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 Endangered as Allocasuarina defungens
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Allocasuarina defungens (Dwarf Heath Casuarina) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008am) [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] as Allocasuarina defungens.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Dwarf Heath Casuarina - profile (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (NSW OEH), 2014e) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Allocasuarina defungens
Scientific name Allocasuarina defungens [21924]
Family Casuarinaceae:Casuarinales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author L.Johnson
Infraspecies author  
Reference Flora of Australia 3 (24 Apr. 1989) 194, fig. 56H.
Other names Allocasuarina defungans [23964]
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.

Other illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Allocasuarina defungens L.Johnson

Common name: Dwarf Heath Casuarina

This species may be distinguished from A. diminuata and A. rigida by the morphology of its branchlets. The species differs from A. glareicola in having blue-green joints on its branchlets (Wilson & Johnson 1989). It occurs in the same area as A. littoralis and A.simulans, for which it may be mistaken and with which it hybridises (Benwell 1993; Benwell & Steed 1997). Hybrids have been found at Limburners Ck National Park, Crowdy Bay National Park and Nabiac and Wallis Islands. (Benwell & Steed1997).

The Dwarf Heath Casuarina is a lignotuberous, erect or sub-erect shrub, with smooth bark, growing to 0.5–2 m high (Wilson & Johnson 1989).

The Dwarf Heath Casuarina is confined to the north coast region of NSW, between Raymond Terrace and Port Macquarie. There are 32 sites recorded from six general localities over a geographic range of about 40 km.

Two-thirds of the 31 000 plants known are found near Nabiac. Another 10 000+ plants occur at Crowdy Bay National Park (Benwell & Steed 1997).

The Dwarf Heath Casuarina is cultivated at Mt Annan Botanic Gardens, near Campbelltown, NSW; Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, ACT and Adelaide Botanic Gardens, South Australia (CHABG 1994).

Australian Distribution:

Population numbers are probably overestimated because the species is clonal (Benwell 1993) and exists in mixed or hybrid stands with A. littoralis (Benwell & Steed 1997).

Benwell and Steed (1997) provided the following population details. Counts were made on small plots and extrapolated. Numbers for hybrid sites are shown in brackets. Gross (all-inclusive) population numbers from these sites have been included in the total number of individuals (Benwell & Steed 1997).

LocationNo. of sites surveyed Total number of individuals
Conglomerate SF1300+
Limeburners Ck NR1 (+1 hybrid)200+
Port Macquarie380
Crowdy Bay NP10 (+5 hybrid)10 500+
Saltwater 450
Nabiac & Wallis I.8 (+1 hybrid)20 000+

The Dwarf Heath Casuarina grows in a humid warm-temperate to sub-tropical climate. The average annual rainfall at nearby Forster is 1238 mm. The Dwarf Heath Casuarina is found in coastal areas of wet to dry, dense, low, closed heath land growing on Pleistocene marine aeolian derived soils (Wilson & Johnson 1989). A few populations occur in coastal clay heath on bedrock soils, and on hinterland sandstone (Benwell & Steed 1997). These soils are humus podzols. The drier heath is on podzols with a sub-soil hard pan. Both soil types are subject to a high watertables during the rainy season (Benwell 1993).

Commonly associated species at the Saltwater population include Banksia aemula, Leptospermum polygalifolium, L. semibaccatum, Epacris pulchella, Baeckea diosmifolia, Melaleuca nodosa, Caustis recurvata, Petrophile pulchella and Lepyrodia interrupta (Benwell 1993).

In the moist heath habitat at Nabiac, common species are Banksia ericifolia, B. oblongifolia, Melaleuca nodosa, Schoenus brevifolius, Pseudanthus orientalis, Leptospermum polygalifolium, L. semibaccatum, Hypolaena fastigata and Boronia safrolifera (Benwell 1993).

In dry heath, common associated species include Banksia aemula, Leptospermum polygalifolium, L. semibaccatum, Eriostemon australasica, Caustis recurvata, Leucopogon deformis, Hypolaena fastigata, Phyllota phylicoides, Epacris microphylla and Schoenus brevifolius (Benwell 1993).

The Dwarf Heath Casuarina may be dioecious or monoecious. Cones are very irregularly shaped (Wilson & Johnson 1989). The Dwarf Heath Casuarina shows a wide variability in the presence or absence of stored cones, indicating the majority of recruitment takes place by root suckering (Benwell & Steed 1997). It is unknown if the lack of cone set in some inland populations is attributable to the stands consisting of plants of a single sex; or whether the Saltwater population (where more cones are produced) receives extra nutrients from its proximity to the sea, thereby assisting cone set (Benwell 1993).

Benwell (1993) stated that the rate of seedling establishment is very low, following the release of the seed bank from stored cones after fire. The species does, however, produce root suckers after fire (Griffith et al. 2000).

Preliminary genetic surveys indicate very low genetic diversity, representing a potential threat to the species long-term survival. The species is also threatened by land development for mining and real estate. All populations occur on extractable reserves of mineral sands. The sites at Nabiac may be threatened by proposals already in place for mining of these sites (Benwell 1993). The exclusion of fire may pose a threat if the species is susceptible to competition (Benwell & Steed 1997).

Banksia ericifolia exerts a strong suppressive effect on associated species in moist and wet heath communities. In the continued absence of fire, which would control its spread, B. ericifolia may pose a threat to the survival of the Dwarf Heath Casuarina (Benwell 1993).

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
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Sea level rise:Inundation associated with climate change Inundation study (Environmental Resources Information Network, 2007) [Database].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Allocasuarina defungens in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006bf) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat modification through open cut mining/quarrying activities Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Allocasuarina defungens in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006bf) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Allocasuarina defungens in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006bf) [Internet].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low genetic diversity and genetic inbreeding Allocasuarina defungens in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006bf) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Powerline easement maintenance and construction; mortality due to collision with powerlines Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].

Benwell, A.S. (1993). Recovery Plan for Allocasuarina defungens. Hurstville: NSW NPWS.

Benwell, A.S. & Steed, A. (1997). Species recovery plan for Allocasuarina defungens. Hurstville: NSW NPWS.

Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG) (1994). Census of plants in botanic gardens. [Online]. Canberra: Australian National Botanic Gardens. Available from: http://www.anbg.gov.au/chabg/census/census.html.

Griffith, S.J., Wilson, R., & Maryott-Brown, K. (2000). Vegetation and Flora of Booti Booti National Park and Yahoo Nature reserve, lower North Coast of NSW. Cunninghamia. 6(3):645-716.

Wilson, K.L. & L.A.S.Johnson (1989). Casuarinaceae. In: Flora of Australia. 3:100-174. Canberra: AGPS.

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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). Allocasuarina defungens in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:40:47 +1000.