National recovery plan for Zieria lasiocaulis

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2002
ISBN 0 731 36892 4

5. Disturbance

5.1 Human disturbance

The major disturbance affecting the habitat of Z. lasiocaulis in the recent past was associated with timber harvesting. Prior to declaration of Willi Willi National Park, logging and roading occurred in the habitat of Z. lasiocaulis. An increased fire frequency and reduced fire intensity may have been associated with these operations.

All the known habitat of Z. lasiocaulis is now within Willi Willi National Park, therefore no further timber harvesting will occur. Continued disturbance may occur from hazard reduction burning, road and track maintenance and potential development of recreational facilities.

5.2 Stochastic disturbance

The area in which Z. lasiocaulis occurs contains large stands of rainforest, suggesting that wildfire is infrequent.

Natural disturbances affecting the habitat of Z. lasiocaulis include wildfire, wind throw of trees, and soil slip or erosion. These types of disturbances may stimulate seed germination (section 4.2).

5.3 Effect of disturbance

Although the germination of Z. lasiocaulis seed appears to be favoured by disturbance (section 4.2), the effect of increased frequency and/or intensity of disturbance on soil seed-banks and long term sustainability of populations is not known. Low intensity disturbances, particularly fire, may be insufficient to stimulate germination, and may result in a population decline if adult plants are killed. If repeated disturbances that kill adult plants occur before recruits have matured and replenished the soil seed-bank, populations will decline. Conversely, if disturbance is too infrequent (taking into account plant and soil seed-bank longevity), populations may also decline due to lack of recruitment and senescence of mature plants (Vaughton 1998). There is no information on population dynamics for Z. lasiocaulis.

6. Habitat

6.1 Physiography and substrate

The area where Z. lasiocaulis occurs is part of the rugged, steeply dissected eastern escarpment between the coast and the tablelands. Most of the populations of Z. lasiocaulis occur on a ridge separating the Macleay River and Hastings River catchments. This ridge is characterised by steep slopes with several cliff lines. One of the populations occurs just west of Mount Banda Banda on a small plateau with more gentle topography. Populations of Z. lasiocaulis occur at altitudes between 750 and 1,100 metres.

The geology of most of the area of Z. lasiocaulis habitat is monzodiorite (a fine grained volcanic rock). The soil that results from these parent rocks is generally a red/brown krasnozem of moderate fertility and high clay content (Truyard Pty Ltd 1993).

6.2 Climate

The climate of the area is temperate to subtropical. There is no accurate weather information available for the area in which Z. lasiocaulis occurs but mean annual rainfall is probably about 2,000 millimetres (Forestry Commission of NSW 1989), and mean maximum temperatures probably vary between about 220C in summer and about 120C in winter (Truyard Pty Ltd 1993). Frosts would be occasional and snow occurs rarely at higher elevations such as Mount Banda Banda.

6.3 Vegetation

The area in which Z. lasiocaulis occurs supports a mosaic of vegetation communities, including cool temperate and warm temperate rainforest, tall open and open forest, and shrublands on rock outcrops.

Examples of the vegetation communities where Z. lasiocaulis populations occur are listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Species commonly associated with Z. lasiocaulis
Vegetation type (and locality) Common species
Cool Temperate Rainforest (Loop Road) Nothofagus moorei
Ceratopetalum apetalum
Orites excelsa
Tasmannia insipida
Blechnum wattsii
Lomandra spicata
Tall Open Forest(Mount Banda Banda) Eucalyptus oreades
Eucalyptus campanulata
Callicoma serratifolia
Elaeocarpus reticulatus
Blechnum wattsii
Drymophila moorei
Tall Open Forest(Marowin Mountain, Banda Trail and North Wilson Road) Eucalyptus campanulata
Eucalyptus laevopinea
Acacia elata
Callicoma serratifolia
Banksia integrifolia ssp. monticola
Goodenia ovata
Hibbertia dentata
Warm Temperate Rainforest Regrowth(Main Range Road) Acacia melanoxylon
Ceratopetalum apetalum
Callicoma serratifolia
Orites excelsa
Gonocarpus oreophilus
Warm Temperate Rainforest(south-east of Marowin Mountain summit) Doryphora sassafras
Callicoma serratifolia
Nothofagus moorei
Ceratopetalum apetalum
Cyathea leichhardtiana
Lomandra spicata
Parsonsia purpurascens
Blechnum cartilagineum

7. Relevant legislation

Z. lasiocaulis occurs only on National Park estate. The Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 does not apply to land that is dedicated or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act), and is therefore not applicable to Z. lasiocaulis.

Relevant legislation includes:

  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
  • NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • NSW Rural Fires Act 1997
  • Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The interaction of the above legislation with the TSC Act is varied. The most significant implications are described below.

7.1 National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

The NPW Act regulates activities within National Parks and Nature Reserves and therefore applies to areas within Willi Willi National Park that contain Z. lasiocaulis. This act also requires that a licence must be obtained to propagate or sell Z. lasiocaulis.

The NPW Act and TSC Act require that any proposal to 'pick', or damage the habitat of a threatened plant, must be approved by NPWS, unless the activity has been granted consent or approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, or is being undertaken in accordance with the Rural Fires Act 1997 or the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989. 'Pick' means to gather, pluck, cut, pull up, destroy, poison, take, dig up, remove or injure the plant or any part of the plant. If a proposal is likely to have a significant impact on Z. lasiocaulis or its habitat then a Species Impact Statement must be prepared.

7.2 Rural Fires Act 1997

A Bush Fire Management Committee must prepare a draft bush fire management plan for each rural fire district. The plan may restrict or prohibit the use of fire or other particular fire hazard reduction activities in all or specified circumstances or places to which the plan applies.

7.3 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The EPBC Act regulates actions that may result in a significant impact on nationally listed threatened species and ecological communities. It is an offence to undertake any such actions in areas under State or Territory jurisdiction, as well as on Commonwealth-owned areas, without obtaining prior approval from the Commonwealth Environment Minister. As Z. lasiocaulis is listed nationally under the EPBC Act, any person proposing to undertake actions likely to have a significant impact on this species should refer the action to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for consideration. The Minister will then decide whether the action requires EPBC Act approval.

7.4 Critical habitat

The TSC Act makes provision for the identification and declaration of critical habitat for species, populations and ecological communities listed as endangered. To date, critical habitat has not been declared for Z. lasiocaulis under the TSC Act. If declared, it becomes an offence to damage critical habitat (unless the action is specifically exempted by the TSC Act) and a species impact statement is mandatory for all developments and activities proposed within critical habitat.

Under the EPBC Act, critical habitat may be registered for any nationally listed threatened species or ecological community. When adopting a recovery plan the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment must consider whether to list habitat identified in the recovery plan as being critical to the survival of the species or ecological community. On Commonwealth land, it is an offence under the EPBC Act for a person to knowingly take an action that will significantly damage critical habitat (unless the action is specifically exempted by the EPBC Act). However an action which is likely to have a significant impact on a listed species is still subject to referral and approval under the EPBC Act.

7.5 Recovery plan preparation and implementation

Recovery plan preparation

The TSC Act requires that the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife (NPW) prepare recovery plans for all species, populations and ecological communities listed as endangered or vulnerable on the TSC Act schedules. This recovery plan satisfies these provisions.

Similarly, the EPBC Act requires the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment ensure the preparation of a recovery plan for nationally listed species and communities or adopt plans prepared by others including those developed by state agencies. Both Acts include specific requirements for the matters to be addressed by recovery plans and the process for preparing recovery plans.

This recovery plan has been prepared to satisfy both the requirements of the TSC Act and the EPBC Act. It is the intention of the Director-General of NPW to forward this recovery plan to the Commonwealth Minister of the Environment for adoption, once it has been approved by the NSW Minister for the Environment.

Recovery plan implementation

The TSC Act requires that a government agency must not undertake actions inconsistent with a recovery plan. The government agency responsible for the implementation of this recovery plan is the NSW NPWS.

The EPBC Act specifies that a Commonwealth agency must not take any action that contravenes a recovery plan.