Spiral Fruited Wattle (Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa) recovery plan
- Scientific Name: Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa
- Common Name: Spiral fruited wattle
- Family: MIMOSACEAE
- Flowering Period: June - July
- DEC Region: Midwest
- DEC District: Moora
- Shire: Moora
- Recovery Team: Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team
- NRM Region: Northern Agricultural
The criteria for success in the previous plan (‘the number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased’) has been met, as the number of known populations has increased from two to four, with the discovery of one new population and the establishment of two translocated populations. The number of known plants has increased from 132 to approximately 670, an increase of over 400 percent in the number of mature plants. This has occurred mainly due to the initial success of the two translocated populations.
Actions recommended in the previous plan that have been implemented, include:
- Action 1. Implement translocation plan
- Action 3. Develop a fire management strategy
- Action 4. Preserve genetic diversity
- Action 5. Obtain biological and ecological information
- Action 7. Disseminate information
- Action 8. Write updated Interim Recovery Plan
Actions 4, 5 and 7 and other recovery actions included in the plan are ongoing and are included in this revised plan. New recovery actions included in this plan are ‘coordinate recovery actions’, ‘map habitat critical to survival’ and ‘liaise with landholders’.
Current Status: Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa was declared as Rare Flora in November 1997 under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and was ranked as Critically Endangered (CR) in November 1998 under World Conservation Union (IUCN 1994) Red List criterion B1+2c. There are only 135 mature plants known in three wild populations (one extinct, one in decline and one moderately healthy) on highly disturbed road reserves and private property. All populations are affected by fragmentation and continuing degradation of habitat. A further 535 plants are known from two translocated populations in a Nature Reserve. The main continuing threats to natural populations are road and track maintenance activities, inappropriate fire regimes and insect galling. A. cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Description: Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa is a sprawling, low growing, glabrous shrub to 70 cm tall and up to 3 m wide, with slightly flexuose branchlets. The phyllodes are incurved and erect, up to 7.5 cm long and 6 mm wide, with 5 - 7 nerves per face. They are linear to narrowly elliptic. The flower heads are golden, sessile and cylindrical, 7 - 10 mm long. The tightly coiled seedpods are up to 4 mm wide (Patrick and Brown 2001).
A second subspecies, Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. velutinosa, occurs near Manmanning and differs in its shorter phyllodes, velvety branchlets, phyllodes and legumes, and in its smaller, oblong flower heads. A. cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa is also similar to A. alocophylla ms which has 8–nerved phyllodes, and to A. tetraneura, which has 4-nerved phyllodes and bracteoles exserted on the buds (Patrick and Brown 2001).
Habitat requirements: Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa is known from a narrow 700 m length of road reserve and private property near Watheroo in the Moora Shire. Populations are associated with brown sand, or clayey sand with laterite. Plants occur as two close populations in disturbed open low scrub on road reserve and on private property. The subspecies grows in association with Hakea scoparia, Allocasuarina campestris, and a number of other Acacia species.
Habitat critical to the survival of the subspecies, and important populations: Given that Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa is ranked as Critically Endangered (CR) in Western Australia under the World Conservation Union (IUCN 1994) Red List criterion B1+2c and Endangered under the Commonwealth EPBC Act, it is considered that all known habitat for wild populations is critical to the survival of the subspecies and that all wild populations are important populations. Habitat critical to the survival of A. cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa includes the area of occupancy of populations, areas of similar habitat surrounding and linking populations (these providing potential habitat for population expansion and for pollinators), additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain undiscovered populations of the subspecies or be suitable for future translocations and the local catchment for the surface and/or groundwater that maintains the habitat of the subspecies.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa will also improve the status of associated native vegetation. Additionally, two Declared Rare Flora species occur in association with A. cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa. These include Calothamnus accedens (Critically Endangered under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950; Extinct under the Commonwealth EPBC Act) and Gastrolobium hamulosum (Critically Endangered under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950; Endangered under the Commonwealth EPBC Act).
International obligations: 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. Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa is not listed under any specific international treaty and this recovery plan does not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements.
Indigenous consultation: According to the Department of Indigenous Affairs Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register, one significant site occurs within a kilometre of Population 1 of Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa. The involvement of the Indigenous community is currently being sought to determine if there are any Indigenous issues identified in the Plan. If no role is identified for Indigenous communities in the recovery of this subspecies, opportunities may exist through cultural interpretation and awareness of the subspecies.
The advice of the 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 subspecies' 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: There is potential for some social and economic impact during the implementation of this recovery plan as most populations of Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa occur on private property and road reserves that are not specifically managed for conservation.
Affected interests: The implementation of this plan has some implications for land managers, particularly where populations occur on lands not specifically managed for conservation. The occurrence of Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa populations on private property will have implications for the property owners. Where it occurs on road reserves under the care, control and management of Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA), the authority will be required to ensure protection of those populations. Where populations occur in Conservation Estate, DEC, as the managing authority will be required to protect populations from threatening processes and potential damage from management practices such as prescribed burning and track maintenance. Recovery actions refer to continued liaison between stakeholders with regard to all of these areas.
Evaluation of the plan’s performance: This recovery plan will be reviewed within five years and an assessment of the status of the populations and future directions will be made at that time. The performance of the recovery plan and the progress of Recovery Actions will be evaluated by DEC in conjunction with the Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team.
Completed Recovery Actions
- In 1999 and 2000, Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa seedlings were planted at two sites in Gunyidi Nature Reserve, north of Watheroo, consistent with an approved Translocation Proposal.
- All known populations were surveyed in 2006.
- A fire management strategy has been developed.
- Seed has been collected from all populations and placed in long term storage at DEC’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC).
- Research on flowering phenology, soil seedbanks, and the impact of fire, weeds and grazing on the subspecies was conducted by Yates and Broadhurst in 2002.
- An information sheet for Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa has been produced.
- An updated recovery plan has been prepared.
- DRF markers have been erected at Populations 2 and 3.
Ongoing and future recovery actions
- Staff from DEC’s Moora District will continue to monitor all known populations.
- The Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (MDTFRT) will oversee the implementation of this recovery plan in their respective regions and will include information on progress in their annual report to DEC’s Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
Recovery plan objective: The objective of this recovery plan is to identify and abate identified threats and maintain or enhance viable in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the taxon in the wild.
Criteria for success: The number of populations has increased or the number of individuals within populations has increased by ten percent or more over the term of the plan.
Criteria for failure: The number of populations has decreased or the number of individuals within populations has decreased by ten percent or more over the term of the plan.
Recovery Actions: Below are listed those Recovery Actions considered most important to fulfil the criteria for success of this plan. Whilst some actions will be undertaken simultaneously, they are ordered depending on priority with the more urgent recovery actions at the top of the list. Each is explained in more detail in the following section.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Monitor translocated populations
- Monitor natural populations
- Implement further translocations
- Map habitat critical to the survival of Acacia cochlocarpa subsp. cochlocarpa
- Conduct further field surveys
- Liaise with relevant land managers and Indigenous groups
- Investigate the impact of insect galling
- Disseminate information
- Collect seed for long term storage and future translocations
- Amend the fire management strategy
- Review this plan and assess the need for further recovery actions