Genoplesium firthii (Firth's Midge-orchid)

Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) on Amendments to the list of Threatened Species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

1. Scientific name, common name (where appropriate), major taxon group

Genoplesium firthii (Firth's Midge-orchid)

2. National Context

The species is endemic to Tasmania. The species is currently listed as endangered under the EPBC Act. It is currently listed as rare under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 199. It is proposed for listing as endangered under that Act.

3. How judged by TSSC in relation to the EPBC Act criteria.

TSSC judges the species to be eligible for listing as critically endangered under the EPBC Act. The justification against the criteria is as follows:

Criterion 1 - Decline in numbers

There is no quantitative data available against this criterion.

Criterion 2 - Geographic distribution

The geographic distribution of the species is precarious for the survival of the species and is very restricted. The area of occupancy is 0.02ha and extent of occurrence is 0.014km2. The species is known from two locations, though the species has not been seen at one site for the past three decades and mature individuals are therefore known from a single population. Continuing decline in the area, extent and quality of habitat, the number of populations and the number of mature individuals is projected due to fire regimes, roadside slashing at vulnerable times, inappropriate disturbance, weed invasion and the vulnerability of small populations to stochastic disturbance events.

Therefore, the species is eligible for listing as critically endangered under this criterion.

Criterion 3 - Population size and decline in numbers or distribution

The total number of mature individuals is very low, dedicated field surveys having identified a total of 12 individuals in a single remaining population. As continuing decline in the area, extent and quality of habitat, the number of populations and the number of mature individuals is projected due to fire regimes, roadside slashing at vulnerable times, inappropriate disturbance, weed invasion and the vulnerability of small populations to stochastic disturbance events, the population size and geographic distribution is precarious for the survival of the species.

Therefore, the species is eligible for listing as critically endangered under this criterion.

Criterion 4 - Population size

The number of mature individuals is extremely low with the total population recorded to number 12 mature individuals.

Therefore, the species is eligible for listing as critically endangered under this criterion.

Criterion 5 - Probability of extinction in the wild

There is no quantitative data available against this criterion.

4. Conclusion

The species exists in extremely low numbers (12). The geographic distribution, area of occupancy being 0.02ha and extent of occurrence, 0.014km2, is very restricted and precarious for the survival of the species in the face of projected declines due to fire regimes, roadside slashing at vulnerable times, inappropriate disturbance, weed invasion and the vulnerability of small populations to stochastic disturbance events. The species is eligible for listing as critically endangered under criteria 2, 3 and 4.

5. Recommendation

TSSC recommends that the list referred to in section 178 of the EPBC Act be amended by
transferring from the endangered category to the critically endangered category:

Genoplesium firthii (Firth's Midge-orchid)