National recovery plan for the Woolly Wattle (Acacia lanuginophylla)
Department of Environment and Conservation, Species and Communities Branch (SCB), Kensington
- National recovery plan for the Woolly Wattle (Acacia lanuginophylla) (PDF - 261 KB) | (RTF - 1.9 MB)
- Scientific Name: Acacia lanuginophylla
- Common Name: Woolly Wattle
- Family: Mimosaceae
- Flowering Period: July - October
- DEC Region: Wheatbelt
- DEC District: Katanning and Yilgarn
- Shire: Lake Grace and Yilgarn
- Recovery Team: Katanning and Yilgarn District Threatened Flora Recovery Teams
Illustrations and/or further information:
Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998) Western Australia’s Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia. pp 63; Maslin, B.R, (2001). Mimosaceae, Acacia part 2. Flora of Australia Volume 11B. Melbourne: ABRS/CSIRO Publishing: pp 32; Cowan, R.S. and Maslin, B.R. (1990). Acacia Miscellany 1. Some oligoneurous species of Acacia (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae: Section Plurinerves) from Western Australia. Nuytsia 7(2): 194; Western Australian Herbarium FloraBase 2 – Information on the Western Australian Flora. Department of Conservation and Environment, Western Australia. Accessed 2006. http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/science/
Acacia lanuginophylla was declared as Rare Flora in 1991 under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and is currently ranked as Vulnerable (VU) under World Conservation Union (IUCN 2001) Red List criterion D2 due to its restricted distribution and number of locations. Acacia lanuginophylla is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The main threats are senescence and the lack of a suitable disturbance regime, road, rail, powerline and firebreak maintenance, salinity, clearing of grade banks for water catchment, rubbish dumping, and stock degradation and grazing.
Acacia lanuginophylla is known from nine populations (fifteen subpopulations) totaling 5483 plants in the Shires of Lake Grace and Yilgarn. Ninety eight percent of plants are located in DEC’s Katanning District and two percent in its Yilgarn District. In this area, seventy five percent of native vegetation has been cleared for agriculture (Beeston et al. 1996).
Since 1991, the number of mature Acacia lanuginophylla plants in wild populations has decreased from a high of over 10,000 to the current 5483 plants, a decrease of over 45%. The reduction in the number of mature plants is believed to be due to senescence and poor recruitment resulting from a lack of suitable soil disturbance such as fire stimulating germination of soil stored seed.
One population and eight subpopulations of Acacia lanuginophylla occur in disturbed ground on road reserves (subpopulations 1b, 5b, 5c, 5e, 6a, and Population 8), rail reserves (subpopulations 1a), and water reserves (subpopulations 5a and 5d); two populations and five subpopulations are located on private property (populations 7 and 9; subpopulations 2b, 5f, 6b-d); two populations are located on Unallocated Crown Land (populations 3 and 4), and two subpopulations are located in nature reserves (subpopulations 2a and 2c). Thus, a total of 88% of plants are on private property, 4% in water reserves, 3% in nature reserves, 2% on Unallocated Crown Land, 1.4% on rail reserves and 0.6% on road reserves.
Acacia lanuginophylla is a small to medium shrub 0.5 to 1.2 m high, dense to open, domed, erect or spreading. The branchlets are densely white-woolly, with new shoots yellow-green. The phyllodes are narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblong-oblanceolate, 1.5 to 4 cm long, 3.5 to10 mm wide, greyish green, densely woolly, with three main longitudinal nerves and with prominent longitudinal secondary nerves connecting with one another in between, the venation is obscured by indumentum, the gland is 2 to 6 mm above an enlargement below the base of the leaf. The inflorescences are simple, one per axil, the peduncles 2 to 4 mm long and woolly, the basal bract is persistent, the heads globular, 5 to 7 mm in diameter, thirty to thirty one flowered and golden, the bracteoles have a stalk, and are ovate, taper slightly to a protracted point, and protrude in the bud. The flowers are five-merous and the sepals free. The pods are oblong, up to 2.5 cm long, and 6 to 7 mm wide, they are hard, thin and brittle, with dense woolly hair. The seeds are elliptic, 3 mm long and tan, the aril is subapical (Maslin 2001).
Acacia lanuginophylla is closely related to Acacia cassicula, but is distinguished by the dense, woolly hair that covers most parts of the plant including the pods (Maslin 2001).
Acacia lanuginophylla occurs in broad drainage channels in areas of open mallee over low scrub. Soils are sand overlying loams and clays.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations:
Given that Acacia lanuginophylla is ranked as Endangered (EPBC Act), it is considered that all known habitat for wild populations is critical to the species survival, and that all wild populations are important populations. Habitat critical to the survival of A. lanuginophylla includes the area of occupancy of extant populations, areas of similar habitat (i.e sand overlying loams and clays in broad drainage channels supporting open mallee over low scrub), remnant vegetation that surrounds populations (this is necessary to allow maintenance and access for pollinators) and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain the species or be suitable for future translocations.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities:
Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Acacia lanuginophylla will also improve the status of associated native vegetation which is dominated by Eucalyptus salmonophloia, E. calycogona, Melaleuca uncinata, M. acuminata and M. elliptica. Three other threatened and priority flora occur with A. lanuginophylla and these are listed in the table below.
Threatened and Priority flora species occurring in habitat of Acacia lanuginophylla
|Species name||Conservation Status (Western Australia)||Conservation Status (EPBC Act 1999)|
|Acacia auratiflora||DRF, Vulnerable||Endangered|
|Eremophila veneta ms||Priority 4||Endangered|
|Bentleya spinescens||Priority 4||Endangered|
For a description of the Priority categories see Atkins (2005), DRF – Declared Rare Flora.
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. Acacia lanuginophylla is not listed under any specific international treaty however, and therefore this recovery plan does not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements.
Role and interests of Indigenous people:
Involvement of the Indigenous community is being sought through the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and the Department of Indigenous Affairs to assist in the identification of cultural values for land occupied by Acacia lanuginophylla, or Indigenous groups with a cultural connection to land that is important for the species’ conservation and to determine whether there are 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 recovery plan. Where no role is identified in the development of the recovery plan for the Indigenous community associated with Acacia lanuginophylla, 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 impact:
The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impacts. However, as some populations are located on private property, their protection has the potential to affect farming activities. Where populations are located on private property, recovery actions refer to continued liaison between stakeholders with regard to these areas.
Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include WestNet Rail, the Shire of Lake Grace and owners of private property.
Evaluation of the plan’s performance: DEC in conjunction with the Katanning and Yilgarn District Threatened Flora Recovery teams will evaluate the performance of this recovery plan. In addition to annual reporting on progress and evaluation against the criteria for success and failure, the plan will be reviewed following four years of implementation.
Existing Recovery Actions:
The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented:
- Land managers including private land owners, WestNet Rail and Shires with populations on their property have been made aware of the threatened nature of this species, its location and their legal obligations to protect it.
- Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at Populations 1a, 1b, 2a, 2c, 5b, 5c, 6a and 8.
- Population 2b, Population 7 (in part), and Population 9 have been fenced from stock.
- The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) and DEC’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) have seed in storage.
- The Yilgarn District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (YDTFRT) and Katanning District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (KDTFRT) are overseeing the implementation of this recovery plan and will include information on progress in their annual reports to DEC’s Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
- Staff from DEC’s Katanning and Yilgarn Districts are monitoring all known populations.
Recovery plan objective:
The objective of this recovery plan is to abate identified threats and maintain or enhance viable in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the species in the wild.
Criteria for success:
The number of populations have increased and/or the number of mature individuals have increased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
Criteria for failure:
The number of populations have decreased and/or the number of mature individuals have decreased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Monitor populations
- Liaise with relevant land managers
- Conduct further surveys
- Fence populations
- Install DRF markers
- Collect seed and other material to preserve genetic diversity
- Develop and implement fire and disturbance trials
- Develop and implement a fire management strategy
- Seek security of tenure
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Undertake weed control
- Map habitat critical to the survival of Acacia lanuginophylla
- Promote awareness
- Review the recovery plan and the need for further recovery actions