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 Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
 
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, "the Threatened Species Scientific Committee recommended that there should not be a recovery plan for this species, as this species is a component of the EPBC Act listed 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions' ecological community. A recovery plan is currently being prepared for this ecological community and the Mt. Berryman Phebalium will be included in this recovery plan (19/12/2008)".
 
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 (68) (Mt. Berryman Phebalium) (19/12/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008h) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Scientific name Phebalium distans [81869]
Family Rutaceae:Sapindales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author P.I.Forst.
Infraspecies author  
Reference P.I. Forster (2003), Austrobaileya 6(3): 438-441
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: Phebalium distans

Common Name: Mt Berryman Phebalium

This species was previously known as Phebalium squamulosum subsp. squamulosum.

Mt Berryman Phebalium is a small tree growing to 8 m tall with a trunk of up to 15 cm in diameter at breast height. The flowers are cream, ageing to cream-fawn. The leaves are 1.5–5 cm long, 2–10 mm wide, and more or less smooth on the upper surface. The leaves have a variable shape. They are usually linear to oblong or lance-shaped, but may also be elliptic to broad-elliptic or egg-shaped. The fruit is a capsule with small seeds which are shed locally (Forster 2003).

Mt Berryman Phebalium is found in south-eastern Queensland. Populations are known from near Mt Berryman, Kingaroy (Mt Jones Plateau and surrounds) and Mt Walla (Coalston Lakes) (TSSC 2008afa).

The extent of occurrence is estimated to be less than 100 km² (TSSC 2008afa).

The area of occupancy is estimated to be less than 10 km² (TSSC 2008afa).

Mt Berryman Phebalium has a severely fragmented distribution and is found at three separate locations over 90 km apart (Mt Berryman, Kingaroy and Mt Walla). The land between known locations has been cleared for agriculture with no connectivity between remnants. Fragmentation and lack of connectivity is a particular problem due to this species' limited capacity for seed dispersal and no records of vegetative reproduction (TSSC 2008afa).

The total population size of Mt Berryman Phebalium is estimated to be 1000 plants, of which 175 are mature individuals (TSSC 2008afa). This estimate was derived from an analysis of stem count and size class data from a population study at Kingaroy (Haskard 2006). This species is generally found in small groups or as solitary specimens (Haskard 2006).

There are ten populations of Mt Berryman Phebalium. Five of these are found near Mt Berryman, four are found near Kingaroy, and one is located at Mt Walla (TSSC 2008afa). It is unlikely that further populations of Mt Berryman Phebalium will be located as thorough surveys of the ecosystem in which this species occurs have been undertaken by Forster and colleagues (1991) and staff at the Queensland Herbarium.

Although there are no historical population data, Mt Berryman Phebalium is suspected to have undergone a reduction in numbers, but the severity of this reduction is unknown (Forster 2003). Vegetation in which this species is associated occurs on highly fertile soils and has been extensively cleared for agriculture. The disjunct area of occupancy suggests that this species was widespread in the past and is currently restricted due to loss of suitable habitat and a lack of proactive management (Forster 2003).

Fewer than 20 plants from the known population in Kingaroy Shire, which exceeds 250 plants, are protected in a gazetted reserve. None of the known populations are actively managed for conservation (Forster 2003).

Mt Berryman Phebalium is found in semi-evergreen vine thicket on red volcanic soils, or in communities adjacent to this vegetation type (TSSC 2008afa). Geology of the area in which this species occurs is deeply weathered basalt with undulating to hilly terrain. Soils range from red-brown earths to brown clays (derived from siltstone and mudstones), and lithosols to shallow, gravelly krasnozems (very dark brown loam), derived from the Main Range Volcanics of the Tertiary period (EPA 2006a).
Vegetation associations in which Mt Berryman Phebalium occur include microphyll to notophyll vine forest with or without Araucaria cunninghamii and low microphyll vine forest and semi-evergreen vine thicket with or without Araucaria cunninghamii which can be divided further into regional ecosystems depending on substrate, geography and associated vegetation species (EPA 2006a).

Mt Berryman Phebalium is part of the 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions' Ecological Community. This ecological community is listed as endangered under the EPBC Act. This species occurs in association with other species listed under the EPBC Act including the endangered Cossinia (Cossinia australiiana), the vulnerable Denhamia parvifolia and the vulnerable Black-breasted Button-quail (Turnix melanogaster).

Mt Berryman Phebalium plants become mature at 1–2 m in height and usually flower in spring. Moderate falls of rain at other times of the year may also trigger opportunistic flowering. The pollination mechanism is unknown. Fruit generally form in late summer and early autumn. The capsular fruit produce small seeds that have limited dispersal ability. The species has not been recorded reproducing vegetatively and medium term monitoring indicates that this species does not readily reproduce under disturbance regimes, and never as a result of fire (TSSC 2008afa).

No other Phebalium occur in forests where Mt Berryman Phebalium is known to occur. The canopy form is easily detectable and the foliage of this species is unique in its size, shape, appearance and aromatic nature (when crushed).

Surveys to detect Mount Berryman Phebalium can be conducted throughout the year. For the most part, surveys can be restricted to patch edges and other high light areas. Expert acceptance of surveys is limited to those accompanied by vouchered and GPS logged or map grid referenced specimens, for referencing, referral and ground-truthing. Access to freehold land for surveys can be limiting. Recommended survey methods include selective grid systems, transects, or application of random meander technique.

Previously, Mt Berryman Phebalium, and habitat in which it occurs, was threatened by clearing of vegetation for agricultural land. The rich basaltic soils favoured by ecosystems in which this species occurs have high agricultural productivity and have subsequently been subject to land clearing (Forster 2003).

The main threats to Mt Berryman Phebalium are vegetation clearance, 'cleaning and tidying up' of scrub, inappropriate fire regimes, urban development and damage to plants through roadworks and roadside maintenance. Many of the vegetation remnants where this species occurs are too small to be mapped and protected under the Queensland Vegetation Management Act 1999. As a result, utilities infrastructure development and maintenance (including roads, telephone and electricity) may pose a significant threat to this species (TSSC 2008afa, 2008aet).

As Mt Berryman Phebalium does not resprout or germinate following fire, inappropriate fire regimes have the potential to lead to localised pressure following fire events (TSSC 2008aet).

The largest population of Mt Berryman Phebalium is threatened by increasing urbanisation and associated infrastructure development in the Tessman's Road area in the South Burnett region. If Tessman's Road were to be sealed, surrounding vegetation would have to be removed, including Mt Berryman Phebalium plants (TSSC 2008afa).

Potential threats to this species include drift of agricultural chemicals, erosion, soil compaction from human traffic, rubbish dumping, inappropriate habitat modification and invasion by weeds such as Guinea Grass (Megathyrsus maximus) and Climbing Asparagus (Protasparagus africanus). Invasive weeds also increase the fuel load of the area and can make Mt Berryman Phebalium more susceptible to damage from fire (TSSC 2008afa).

Minister's Reasons for Recovery Plan decision
It is recommended that there should not be a recovery plan for this species, as this species is a component of the EPBC Act listed 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions' ecological community. A recovery plan is currently being prepared for this ecological community and the Mt. Berryman Phebalium will be included in this recovery plan.

Mt Berryman Phebalium priority recovery actions identified in its Conservation Advice (TSSC 2008aet) include:

  • ensure infrastructure activities do not adversely impact on known populations
  • investigate formal conservation arrangements such as the use of covenants, conservation agreements or inclusion in reserve tenure, especially of road reserves
  • develop and implement weed management actions, target Guinea Grass and Climbing Asparagus
  • develop and implement a suitable fire management strategy
  • raise awareness of this species with local groups and discourage the practice of clearing lower and mid straum scrub
  • investigate options for linking, enhancing or establishing additional populations
  • improve understanding of biology, disturbance response and factors affecting recruitment
  • monitor known populations and the effectiveness of management actions
  • suitably control access to known sites.

The Kingaroy and Districts Branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants, Queensland Region Incorporated, is a major group building awarenes of Mt Berryman Phebalium. This group is particularly interested in preserving the ecosystems that this species occurs in and aims to provide knowledge and support to the local community activities. This group monitors a large area of vegetation important to Mt Berryman Phebalium, including habitat on private property (SGAP(Qld) undated).

Major studies on the 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions' ecological community, of which Mt Berryman Phebalium is a part, include Fensham (1995), Fensham and Fairfax (1997), Forster and Barton (1995), Kent (1987), McDonald (1996) and Vandersee (1975).

The Conservation Advice for Mt Berryman Phebalium indicates that management plans relevant to the recovery of Mt Berryman Phebalium include the Lockyer Valley Regional Council Draft Local Government Pest Management Plan 2004–2005, the South Burnett Regional Council Remnant Vegetation Strategy 2002–2003 and the South Burnett Regional Council Kingaroy Pest Management Plan 2005 (TSSC 2008aet).

The recovery plan for the endangered 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions' ecological community will have recovery actions for Mt Berryman Phebalium (TSSC 2008afa).

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 Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
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 Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat modification with associated erosion Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat modification, destruction and alteration due to changes in land use patterns Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem Degradation:Decline in habitat quality Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem Degradation:Habitat deterioration due to soil degradation and erosion Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Mechanical disturbance during construction, maintanance or recreational activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Soil disturbance and/or trampling due to bushwalking Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Work and Other Activities:Vandalism Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
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) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Asparagus africanus (Climbing Asparagus, Climbing Asparagus Fern) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Airborne Agricultural pollutants:Drift of agricultural chemicals Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Pollution:Airborne Agricultural pollutants:Herbicide drift Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Garbage and Solid Waste:Dumping of household and industrial waste Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat clearance for rural, peri-urban and urban development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008aet) [Conservation Advice].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Habitat modification due to maintenance of water pipeline easement Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Powerline easement maintenance and construction; mortality due to collision with powerlines Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2008afa) [Listing Advice].

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2006a). Regional Ecosystem Description Database (REDD Version 5.0). Brisbane: Queensland Herbarium.

Fensham, R.J. (1995). Floristics and environmental relations of inland dry rainforest in north Queensland, Australia. Journal of Biogeography. 22:1047-63.

Fensham, R.J. & R.J. Fairfax (1997). The use of land survey record to reconstruct pre-european vegetation patterns in the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia. Journal of Biogeography. 24:827-36.

Forster, B.A. & A.L. Barton (1995). Land systems of the Capricorn coast. Maps at 1:250 000 scale. Department of Primary Industries, Central Region, Rockhampton.

Forster, P.I. (2003). Phebalium distans P. I. Forst. (Rutaceae), a new and endangered species from south-eastern Queensland, and reinstatement of P. longifolium S. T. Blake. Austrobaileya. 6:3:437-444.

Forster, P.I., P.D. Bostock, L.H. Bird & A.R. Bean (1991). Vineforest Plant Atlas for South-East Queensland with Assessment of Conservation Status. Indooroopilly: Queensland Herbarium.

Haskard, C.M. (2006). A new and significant population of the endangered (yet unlisted) species, Phebalium distans, Tessman's Road, Kingaroy. Unpublished report.

Kent, D.J. (1987). Mapping units of the Mundubbera Shire. Brisbane: Queensland Department of Primary Industries.

McDonald, W.J.F. (1996). Spatial and temporal patterns in the dry season subtropcial rainforests of eastern Australia, with particular reference to the vine thickets of central and southern Queensland. Ph.D. Thesis. Armidale: Botany Department, University of New England.

Society for Growing Australian Plants, Queensland Region Incorporated (SGAP(Qld)) (undated). Kingaroy & District Branch. [Online]. Available from: http://www.sgapqld.org.au/kingaroy.html.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008aet). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Phebalium distans. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/81869-conservation-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2008afa). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Phebalium distans. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/81869-listing-advice.pdf.

Vandersee, B.E. (1975). Land inventory and technical guide Eastern Darling Downs Area Queensland. Division of Land Utilisation Technical Bulletin No.7. Brisbane, Queensland: Department of Primary Industries.

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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). Phebalium distans in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 2 Sep 2014 21:11:33 +1000.