertaken into the species' population sizes, reproductive biology and growth rates
  9. The Moora district threatened flora recovery team is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in an annual report to the department'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 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

Recovery actions

  1. Coordinate recovery actions
  2. Preserve genetic diversity of the species
  3. Undertake hand-pollination trials
  4. Undertake disturbance and watering trials
  5. Install DRF markers
  6. Control rabbits
  7. Seek to transfer care, control and management
  8. Conduct further surveys
  9. Monitor populations
  10. Liaise with land managers
  11. Obtain biological and ecological information
  12. Develop and implement fire management strategy
  13. Promote awareness
  14. Review the need for a full recovery plan