INTERIM RECOVERY PLAN NO. 155
MEELUP MALLEE (EUCALYPTUS PHYLACIS)
INTERIM RECOVERY PLAN 2004-2009 Julie Patten1
1 Project Officer, WA Threatened Species and Communities Unit, CALM, PO Box 51 Wanneroo, 6946
Photograph: A. Brown
Department of Conservation and Land Management
Western Australian Threatened Species and Communities Unit (WATSCU)
PO Box 51, Wanneroo, WA 6946
FOREWORD Interim Recovery Plans (IRPs) are developed within the framework laid down in Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) Policy Statements Nos. 44 and 50.
IRPs outline the recovery actions that are required to urgently address those threatening processes most affecting the ongoing survival of threatened taxa or ecological communities, and begin the recovery process.
CALM is committed to ensuring that Critically Endangered taxa are conserved through the preparation and implementation of Recovery Plans or Interim Recovery Plans and by ensuring that conservation action commences as soon as possible and always within one year of endorsement of that rank by the Minister.
This Interim Recovery Plan results from a review of, and replaces, No.104 Eucalyptus phylacis (Phillimore et al, 2002). This Interim Recovery Plan will operate from July 2004 to June 2009 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that, if the taxon is still ranked Critically Endangered, this IRP will be reviewed after five years and the need for a full recovery plan assessed.
This IRP was given regional approval on 16 July 2004 and was approved by the Director of Nature Conservation on 22 July 2004. The allocation of staff time and provision of funds identified in this Interim Recovery Plan is dependent on budgetary and other constraints affecting CALM, as well as the need to address other priorities.
Information in this IRP was accurate as at July 2004.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The following people have provided assistance and advice in the preparation of this Interim Recovery Plan:
Eric Bunn Research Botanist, Botanic Garden and Parks Authority
Anne Cochrane Research Scientist, CALM’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre
Frank Podger Forest Pathologist
Richard Robinson Research Scientist, CALM’s Science Division, Manjimup
Peter Scott Honors Student, Murdoch University
Andrew Webb Nature Conservation Officer, CALM’s Blackwood District
Kim Williams Program Leader Nature Conservation, CALM’s South West Region
Thanks also to the staff of the W.A. Herbarium for providing access to Herbarium databases and specimen information, and CALM’sWildlife Branch for assistance.
South West Region
South West Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SWRTFCRT)
Illustrations and/or further information: Brooker, M.I.H. and Kleinig, D.A. (1990) Field Guide to Eucalypts. Volume 2, South-western and Southern Australia. Inkata press, Melbourne and Sydney; Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998) Western Australia’s Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Hill, K.D. and Johnson, L.A.S. (1992) Systematic studies in the eucalypts. 5. New taxa and combinations in Eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) in Western Australia, Telopea 4(4), 561-634.
Current status: Eucalyptusphylacis was declared as Rare Flora in September 1987 under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and is currently ranked as Critically Endangered (CR). The species is also listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It currently meets World Conservation Union (IUCN 2000) Red List Category Critically Endangered (CR) under criterion D as there are less than 50 mature individuals in the wild. The main threats are insect damage, aerial canker, and inappropriate fire regimes. Road maintenance activities, poor genetic diversity, and poor regeneration are minor threats to the population.
Description:Eucalyptus phylacis is a mallee or small tree to 5 m tall with distinctive coarse, non-fibrous, loose, rough bark overlying thick, corky bark. It is related to E. decipiens but differs in its non-emarginate juvenile leaves, larger buds and fruit, and broadly conical opercula (Brooker and Kleinig 1990). The juvenile leaves are almost round and entire. Adult leaves are concolorous, faintly glossy and blue-grey green. The inflorescence is axillary, with white flowers (Brown et al. 1998).
Habitat requirements: Eucalyptus phylacis is found on the crest of a near-coastal ridge, growing in loamy granitic and lateritic soils. Habitat consists of open low woodland of E. calophylla and E. marginata over low scrub of Acacia extensa, Xanthorrhoea preissii, X. gracilis, Hakea lissocarpha, Melaleuca sp. and Allocasuarina humilis.
Critical habitat: The critical habitat for Eucalyptus phylacis is the remnant vegetation in which it occurs, areas of similar habitat i.e. loamy granitic and lateritic soils in open low woodland of Eucalyptus calophylla and E. marginata, within 200 metres of the known population, corridors of remnant vegetation that link subpopulations, and additional occurrences of similar habitat that do not currently contain the species but may have done so in the past and may be suitable for translocations.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Given that this species is listed as Critically Endangered, it is considered that all known habitat for wild and translocated populations is habitat critical to its survival, and that all wild and translocated populations are important populations.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities: There are no other known threatened flora or communities in the habitat of Eucalyptus phylacis. However, recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Eucalyptus phylacis will also improve the status of remnant vegetation in which it is located.
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. The taxon is not listed under any specific international treaty, however, and therefore this IRP 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, no sites have been discovered near the Eucalyptus phylacis population. Input and involvement will be sought from any indigenous groups that have an active interest in the areas that are habitat for E. phylacis, and this is discussed in the recovery actions.
Social and economic impact: The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impact. Recovery actions will involve liaison and cooperation with all stakeholders.
Evaluation of the Plan’s Performance: The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), in conjunction with the South West Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SWRTFCRT) will evaluate the performance of this IRP. In addition to annual reporting on progress and evaluation against the criteria for success and failure, the plan will be reviewed following five years of implementation.
Existing Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented:
The Shire of Busselton has been formally notified of the presence and threatened nature of the population of Eucalyptus phylacis on land they manage.
Declared Rare Flora (DRF) markers have been installed at Subpopulation 1a. These alert workers of the presence of threatened flora and help prevent accidental damage during maintenance operations.
Dashboard stickers and posters, including an illustration, information on the purpose of DRF markers, and a contact telephone number have been produced and distributed.
A poster has been produced that provides a description of Eucalyptus phylacis, and information about threats and recovery actions.
In January 1996, Eucalyptus phylacis trees were injected with an insecticide, dimethylate, to control borers.
In February 1996, a car park immediately adjacent to Eucalyptus phylacis was removed by ripping. Rehabilitation was then undertaken in 1997 by the Meelup Regional Park Management Committee (MRPMC).
In 1996 samples of Eucalyptus phylacis were tested for fungus, and Botryosphaeria and Cytospora cankers were identified.
Eucalyptus phylacis material was collected for tissue culture by Botanic Garden and Parks Authority (BGPA) in 1996, 1999 and 2001; and successfully propagated in 2001.
In June 2001, damaged limbs on one Eucalyptus phylacis tree were removed to simulate fire. The stem was sprayed with sealant to prevent infestation by fungus. Preliminary results from the trial are promising in the management of aerial canker.
Volunteers from the MRPMC are undertaking twice yearly monitoring of the health of eight ramets of Eucalyptus phylacis.
A fire response strategy for the area containing Eucalyptus phylacis has been prepared and incorporated into the Blackwood District’s Fire Control Working Plan.
An article about cloning of Eucalyptus phylacis through tissue culture was placed in a magazine and a newsletter by Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA).
In 2003, a Murdoch University Honors student completed a study entitled “The Analysis and Identification of possible causal agents of canker formation in Eucalyptus phylacis (Meelup Mallee) from Cape Naturaliste in the south west of Western Australia”.
A small amount of seed collected by CALM’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre in 2003 germinated.
The South West Region Threatened Flora and Communities Recovery Team (SWRTFCRT) is overseeing the implementation of this IRP.
Staff from CALM’s Blackwood District office regularly monitor the population.
IRP Objective: The objective of this Interim Recovery Plan is to abate identified threats and maintain and/or enhance in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the taxon in the wild.
Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have been maintained or increased over the period of the plan’s adoption under the EPBC Act.
Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased over the period of the plan’s adoption under the EPBC Act.
Coordinate recovery actions.
Test for Phytophthora sp. resistance.
Map critical habitat.
Implement disease hygiene measures.
Develop and implement a coppice treatment strategy.
Develop and implement a strategy to control insect borers and canker pathogens.
Liaise with relevant land managers.
Develop and Implement an Emergency Response Plan.
Obtain biological and ecological information.
Undertake genetic testing of seedlings.
Conduct further surveys.
Develop a cryostorage protocol for long term storage of tissue cultured shoot apices.