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 Homopholis belsonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008abi) [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
NSW:Belsen's Panic - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005ga) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list)
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Scientific name Homopholis belsonii [2406]
Family Poaceae:Cyperales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author C.E.Hubb.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Kew (16 Mar. 1934) 127.
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

Scientific name: Homopholis belsonii

Common name: Belson's Panic

Other names: Belson's Couch

Belson's Panic is a rhizomatous and stoloniferous perennial grass growing to 0.5 m high. Belson's Panic spreads mainly by the stolons and can form colonies in a matter of months (Menkins 1998). The leaves, mostly glabrous, are 0.8–1.5 mm long and blades are 2–4.5 mm wide. Primary branches are 8–15 cm long with hairy axils. Inflorescences are also 8–15 cm long and do not fully protrude from the main stem. There are two or three laterally compressed 4.8–8 mm long spikelets on a typical lowermost branch (Harden 1993; NSW DECW 2005ga).

The distributional range of Belson's Panic lies within the southern Brigalow Belt Queensland, namely the Darling Downs area west of Toowoomba, near Oakey, Jondaryan, Bowenville, Dalby, Acland, Sabine, Quinalow, Goombungee, Gurulmundi and Millmerran, and further west between Miles and Roma (Queensland Herbarium, 2008). The species is also found on the northwest slopes and plains of New South Wales (NSW), north of Warialdra between Wee Waa, Goondiwindi and Glen Innes (Menkins 1998; NSW DECW 2005ga; Trémont & Whalley 1993a).

Belson's Panic in Queensland is identified in an area of over 200 km by 400 km (Menkins 1998; Trémont & Whalley 1993a).

Population sizes of Belson's Panic appear to be similar in both NSW and Queensland with the species apparently rare on a landscape scale but locally abundant at some sites (Trémont & Whalley 1993a).

Whilst the species occurs in isolated areas of remnant or regenerating vegetation and in corridor situations, populations are sufficiently large in size and number for collection of seed that would allow inclusion of the species in regeneration/revegetation projects (Trémont & Whalley 1993a).

Belson's Panic is found on poor soils in dry woodlands in NSW (NSW DECW 2005ga). Whilst Menkins (1998) has reported the presence of Belson's Panic in areas which receive irregular or intermittent flooding, these sites are infrequent and the species is generally found on higher, well-drained rises. In NSW, the species occurs at elevations ranging from 200–520 m and in Queensland 342–500 m (Menkins 1998; Trémont & Whalley 1993a). Trémont & Whalley (1993a) identified three general types of habitat which support Belson's Panic:

  • Rocky, basaltic hills supporting Eucalyptus albens (White Box)/Geijera parviflora (Wilga) woodland with assorted shrubs and a number of grass species. It was generally found among fallen timber at the base of trees or shrubs, among branches and leaves of trees hanging to ground level or along the bottom of netting fences.
  • Flat to gently undulating alluvial areas supporting Casuarina cristata (Belah) forest and sometimes Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow) or G.parviflora (Wilga). Understorey varied from the presence of only Belson's Panic to a mixture of shrubs, sub-shrubs and grasses. Many of the C. cristata sites were subject to intermittent inundation.
  • Drainage lines supporting C. cristata and sandy country dominated by Cypress Pine-Bloodwood-Ironbark-She-Oak Forest.

Shade tolerant

Belson's Panic may be shade-dependent as it is almost always observed in greatest abundance in shady areas beneath or between trees (Menkins 1998). In Queensland, it is found in areas of light to moderate shade beneath or beside trees, principally in the soils and plant communities of the Poplar Box (Eucalyptus populnea) woodlands (Leigh et al. 1984; Menkins 1998). These woodlands occur on level terraces on rock free, clay loam soils that are not prone to regular flooding (Fensham 1998).

Understorey composition

The understorey usually contains Geijera parviflora (Menkins 1998). Belson's Panic is also found in the shadier areas of Acacia melvillei, A. pendula and A. harpophylla communities and, less commonly, in Mountain Coolibah (Eucalyptus orgadophila) communities, and on roadsides (Menkins 1998).

Belson's Panic is proposed to have the ability to recolonise cleared or a highly disturbed area as it has been found in regenerating vegetation along roadsides (Menkins 1998).

Flowering occurs February–May (Sharp & Simon 2001) and possibly November–December as fruiting has been recorded in February (Leigh et al. 1984). The exact viability time for seeds is not known. However, initial trials have indicated that it germinates readily without the need for a dormancy period (Menkins 1998; Trémont & Whalley 1993a). Dispersal of seed occurs when the panicle dries after seed formation and breaks off in the wind. The wind causes the panicle to migrate forward in a continuous rolling motion until an obstacle is encountered (Menkins 1998). Menkins (1998) suggests that the seed is then discarded with the further drying of the panicle.

Habitat clearing

Habitat clearing, especially of Poplar Box woodlands in Queensland, for grazing, cropping and mining, is a major threat to Belson's Panic. Many Poplar Box woodlands are now remnants on less arable land and roadsides (Menkins 1998; Leigh et al 1984).

Weed invasion

Introduction of weeds to remnants, such as Green Panic Grass (Panicum maximum var. trichoglume), appears to have either diminished or completely taken over potential Belson's Panic habitat at several locations in the Darling Downs district. Other weed invasions include Hyparrhenia hirta between Warialda and the NSW-Queensland border and Tiger Pear (Opuntia aurantiaca) east of Goondiwindi (NSW DECW 2005ga).

Herbicide application

Chemical spray drift from agricultural areas can poison Belson's Panic (NSW DECW 2005ga).

Soil compaction

Soil compaction from dairying and beef cattle production could possibly lead to a replacement of original native grass species with more hardy and vigorous exotic and/or native grasses and thereby allow the establishment of a pastoral monoculture (NSW DECW 2005ga; Trémont & Whalley 1993a).

Grazing

Grazing from dairying and beef cattle production may lead to a proliferation of a diverse range of invasive and vigorous weed species. Menkins (1998) observed that Belson's Panic was absent from lands with a grazing regime, such that colonies were surviving along the fenced off roadsides, yet were absent on the other side of the fences in grazed lands. Menkins (1998) and Trémont & Whalley (1993a) did observe that intermittent or low density grazing did not appear to harm Belson's Panic and may actually be advantageous. They highlighted the need for future studies to determine the effects of different grazing pressures and grazing management practices on the populations.

Roadworks

Populations that are restricted to roadsides are effected by roadworks and spraying or poisoning of associated vegetation and trench digging (NSW DECW 2005ga).

Rubbish dumping and firewood

Garbage and garden refuse dumped in remnants, and the collection of firewood can also impact on areas of Belson's Panic (NSW DECW 2005ga).

Belson's Panic is identified as a floristic component of the endangered ecological community White Box - Yellow Box - Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland for which a draft recovery plan (NSW DEC 2010) has been prepared. Actions in this draft plan include:

  • Negotiate protection of key sites through a range of management agreements and protective covenants.
  • Develop and implement management plans for priority Box-Gum Grassy Woodland sites, including all reserves and public land sites.
  • Identify gaps in current monitoring to ensure the geographic range and ecological variation within the ecological community is represented, and to coordinate implementation and analysis of all monitoring.
  • Develop a list of significant species for each bioregion. Identify any key plant indicators by Bioregion which are particular to this community.
  • Develop and implement an agreed strategy across jurisdictions for the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of protected Box-Gum Grassy Woodland.
  • Develop communication and education strategies.
  • Undertake genetic research of key Box-Gum Grassy Woodland components e.g. forbs, grasses, shrubs and trees, functional fauna assemblages.
  • Monitor condition and diversity of protected sites under varying management regimes.
  • Identify any regional difference in Box-Gum Grassy Woodland ecological community response to management.

Trémont & Whalley (1993a) also make recommendations for the management of remnant habitats of Belson's Panic including maintenance of overstorey vegetation, preservation of sub-shrub and shrub populations, regeneration of native vegetation, and strategic protection of lands. Exclusion of stock from areas of habitat or light strategic grazing of sites, weed control and protection of areas from clearing and further fragmentation are also identified as key management actions (NSW DECW 2005ga).

Management documents for Belson's Panic include:

  • Draft National Recovery Plan for White Box - Yellow Box - Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland (NSW DECCW 2010j).

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:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Homopholis belsonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008abi) [Conservation Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat alteration (vegetation, soil, hydrology) due to trampling and grazing by livestock Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat loss and modification due to clearance of native vegetation and pasture improvements Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Homopholis belsonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008abi) [Conservation Advice].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat loss, modification and degradation due to firewood collection Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Homopholis belsonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008abi) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Hyparrhenia hirta (Coolatai Grass, Tambookie Grass, Thatching Grass) Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Panicum maximum (Guinea Grass, Green Panic, Hamil Grass) Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Pollution:Airborne Agricultural pollutants:Drift of agricultural chemicals Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Pollution:Garbage and Solid Waste:Dumping of household and industrial waste Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Homopholis belsonii (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008abi) [Conservation Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006lk) [Internet].

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW (NSW DECW) (2005ga). Species Profile- Belson's Panic. [Online]. Available from: http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=10925.

Fensham, R.J. (1998). The grassy vegetation of the Darling Downs, south-eastern Queensland, Australia. Floristics and grazing effects. Biological Conservation. 84:301-310.

Harden, G.J. (ed) (1993). Flora of New South Wales, Volume Four. Kensington, NSW: University of NSW Press.

Leigh, J., R. Boden & J. Briggs (1984). Extinct and Endangered Plants of Australia. Melbourne, Victoria: Macmillan.

Menkins, I. (1998). Draft report for survey of Homopholis belsonii C.E. Hubb. on the Darling Downs. Toowoomba and Region Environment Council Inc.

NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW) (2010j). Draft National Recovery Plan for White Box - Yellow Box - Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland. Sydney, NSW: DECCW.

Queensland Herbarium (2008b). Unpublished data.

Sharp, D. & B. Simon (2001). Ausgrass: Encyclopedia of Australian Grasses. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing & Australian Biological Resources Study.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008abi). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Homopholis belsonii. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/2406-conservation-advice.pdf.

Trémont, R.M. & R.D.B. Whalley (1993a). Draft final report for survey for Homopholis belsonii. Department of Botany, University of New England.

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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). Homopholis belsonii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sun, 24 Aug 2014 06:41:34 +1000.