Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia masonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008lo) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Declared Rare or Poorly Known Flora in the Geraldton District (Patrick, S.J., 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
WA:Interim Recovery Plan. No. 282. Mason's Darwinia (Darwinia masonii) Interim Recovery Plan 2008-2012 (Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC), 2008m) [State Recovery Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Scientific name Darwinia masonii [18538]
Family Myrtaceae:Myrtales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author C.Gardner
Infraspecies author  
Reference Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 47 (13 Jul. 1964) 62.
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images
http://www.anbg.gov.au/cgi-bin/phtml?photo_class=dig&photo_no=180

Scientific name: Darwinia masonii

Common name: Mason's Darwinia

This species is conventionally accepted as Darwinia masonii C.A. Gardner (CHAH 2010).

Mason's Darwinia grows 1.5 to 3 m tall, and has closely crowded, narrow leaves approximately 1 cm long, which are almost triangular in cross-section and situated towards the ends of branchlets. The flowering inflorescences are approximately 3 cm in diameter and are surrounded by numerous spreading pinkish bracts that are pendulus on the ends of small branchlets. The bracts are broad at the base but narrow to a pointed apex with a distinct midrib. Each bract is approximately 2 cm in length and 5 mm wide at the base. Each tubular flower is about 5 mm long with a style approximately 1.5 cm in length with hairs below the stigma (Brown et al. 1998 cited in DEC 2008a).

This species is restricted to Western Australia, in the Mt. Gibson Ranges, approximately 350 km north-east of Perth (DEC 2008a) The species occurs over a range of about 6 km (Patrick 2001), and is generally restricted to the upper slopes (350 m+ ADH), crests and ridges of eleven major hills that comprise the 6 km range (DEC 2008a) although recently it has been found on a granitic breakaway to the East of Extension Hill and at the base of a valley on granitic substrate, in the mid-west region of Western Australia Mason's Darwinia has been found on granitic substrate in a valley and breakaway system to the east of Extension Hill in the Mt. Gibson Ranges (DEC 2008a), and also reported from a range of hills north of known populations, but there are no herbarium specimens from that area and the plant has not been found there recently (Brown et al. 1998).

In 2004 a survey of the nine known populations recorded 14 315 adult plants and 1711 seedlings (DEC 2008a).

Genetic investigations by the Botanic Gardens Park Authority (DEC 2008a), using standard population genetic statistics suggest that the whole Mt Gibson Ranges area can be treated as a single provenance unit for Mason's Darwinia.

Summary of populations are (Patrick 2001) and WA EPA (2006):

Pop. No. & Name /Location Year No. Mature plants No. Seedlings Tenure Counts from WA EPA 2006
  • Extension Hill North

2004 545 12 Pastoral and mining leases 567
  • Extension Hill

2004 1924 12 Pastoral and mining leases, unallocated Crown land 1936
  • Extension Hill South

2004 1874 26 Unallocated Crown land, mining lease 1900
  • Iron Hill North

2004 586 33 Crown reserve, mining lease 1586
  • Iron Hill

2004 370 597 Unallocated Crown land, Crown reserve, mining lease
  • Iron Hill South

2004 1601 970 Crown reserve, mining lease 2571
  • Iron Hill East

2004 70 11 Crown reserve, mining lease 81
  • Mt Gibson

2004 7021 61 Unallocated Crown land, Crown reserve, mining lease 7082
  • Mt Gibson South

2004 324 1 Crown reserve, mining lease 325
Total Mt Gibson Ranges 2004 14 315 1723


The plants are most common on the south-western sides of a ridge of banded ironstone hills (Brown et al. 1998). This species grows in pockets of stony yellow-brown clay loams (Brown et al. 1998; Hopper et al. 1990; Patrick 2001).

It occurs in tall shrubland of Allocasuarina acutivalvis, with a lower shrub layer of Grevillea paradoxa and Phebalium tuberculatum, and with Acacia and Eucalyptus species (Patrick 2001). In the majority of locations in which Mason's Darwinia was recorded, soil was extremely skeletal and limited to shallow pockets between exposed ironstone and Banded Ironstone Formations (BIF) or granite (DEC 2008a).

This species flowers from April to November (Brown et al. 1998), and is thought to regenerate from seed after fire. Plants have also been found in areas of disturbed soil and on bulldozed tracks and are thought to regenerate from a woody rootstock (Patrick 2001).

As Mason's Darwinia only occurs in the one area, and that area is rich in iron ore, mining represents the most significant threat to this species. Mason's Darwinia occurs on the peaks and slopes of the hills in the Mt Gibson Ranges including Extension Hill, Extension Hill North, Extension Hill South, Iron Hill North, Iron Hill, Iron Hill East, Mt Gibson and Mt Gibson South (ATA Environment 2004).

Mining (direct removal)
Mason's Darwinia occupies outcropping ironstone formations that are highly prospective for iron ore (DEC 2008a).

Mining (secondary threats)
Nearby mining also presents possible secondary threats through dust, inadvertent disturbance such as cracking of rock faces, negative effects on pollinator activity arising from habitat disturbance and removal of food plants within the mine footprint, and other effects on reproductive biology that may lead to a decline in recruitment rate. It is possible that populations at Extension Hill South, and Iron Hill North may be at some risk from secondary effects of mining (DEC 2008a).

Limited Habitat
Mason's Darwinia is generally restricted to the upper slopes crests and ridges of the eleven major hills that comprise the 6 km long Mt Gibson Ranges (DEC 2008a).

Weed Invasion
No significant weed invasion has been observed to date. Weed invasion is a potential threat to the species (DEC 2008a).

Grazing:
Only very minor grazing pressure from feral goats and rabbits of Mason's Darwinia has been observed to date. Domestic stock generally does not occur in the area being kept well within adjacent pastoral properties (DEC 2008a).

An Interim Recovery Plan has been adopted under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act. Recovery actions in this plan include (DEC 2008a):

  • Coordinate recovery actions and liaise with stakeholders.
  • Continue the implementation of the D. masonii Research Programme (including conservation genetics, population demography, breeding biology, population viability analysis, environmental interactions and plant health, restoration and translocation and ex situ conservation).
  • Establish and implement the D. masonii condition monitoring programme.
  • Implement fire management strategy.
  • Manage secondary impacts of mining on D. masonii.
  • Manage inappropriate grazing pressure on D. masonii.
  • Undertake translocation trials as part of the D. masonii Research Programme.
  • Maintain adequate seed/germplasm and cutting collections to ensure material with a broad genetic base is available for on-going ex situ conservation.
  • Conduct further surveys and report any additional populations of D. masonii.
  • Promote awareness of D. masonii and Recovery Plan initiatives.
  • Review ranking of the species and prepare a full Recovery Plan if the review of the Interim Recovery Plan indicates this is necessary.

The possibility of rehabilitating land with Mason's Darwinia is being investigated by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation with cooperation of the Western Australian Botanical Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA). A preliminary planting trial of the species in the Mt Gibson Ranges was undertaken by BGPA using a disused drill pad on Iron Hill East that had not been rehabilitated and was outside the proposed mining footprint. Two hundred and twenty nine young plants from a cross-section of genotypes were propagated at Kings Park by BGPA personnel from cuttings and planted at the trial site in June 2005. A fence was erected around the plants (except for 20 controls to examine the effect of excluding herbivores and regular watering). A tank was installed at the site to allow drip irrigation of the plants during dry periods. In the period to December 2005 only four plants died, despite the highly rocky and inhospitable nature of the transplant site and very dry mid-winter period following planting (BGPA, 2005b cited in DEC 2008a). The survival rate as at February 2007 was 89% within the enclosure. Growth rates for these plants were much faster than observed in existing stands, and faster than non watered plants, suggesting that growth of Mason's Darwinia is substantially water dependant, and that the species may be accessing pooled water in the fine cracks between the BIF substrate. Translocated plants that were not watered showed only 20% survival (in a very dry season) and a greatly reduced growth rate consistent with wild plants. The preliminary trial was undertaken for research purposes to gain information on plant survival, breeding biology and phenology. The survival and future management of any plants remaining at the conclusion of the preliminary trial will be determined by BGPA in association with DEC (DEC 2008a).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia masonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008lo) [Conservation Advice].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Darwinia masonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008lo) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Vegetation and habitat loss caused by dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009w) [Threat Abatement Plan].

ATA Environmental (2004). Targeted Search at Mt Gibson for the Declared Rare Flora Darwinia masonii. Unpublished report prepared for Mount Gibson Mining Ltd. (in prep). Report prepared for Mount Gibson Mining Pty Ltd as part of EPBC 2005/2381.

Brown, A., C. Thomson-Dans & N. Marchant, eds. (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Como, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2010). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australian Biological Resources Study . Available from: http://www.anbg.gov.au/chah/apc/.

Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) (2008a). Mason's Darwinia (Darwinia masonii) Interim Recovery Plan 2008-2012. Interim Recovery Plan No. 282. Western Australia: Department of Environment and Conservation.

Hopper, S.D., S. van Leeuwen, A.P. Brown & S.J. Patrick (1990). Western Australia's Endangered Flora and other plants under consideration for declaration. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Consrvation and Land Management.

Patrick, S.J. (2001). Declared Rare or Poorly Known Flora in the Geraldton District. [Online]. Wildlife Management Program No 26. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants.

Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency (WA EPA) (2006). Mt Gibson Iron Ore Mine and Infrastructure Project Mount Gibson Mining Limited. Report and recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Darwinia masonii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 2 Oct 2014 07:51:39 +1000.