Prasophyllum stellatum (Ben Lomond 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 stellatum (Ben Lomond 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 data available against this criterion.

Criterion 2 - Geographic distribution

The geographic distribution of the species is precarious for the survival of the species and very restricted. The area of occupancy is 3ha and extent of occurrence is 0.03km2. The species is confined to a single population containing 40 mature individuals. Continuing decline in the area, extent and quality of habitat, the number of populations and the number of mature individuals is projected due to ongoing logging and grazing operations.

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 40 individuals in a single population. As continuing declines in the area, extent and quality of habitat, the number of populations and the number of mature individuals are projected due to ongoing logging and grazing operations 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 population recorded to number 40 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 number of mature individuals (40) that has been recorded in dedicated field surverys is extremely low. The species exists as a single population with an area of occupancy of 3ha which is very restricted and precarious for the survival of the species in the face of ongoing projected declines due to logging and grazing operations. 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:

Prasophyllum stellatum (Ben Lomond Leek-orchid)