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 Critically Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006cg) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zq) [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
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (45) (14/08/2006) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006j) [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].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Critically Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013)
Scientific name Acacia unguicula [55592]
Family Fabaceae:Fabales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author R.S.Cowan & Maslin
Infraspecies author  
Reference Nuytsia 7(2) (1990) 218.
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: Acacia unguicula (Cowan & Maslin 1990).

Acacia unguicula is an erect shrub growing to 2 m tall (or tree to 3 m), with smooth grey bark. The stipules are persistent, somewhat recurved and 0.7-1.2 mm long. The phyllodes are rigid, erect, narrowly oblong to oblanceolate, pungent, to 40 mm long and 4 mm wide, with 14-16 prominent nerves. They are olive green and clustered towards the ends of the branches, with the persistent stipules remaining on the bare brachlets. The flower heads are deep golden, globular, 5-6mm in diameter, in clusters of 24-34 flowers on stalks 7-11mm long. The reddish-brown pods are linear, becoming coiled, to 60 mm long, 2 mm wide (CALM 2005; Cowan & Maslin 1990; Maslin 2001; Patrick 2001; WA Herbarium 2005).

Acacia unguicula is endemic to Western Australia and known from three populations on a pastoral lease at Mt Singleton, approximately 280 km south east of Geraldton (CALM 2005; Maslin 2001; WA Herbarium 2005).

The extent of occurrence for the Acacia unguicula is estimated to be 1 km². There is little data to show the species has experienced a decline in extent of occurrence. However, there is evidence to show that the species has undergone a reduction in population size as a result of grazing pressure. In the absence of appropriate measures to protect plants from grazing, it is likely that the extent of occurrence of the species will decline in the future (CALM 2005).

The area of occupancy for the three populations of Acacia unguicula are as below (CALM 2005):

Population 1: 200 x 50 m

Population 2: 50 x 50 m

Population 3: 50 x 80 m

The total area of occupancy is approximately 0.00048 km².

There is little data to show that Acacia unguicula has experienced a decline in area of occupancy (CALM 2005).

Acacia unguicula is only known from three populations which occur within a 1 km² area on a pastoral lease at Mt Singleton. The major current threatening process, grazing by feral goats, is currently impacting all three populations (CALM 2005).

Acacia unguicula is known from three small populations within a very small area. The area between the populations is still vegetated so the populations are not considered to be fragmented (CALM 2005).

A CALM Flora Conservation Officer from the Geraldton District surveyed all three known populations on 6.10.04 and reported that each of these populations were in a poor condition as a result of grazing pressures (CALM 2005);

Population Survey Date No. Plants Condition
Population 1 6/10/04 5 mature plants Poor condition
Population 2 6/10/04 27 mature plants most plants grazed to about 20 cm high. One plant growing high through shrub with fruit
Population 3a & b 6/10/04 11 mature plants Poor condition. Some plants grazed down to 30 cm others tall & scraggly

Previous surveys were carried out during 2001 and the results are as follows (CALM 2005):

Population Survey Date No. Plants Condition
Population 1 20/8/01 7 mature plants Poor condition. Three in flower, the others grazed down to stumps
Population 2 20/8/01 41 mature plants Poor condition. Six plants in flower, 35 plants heavily grazed
Population 3a & b 20/8/01 43 mature plants Poor condition. Twenty-four plants in flower and many plants heavily grazed

CALM staff have undertaken surveys for Acacia unguicula on the following occasions:

  • 2 days spent surveying Mt Singleton to summit and Wylacoopin Hill (April 1992);
  • 1 day spent surveying lower slopes of Mt Singleton (August 1992);
  • 1 day spent surveying Mt Singleton (October 1993);
  • 0.5 days spent surveying gullies on the north side of Singleton Range between homestead and highway (October 1993);
  • 1 day spent surveying Mt Singleton Range, north of Mt Gibson homestead, Mt Gibson Station and west end of range on highway (July 1994);
  • 3 days spent surveying hills west and north of Mt Singleton (July 1994);
  • 1 day spent surveying 82 km north-east of Wubin on highway and Mt Gibson area (July 1996); and
  • 2 days spent surveying eastern end of Mt Singleton Range, Mt Gibson Station (April 2001).

The total population size for this species is 43 plants across three populations (CALM 2005).

Population 1: 5 plants (in poor condition with evidence of grazing from feral goats);

Population 2: 27 plants (in poor condition with most plants grazed to about 20 cm high);

Population 3a & b: 11 plants (in poor condition with some grazed to 30 cm while others are tall & scraggly).

The available data shows that there has been a decline in all three populations of Acacia unguicula over a two year period (CALM 2005).

Date of Survey Population 1 Population 2 Population 3a & b
9/10/02 8 41 63
6/10/04 5 27 11

Based on the available evidence on the status of the three known populations, it seems likely that the populations will continue to decline if grazing pressure is not controlled (CALM 2005).

None of the three populations of Acacia unguicula are located within the reserve system or are managed specifically for conservation. All of the populations occur on land which is under pastoral lease. The leaseholders of the land parcels containing the three known populations are aware of the conservation status of Acacia unguicula (CALM 2005).

Acacia unguicula grows on the upper slopes and summit of Mt Singleton amongst open scrub, in rocky clay, brown clayey sand or brown loam with dolerite (CALM 2005; Maslin 2001; WA Herbarium 2005).

Species associated with Acacia unguicula include: Allocasuarina tesselata, A. campestris, Acacia imitans, A. acuminanta, Micromyrtus racemosa var. mucrata and Brachysema aphylla (CALM 2005; Maslin 2001; WA Herbarium 2005).

The critically endangered species Acacia imitans and Hybanthus cymulosus are recorded as growing in the vicinity of Acacia unguicula at all three population sites. Four priority species are also known to occur at Mt. Singleton: Allocasuarina tessellata (P1), Micromyrtus racemosa var. mucronata (P1), Grevillea subtiliflora (P1) and G. scabrida (P3) (CALM 2005).

Details of the ages of sexual maturity, life expectancy and natural mortality of Acacia unguicula are unknown. Individuals in all populations were recorded as being heavily grazed by goats in 2001 and 2002. As a result, plants are only able to flower where they are protected by surrounding shrubs, or when flowering branches shoot above the grazing line (CALM 2005).

The flowering period for Acacia unguicula is August to September and no mature legumes have been observed (Cowan & Maslin 1990; Patrick 2001; WA Herbarium 2005). Little is known regarding the levels of flower and fruit production, pollination mechanisms or the requirements for flower and seed production (CALM 2005).

Acacia unguicula is related to Acacia lineolate subsp. multilineata and A. patagiata but differs in its persistent spiny stipules, and very strongly raised prominent nerves. It is also similar to A. formidabilis (Maslin 2001).

Any additional survey should focus on the area between Wubin and Paynes in the Mt. Singleton Range, given that all three known populations occur within the vicinity of Mt Singleton. The surveys should also extend further into remnant vegetation in similar soil and vegetation types (CALM 2005).

The main past and current threats to Acacia unguicula is grazing by feral goats. Fire and drought also have the potential to impact on the already grazed populations and possible future climate change may exacerbate the impacts of fire and drought (CALM 2005).

Population Past Present
1 Grazing Feral goats grazing/Wildfire
2 Grazing Feral goats grazing/ Wildfire
3a & b Grazing Feral goats Grazing/Wildfire

CALM (2005) has undertaken the following steps to address the threats impacting on Acacia unguicula;

  • The managers of the land parcels containing the three known populations have been notified and advised of their legislative responsibilities to protect the plants. Legislative protection under the Wildlife Conservation Act (1950) and clearing provisions under the Environmental Protection Act (1986) provide legal protection from clearing and other human physical disturbance to the plants and population sites.
  • The District Flora Conservation Officer has liaised with the pastoralists to raise awareness of the threatened flora values and encourage destocking and fencing of areas containing rare flora. This has also involved liaison with staff from the West Australian Department of Agriculture regarding levels of grazing.
  • Pastoralists have carried out two musters for goats in 2001-2002 removing 4100 goats. In December 2001 a survey estimated 10 000 goats and 10 000 sheep on the pastoral lease leaving 5000 goats concentrated on the sensitive ranges due to the presence of natural springs.
  • The Flora Conservation Officer also liaised with the Central Agricultural and Pastoral Aboriginal Corporation (CAPAC) and provided assistance with information to obtain the necessary funds to fence out the Mt Singleton Range. Preparation for fencing to protect populations of rare flora in the Mt Singleton ranges commenced in November 2004 and should now be completed.

Future planned recovery actions may include (CALM 2005);

  • Continue to liaise with the pastoralists to raise awareness of the threatened flora values.
  • Continue to liaise with representatives from the Department of Agriculture in relation to measures taken by the Pastoral Board and Soil Conservation Commission to resolve over stocking land degradation problems.
  • Survey more extensively throughout the Mt Singleton Range to further determine the extent of each species.
  • Continue to monitor threatened flora populations on Mt Singleton Range to determine if fencing is an effective protective measure.
  • Collect germplasm material for storage according to the protocols of the West Australian Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC).

Acacia unguicula was first described by Cowan & Maslin (1990) and later described in Maslin (2001).

There is no recovery plan or Interim Recovery Plan prepared specifically for the Acacia unguicula but it is included in the Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Geraldton District, Wildlife Management Program No. 26 (Patrick 2001).

CALM (2005). Records held in CALM's Declared Rare Flora Database and Rare Flora File. West Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Cowan, R.S. & B.R.Maslin (1990). Nuytsia 7(2) 218-219.

IUCN (2001). IUCN Red List Categories: Version 3.1. Prepared by the IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Maslin, B.R. (2001). Wattle. Acacias of Australia. Interactive Identification CD. ABRS and Department of Conservation and Land Management, Collingwood.

Patrick, S. (2001). Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Geraldton District. Wildlife Management Program No 26. West Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth Western Australia

TFSC (2005). Records held in CALM's Threatened Flora Seed Centre database. Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Western Australian Herbarium (2005). FloraBase. The Western Australian Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management. http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/

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:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate change altering atmosphere/hydrosphere temperatures, rainfall patterns and/or frequency of severe weather events Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zq) [Conservation Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Droughts:Drought Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zq) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Capra hircus (Goat) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006cg) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006cg) [Listing Advice].
Protected status:Protected status:Lack of secure conservation land tenure Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008zq) [Conservation Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Commonwealth Listing Advice on Acacia unguicula (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2006cg) [Listing Advice].

Cowan, R.S. & B.R. Maslin (1990). Nuytsia.:218-219.

IUCN (2001). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria version 3.1. IUCN, Gland Switzerland.

Maslin, B.R. (2001). Wattle. Acacias of Australia. Interactive Identification CD. ABRS and CALM, Collingwood.

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.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/283/1213/.

Threatened Flora Seed Centre (TFSC) (2005). Records held in the Department of Conservation and Land Management's Threatened Flora Seed Centre database. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA CALM) (2005). Records held in CALM's Declared Flora Database and Rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: WA CALM.

Western Australian Herbarium (2005). FloraBase - The Western Australian Flora. [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/.

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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). Acacia unguicula in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:35:09 +1000.