Slender Andersonia (Andersonia gracilis) recovery plan
Government of Western Australia, Department of Environment and Conservation
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2008
About the plan
Common Name: Slender Andersonia
Flowering Period: September - November
DEC Region: Midwest, Swan
DEC District: Moora, Swan Coastal
Shire: Dandaragan (Pops 1,3-19)
City: Gosnells (Pop 2)
Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (MDTFRT) and Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT)
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; Lemson, K.L. (2001) The Phylogeny and Taxonomy of Andersonia R.Br. (Ericaceae/ Epacridaceae), Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Western Australia; Evans, R., Willers, N. and Mitchell, D. (2003) Threatened Flora of Swan Region, Unpublished report to the Department of Conservation and Land Management, and Environment Australia; Patrick, S. and Brown, A. (2001) Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Moora District, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; CALM (2003 onwards) Western Australian Herbarium FloraBase 2 - Information on the Western Australian Flora, Department of Conservation and Land Management, W.A., http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/science/.
Andersonia gracilis was declared as Rare Flora (DRF) in November 1997 under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and is ranked as Vulnerable (VU) in Western Australia under World Conservation Union (IUCN 1994) Red List criterion B1+2e due to severe fragmentation of populations and a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals. Populations are restricted to areas of remnant vegetation surrounded by land that has been extensively cleared for urban development and agriculture. Threats include inappropriate fire regimes, rail, road and firebreak maintenance, degraded habitat, dieback disease, mining activities and weeds. The species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Andersonia gracilis is a slender shrub up to 50 cm tall with few, spreading branches. It's narrow, ovate leaves, up to 5 mm long and 1.5 mm wide at the base, have erect or incurved, keeled tips. Pink to pale mauve flowers are clustered in ovoid or oblong groups of 4 to 14 on terminal heads. The sepals are 7 to 9 mm long, exceeding the petals, style and stamens in length. The lobes of the corolla are densely bearded to the tip and are as long as the tube (Brown et al. 1998; Lemson 2001). Additional details are available in the taxonomic description provided in Section 6.
Andersonia gracilis is currently known from the Badgingarra, Dandaragan and Kenwick areas where it is found on seasonally damp, black sandy clay flats near or on the margins of swamps, often on duplex soils supporting low open heath vegetation with species such as Calothamnus hirsutus, Verticordia densiflora and Kunzea recurva over sedges.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations:
The habitat critical to the survival of Andersonia gracilis includes the remnant vegetation in which important populations occur, areas of similar habitat (i.e. winter-wet areas of black, sandy clay flats of open, low heath over sedges) - these areas provide potential habitat for natural range extension and/or for allowing pollinators or biota essential to the continued existence of the species to move between populations; and additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain important populations of the species or be suitable for future translocations or other recovery actions intended to create important populations; and the local catchment for the surface and groundwater that maintains the habitat of the species.
Some populations are considered more important to the species' ongoing survival than others. These are the larger populations, those on conservation estate and those at the extremes of its range. On the basis of current knowledge the following are important populations: Populations 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15 and 16. This will need to be reappraised when all known populations have been vouchered, when further survey for new populations has been completed, and also after the results of genetic studies are known. Drought conditions are impacting on the ability of DEC staff to accurately identify plants. However, five populations have been accurately identified. More survey work is expected to be undertaken during 2008.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of habitat of A. gracilis will also protect other threatened and priority species and the ecological community in which the populations are located. A gracilis occurs in winter-wet depressions to the west of Dandaragan, with Anigozanthos viridis subsp. terraspectans (DRF, Vulnerable under Wildlife Conservation Act; Vulnerable under EPBC Act) and Jacksonia carduacea (Priority 3) (Cockerton 1998). A. gracilis occurs with twenty four other conservation-listed flora species and two Threatened Ecological Communities (TECs) at the site in Swan Region (State of Western Australia 2000). The species are listed in the table below. The two TECs are the 'Endangered' shrublands on dry clay flats (Swan Coastal Plain (SCP) community type 10a); and the 'Vulnerable' herb-rich saline shrublands in clay pans (SCP community type 7). These communities and the conservation-listed flora species will benefit from actions implemented under this IRP that help to improve the quality of the habitat.
This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia's responsibilities under that Convention. A. gracilis is not specifically listed under any international treaty, and therefore this plan does not affect Australia's obligations under any other international agreements.
Role and interests of Indigenous people:
According to the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register one art site is listed in the vicinity of Andersonia gracilis and the involvement of the Indigenous community is currently being sought to determine whether there are any issues or interests identified in the Plan. If no role is identified for Indigenous communities in the recovery of this species, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation and awareness of the species.
The advice of South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and Department of Indigenous Affairs is being sought to assist in the identification of potential Indigenous management responsibilities for land occupied by threatened species, or groups with a cultural connection to land that is important for the species' conservation.
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 or economic impacts. However, as some populations are located on private property and in areas leased for mining activities, their conservation may potentially affect farming and mining activities. 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 Dandaragan, City of Gosnells, Department of Environment and Conservation, University of Western Australia, Tiwest Pty Ltd (a mining company) and the owners of five private properties. Western Power is responsible for a transmission line that runs through the vicinity of populations, and the federal Department of Defence has a training area to the south of known populations.
Evaluation of the plan's performance:
The Department of Environment and Conservation will evaluate the performance of this IRP in conjunction with the Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (MDTFRT) and Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SRTFCRT). 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:
The following recovery actions have been completed:
- All relevant land managers have been notified of the presence of A. gracilis.
- Phytophthora cinnamomi (dieback) samples were collected in November 1996 and the pathogen was identified approximately 100m upslope from Population 2 (Papenfus 1996). No further action has been taken since this time.
- Phytophthora cinnamomi has also been identified in the vicinity of Populations 1 and 4.
- Dr Kristina Lemson has reviewed the phylogeny and taxonomy of the Andersonia genus. More accurate descriptions of species in this genus are now available.
- Extensive surveys have been conducted for the species in the Swan Region, with limited success. Surveys conducted in the Midwest Region have yielded much more positive results, with several new populations being discovered by a Landcare group in 1998, and also by Tiwest mining company (via consultants) in the area around their mining activities.
- A population previously thought to be A. gracilis (Population 20) was discovered to be A. heterophylla following a survey by Swan Region Volunteers Fred and Jean Hort.
- Over 10,000 seeds were collected from Population 1 in October 1997 by staff from DEC's Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) and are currently stored at â18Â°C. Initial germination studies show the species has relatively high seed viability of 78-81%.
- An information sheet that describes and illustrates the species has been drafted and will be printed in the future.
- Staff from DEC's Moora and Swan Coastal Districts regularly monitor the populations.
- The Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team and Swan Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team are overseeing the implementation of this IRP and include information on progress in annual reports to DEC's Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
The objective of this Interim 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 individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
Criteria for failure:
The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by ten percent or more over the five year term of the plan.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Verify known populations
- Map habitat critical to the survival of the species
- Install DRF markers
- Liaise with relevant land managers
- Map and manage dieback disease
- Monitor populations
- Conduct further surveys
- Collect and preserve seed and cutting material
- Research fire ecology and develop a fire management strategy
- Implement a fire management strategy
- Implement weed control
- Install fencing if required
- Promote awareness
- Seek security of tenure for important populations
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Review the need for further recovery actions