Prasophyllum pulchellum (Pretty Leek-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

Prasophyllum pulchellum (Pretty Leek-orchid)

2. National Context

The species is endemic to Tasmania. The species is currently listed as endangered under the EPBC Act and the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.

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 evidence available against this criterion.

Criterion 2 - Geographic distribution

The species has a limited geographic distribution being reported to have an area of occupancy of 0.3 ha, comprising five populations. A continuing decline in the area, extent and quality of habitat is projected on the basis of agriculture, subdivision, fire regimes and the vulnerability of small colonies to stochastic events. However, as the species is known from more than a single location, and no data is available to indicate that the species is subject to extreme fluctuations in its distribution or population size and structure, there is inadequate data to justify listing on the basis that its geographic distribution is precarious for the survival of the species.

Therefore, the species is not eligible for listing under this criterion.

Criterion 3 - Population size and decline in numbers or distribution

The total number of mature individuals recorded in field surveys is 130, with an upper limit for the population estimated at 250 mature individuals. The largest population is reported to contain 50 individuals. Continuing decline in the population is projected on the basis of agriculture, subdivision, fire regimes and the vulnerability of small colonies to stochastic events.

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

Criterion 4 - Population size

The population is estimated to number between 130 and 250 mature individuals based on field surveys.

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

Criterion 5 - Probability of extinction in the wild

There is no quantitative evidence available against this criterion.

4. Conclusion

The total number of mature individuals very low (between 130 and 250). A continuing decline in the population is projected on the basis of ongoing agriculture, subdivision, fire regimes and the vulnerability of small colonies to stochastic events. The species is eligible for listing as critically endangered under criterion 3.

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:

Prasophyllum pulchellum (Pretty Leek-orchid)