National recovery plan for the Silky Frankenia (Frankenia conferta)
Department of Environment and Conservation, Kensington, 2009
- Scientific Name: Frankenia conferta Diels
- Common Name: Silky Frankenia
- Family: Frankeniaceae
- Flowering Period: October
- DEC Regions: Wheatbelt, Midwest
- DEC Districts: Avon Mortlock, Geraldton, Moora
- Shires: Koorda, Dalwallinu, Perenjori, Coorow
- Recovery Teams: Avon Mortlock, Moora and Geraldton districts Threatened Flora Recovery Teams
Illustrations and/or further information:
Atkins, K. (2008) Declared Rare and Priority Flora List for Western Australia, Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia; Barnsley, B. (1982) Frankeniaceae p112-146. Flora of Australia Volume 8 Lecythidales to Batales. Commonwealth of Australia, New South Wales; Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998) Western Australia’s Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Western Australian Herbarium (2007) FloraBase - Information on the Western Australian Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia. http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/science/ .
Frankenia conferta was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in August 2001 and currently meets World Conservation Union (IUCN 2001) Red List Category Vulnerable (VU) under criteria B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) due to the limited area of occupancy and number of locations, and a continuing decline in the area, extent and/or quality of habitat. The main threat to the species is changes to hydrology from rising salinity and waterlogging. The species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Frankenia conferta is a small shrub with the stems, leaves and calyx covered with short, soft hairs. The stalkless, linear leaves are clustered at the nodes of the stem. They are 2 to 5 mm long, 1 mm wide and their margins are recurved to cover the midrib. Each pair of leaves is united by a sheath, edged with fine hairs. Flowers are grouped in dense heads at the tops of the branches. The calyx is a pleated tube, 3.5 to 4.7 mm long. The flowers are 6 to 8mm long and have five petals, which are usually pale pink. There are six stamens and the style branches into 3 linear segments. There are three placentas on the walls of the ovary, each with five to seven ovules attached. The seed is covered with small protuberances (Brown et al. 1998).
Frankenia conferta is widely distributed between Koorda, Dalwallinu, Perenjori and Coorow, growing in clayey soils on the edge of salt lakes.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Habitat critical to the survival of the species includes the area of occupancy of important populations; areas of similar habitat surrounding important populations (i.e. among other halophytic shrubs on clay sands with gypsum or white-grey shallow sand over clay) provide potential habitat for natural range extension and are necessary to provide habitat for pollinators; the local catchment of the surface and possibly ground waters that maintain the habitat of the species; and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain the species or be suitable sites for future translocations.
On the basis of current knowledge it appears that all the populations of this species are important. This will need to be reappraised when further survey for possible new populations has been completed and also after the results of genetic studies are known.
Benefits to other species/ecological communities:
There are no other known listed threatened species or ecological communities in the habitat of Frankenia conferta. However, recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of populations of F. conferta are likely to also improve the status of habitat in which populations are located.
This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity that was ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia’s responsibilities under that Convention. The species is not listed under any specific international treaty and this Interim Recovery Plan (IRP) does not affect Australia’s obligations under these international agreements.
Involvement of the Indigenous community is being sought through the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and the Department of Indigenous Affairs to assist in the identification of cultural values for land occupied by Frankenia conferta, or groups with a cultural connection to land that is important for the species’ conservation, and to determine whether there are any issues or interests identified in the plan. A search of the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register has identified that there are no sites of Aboriginal significance at or near populations of the species covered by this IRP. Where no role is identified for the indigenous community associated with this species in the development of the recovery plan, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation and awareness of the species. Indigenous involvement in the implementation of recovery actions will be encouraged.
Continued liaison between DEC and the indigenous community will identify areas in which collaboration will assist implementation of recovery actions.
Social and economic impacts:
The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social or economic impacts. However, as one population (Population 8) is located on a Shire Reserve its protection may potentially affect Shire activities. In addition, exploration licences have been applied for in the areas containing populations 5 and 7 and subpopulations 6a and 6b. Actions will involve liaison and cooperation with all stakeholders with regard to these areas.
Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include the Shire of Koorda, as managers of the land that contains Population 8.
Evaluation of the Plans Performance:
DEC will evaluate the performance of this IRP in conjunction with the Avon Mortlock, Moora and Geraldton districts Threatened Flora Recovery Teams. 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.
Completed recovery actions
- Land managers have been notified of the location and threatened status of the species.
- An article on the rediscovery of Frankenia conferta appeared in the March/April 2001 Newsletter of the former Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM).
- A survey of Frankenia conferta and a number of other rare wheatbelt species was undertaken in spring 2003. Five new populations of the species were located (Papenfus 2003).
- Research into the population characteristics of Frankenia conferta was undertaken in 2003/2004 by staff from the Species and Communities Branch (Harris 2004).
Ongoing and future recovery actions
- Staff from DEC's Avon Mortlock, Moora and Geraldton Districts regularly monitor populations of this species.
- The Avon Mortlock, Moora and Geraldton districts Threatened Flora Recovery Teams (MDTFRT, MDTFRT & GDTFRT) are overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in their annual reports to DEC's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
The objective of this IRP is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the species in the wild.
Criteria for success:
The number of populations have increased or individuals within populations have increased by ten percent or more over the five year term of this plan.
Criteria for failure:
The number of populations have decreased or individuals within populations have decreased by ten percent or more over the five year term of this plan.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Map habitat
- Conduct further surveys
- Collect seed
- Monitor populations
- Monitor salinity and groundwater levels
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Promote awareness
- Achieve long-term protection of habitat
- Liaise with relevant land managers
- Review the IRP and assess the need for further recovery actions