Orange-Flowered Wattle (Acacia auratiflora) recovery plan
Government of Western Australia, Department of Environment and Conservation 2009
- Scientific Name: Acacia auratiflora
- Common Name: Orange-Flowered Wattle
- Family: Mimosaceae
- Flowering Period: Late June - August
- DEC Region: Wheatbelt
- DEC District: Great Southern
- Shire: Lake Grace
- Recovery Team: Great Southern District Threatened Flora Recovery Team.
Criteria for success in the previous plan (the number of individuals in populations and/or the number of populations have increased over the term of the plan) has been met, as follows.
At the time of compilation of the 1999 IRP, four populations of Acacia auratiflora were known to exist. Further surveys as per Action 4 of the IRP uncovered eleven new populations, bringing the current known total to fifteen populations. Additional surveys of habitat within the vicinity of the original four known populations resulted in extensions to two of these and additional plants at a third. These discoveries have raised the number of known mature individual plants from 215 known prior to 1999 to around 1,200 at the present time.
Current status: Acacia auratiflora was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in 1997 and is currently ranked as Vulnerable (VU) under World Conservation Union (IUCN 2001) Red List criteria C2a(i) due to the species numbering fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with no subpopulation containing more than 1,000 mature individuals and continuing decline observed in the number of mature plants. The main threats are road, rail and firebreak maintenance, salinity, weeds and drought. The species is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Acacia auratiflora is confined to the southern Wheatbelt of Western Australia where it is currently known from fifteen populations totalling around 1,200 mature plants.
Description: Acacia auratiflora is a dense spreading shrub, 0.3 to 1 m tall by 0.6 to 2 m in diameter. New shoots are resinous. Branchlets are resinous but not sticky and covered by minute white or pale golden hairs. Phyllodes are narrowly oblong-elliptic, 20 to 40 mm long by 3 to 7 mm wide, leathery, pale green, without hairs or sometimes with sparsely appressed-hairy margins and with a hooked tip. The inflorescence is densely covered in short fine straight erect golden hairs. Inflorescence heads are globular, golden, 5 to 7 mm in diameter with thirty to forty two flowers. Flowers are five-merous with sepals two thirds as long as the petals, united to below middle or almost to apex, oblong and covered in upright stiffened distinct golden hairs. Petals are free but coherent in the midsection and densely covered in golden hairs. Young pods are densely covered in light golden hairs (Cowan and Maslin 1999).
Habitat requirements: Acacia auratiflora grows on sandy clays and occasionally also in sandy loams with clay, in drainage lines and depressions amongst open shrub mallee or low gimlet (Eucalyptus salubris) woodland over Melaleuca thicket with grasses.
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. sandy clays in drainage lines and depressions amongst open shrub mallee or low gimlet woodland over Melaleuca thicket with grasses), additional occurrences of similar habitat that may contain important populations of the species or be suitable sites for future translocations, and the local catchment for the surface and/or groundwater that maintains the habitat of the species.
Populations of Acacia auratiflora that are important to the species’ ongoing survival include those on conservation reserves, large and healthy populations and those at the extremities of its range. On this basis it appears that all populations are important.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Acacia auratiflora will also improve the status of associated native vegetation. The threatened and priority species Verticordia staminosa subsp. cylindracea var. erecta (Critically Endangered), Bentleya spinescens (Priority 4)and Eremophila veneta (Priority 4) are associated with A. auratiflora.
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 auratiflora is not listed under any specific international treaty, and therefore this IRP does not affect Australia’s obligations under any other international agreements.
Indigenous Consultation: 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 Acacia auratiflora, 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 impact: As five populations and three subpopulations of Acacia auratiflora are located on private property, their protection has the potential to affect farming activities. Where populations or subpopulations are located on private property, recovery actions refer to continued liaison between stakeholders with regard to these areas.
Affected interests: Stakeholders potentially affected by the implementation of this plan include owners of private property, the Shire of Lake Grace, Main Roads WA, WestNet Rail and the Department of Agriculture and Food.
Evaluation of the plan’s performance: The Department of Environment and Conservation, in conjunction with the Great Southern District Threatened Flora Recovery Team (GSDTFRT) 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 four years of implementation.
Completed Recovery Actions
- Land managers 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 2, 4, 7 and 12 and Subpopulations 1a, 3a-d, 6b and 9a and 9b.
- Private Property Populations 10, 11, 13-15 and Subpopulations 5a and 5b have been fenced
- Since 1999, surveys of suitable habitat within the Shire of Lake Grace has increased the number of populations known in the wild.
- Seed collections are stored with DEC’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC).
- Germination trials have been conducted on seed accessions held by DEC’s TFSC.
- Research has been undertaken into the susceptibility of Acacia auratiflora to Phytophthora cinnamomi.
Ongoing and future recovery actions
- The GSDTFRT is overseeing the implementation of this IRP and will include information on progress in its annual report to DEC’s Corporate Executive and funding bodies.
- Staff from DEC’s Great Southern District 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 has increased and/or the number of mature individuals in populations has increased by ten percent or more over the term of the plan.
Criteria for failure: The number of populations has decreased and/or the number of mature individuals in populations has decreased by ten percent or more over the term of the plan.
- Coordinate recovery actions
- Liaise with relevant land managers
- Monitor populations
- Install DRF markers
- Undertake weed control
- Conduct further surveys
- Collect seed
- Map areas prone to salinity
- Promote awareness
- Develop and implement disturbance trials
- Obtain biological and ecological information
- Map habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations
- Review the recovery plan and assess the need for further recovery actions