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
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
 
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
TAS:Threatened Species Notesheet - Carex tasmanica (Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tas. DPIPWE), 2013) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Carex tasmanica (curly sedge): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014b) [State Action Plan].
VIC:Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 88-Curly Sedge Carex tasmanica (Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE), 2009u) [State Action Plan].
State Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Vulnerable (Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria: 2005)
Scientific name Carex tasmanica [9101]
Family Cyperaceae:Cyperales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Kuk.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Kukenthal, G., (1904) Cariceae Novae vel minus cognitae. Bulletin de l'Herbier Boissier 4: 59 [tax. nov.]
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

Carex tasmanica was removed from the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania) as it was no longer regarded as threatened (Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick 1996b). The Tasmanian Government suggests that a Commonwealth reassessment of the species’ eligibility for listing on the EPBC Act may be appropriate (Tas. DPIPWE 2013).

The listing status of the species under Commonwealth legislation still applies in Tasmania. Proposed actions likely to have a significant impact on these MNES should be referred to the department for assessment and approval.

The Curly Sedge is a short, wiry, perennial sedge forming clumps up to 50 cm high. The species has leaves that are narrow (approximately 1.5 mm wide), which curl at the apex (Leigh & Briggs 1992). The leaves are pale green to brown, with faint red spots and faint parallel veins (Carter 2010). Seeds are ellipsoid (oval) to obovoid (egg-shaped), triangular in cross-section and dark yellow-brown. The species is also known to produce a long rhizome (Wilson cited in Carter 2010).

The Curly Sedge has a scattered distribution throughout western and south-western Victoria and the central and south-eastern Tasmania (Briggs & Leigh 1996; Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick 1996b; Leigh & Briggs 1992; Morcom 1999). The species occurs in the Victorian Volcanic Plain, Tasmanian Northern Midlands and the Tasmanian Southern Ranges IBRA bioregions.

It is noted that the precise distribution of the species is difficult to obtain, due to misidentification of the species because of its similar appearance to many other sedge grasses. Approximately 60 sites have been confirmed for Curly Sedge occurrence (40 in Tasmania and 20 in Victoria).

Victoria

In Victoria, the Curly Sedge occurs between Portland and Melbourne (Carter 2010). Important sites (populations) that are necessary to the long-term survival in Victoria that have been identified include (Carter 2010):

Location Land tenure Estimated population size
Macarthur Private land 300 000+ (2001)
Branxholme Private land 22 000-330 000 (2003)
Inverary Lane Road reserve 1000-5000 (2003)
Heywood Crown reserve 200-400 (2003)
Hotspur-Condah Road 95% Private land
5% Road reserve
50 000 (2003)
Lake Condah Private land Unknown
Craigieburn Nature Conservation Reserve Nature Conservation Reserve 2000-10 000+ (2003)
Craigieburn Private land <100 (no date)

Tasmania

In Tasmania, the species occurs from Launceston in the north, to New Norfolk, Kingston and Bruny Island in the south and to the eastern extent of the state. More than 100 subpopulations are known in Tasmania, with at least 50 of those discovered since 2005 (Tas. DPIPWE 2013). It is common and secure in Tasmania (DIER 2009).

Ex situ

The Curly Sedge has been propagated at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart, and has been re-introduced to two field sites and two ex situ sites in Tasmania (Ball 1995 in Morcom 1999). The Curly Sedge has also been propagated and planted in the Melbourne area as a soil stabiliser along drainage lines and dam banks.

Across the 120 sites that the Curly Sedge is known to occur at (Carter 2010; Tas. DPIPWE 2013), the total population size is estimated to be between 500 000 and 1 million individuals. Difficulties in estimating total abundance are due to the similar appearance of the Curly Sedge to other sedge grasses and the fact that vegetative reproduction from the rhizome can result in ‘clumps’ of plants that are genetically identical (Carter 2010).

Most known sites where the Curly Sedge occurs in Victoria are on private land, with a few on roadsides and only one in a conservation reserve (Craigieburn Nature Conservation Reserve). Most known sites in Tasmania are on private land and roadsides, with a few occurring on protected land (Carter 2010).

The Curly Sedge is found in seasonally moist to waterlogged sites with heavy fertile loamy soils that are often slightly saline. Mean annual rainfall across the species range varies from 300—600 mm with a moderate to pronounced winter maximum. These moist areas are usually within grassland with little or no tree cover (Carter 2010; Leigh & Briggs 1992).

In Victoria, the Curly Sedge is generally confined to the upper margin of vegetation around slightly saline drainage lines or marshes on fertile soils derived from basalt (Morcom 1999). In the Craigieburn area, the species is co-dominant with Common Spike Sedge (Eleocharis acuta) and occurs on heavy grey-black volcanic soil, in areas too wet to support the otherwise dominant Common Tussock-grass (Poa labillardieri) (Morcom 1999).

North of Portland on the Hotspur-Condah Road, the Curly Sedge grows in a seasonally-inundated swamp on heavy black soil, associated with Woolly Tea-tree (Leptospermum lanigerum), Common Tussock-grass and Common Spike-sedge. In contrast, at the nearby Lake Condah site, the dominant native species are Shiny Bog Sedge (Schoenus nitens) and Shiny Swamp Mat (Selliera radicans) (Aboriginal Affairs Victoria cited in Morcom 1999). This site is described as grassland on the margins of a freshwater swamp on fertile organic soil (Victorian Workshop Participants 2000).

In Tasmania, the Curly Sedge is found in soaks and seepage lines (rather than on the margins of watercourses) and generally on sandy or clay loam soils (Gilfedder 1991). It grows at altitudes from 0 to 600 m above sea level, in soils derived from dolerite, basalt, sandstone and wind-blown sands and with a median pH of 7 (Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick 1996b). The species occurs largely in treeless grassy ecosystems, dominated by a thick sward of Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra). However, one population at Kingston, south-east of Hobart, is in open forest of Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata) (Gilfedder 1991). Gilfedder and Kirkpatrick (1996b) provide a complete list of associated species and note that most of the populations occur in communities dominated by exotic plants.

The tiny, greenish flowers of the Curly Sedge are borne on dense spikes, at the end of long stems that extend beyond the foliage. Flowering has been reported to occur in spring (Walsh & Entwisle 1994) or in the warmer months of the year (Leigh & Briggs 1992).

Regeneration is achieved mainly through division which occurs as a result of soil disturbance, such as grazing and scraping of road verges. Many Tasmanian populations grow in drainage ditches and young plants are usually associated with bare ground (Gilfedder & Kirkpaqtrick 1996). The species is known to respond favourably to certain levels of mechanical disturbance (such as roadside slashing and/or shallow scraping), and tends to be resistant to herbicides (Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick 1996b). The species does not appear to be disadvantaged by sheep grazing, but does not tolerate cattle grazing (Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick 1996b). It is capable of resprouting after fire (Gilfedder 1991). Germination has only been achieved with fresh seed and few seedlings have been observed during field surveys (Gilfedder 1991).

Surveys to detect the species should be undertaken in spring and early summer, when the Curly Sedge is likely to be in flower, due to the species' similar appearance to some other sedge grasses.

Other species of sedge that have been mistaken for the Curly Sedge include: the Stream Sedge (Carex brownii), Tussock Sedge (Carex iynx) and Bichenov's Sedge (Carex bichenoviana) (Cheal cited in Leigh & Briggs 1992; Morcom 1999).

Much of the former habitat of the Curly Sedge has been cleared for agriculture and remaining populations are small, often genetically isolated and generally occur on private land or unprotected roadside verges (Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick 1996b; Leigh & Briggs 1992; Morcom 1999). Many are surrounded by farmland and are threatened by further pasture development, roadworks and changes in grazing and cropping regimes (Leigh & Briggs 1992). Although the Curly Sedge is known to be negatively impacted by cattle grazing, sheep grazing does not appear to have a severe impact (Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick 1996b).

All Tasmanian sites are heavily invaded by exotic species including Gorse (Ulex europeus), Boneseed (Chrysanthemum monilifera), Hawkweed (Picris echioides) and Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) (Gilfedder 1991). A complete list of competing exotic species is given by Gilfedder & Kirkpatrick (1996b).

The National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge identifies threats for populations in Victoria and Tasmania. The key threats identified are (Carter 2010):

  • weed invasion
  • altered hydrological regimes
  • grazing
  • changing land use
  • roadworks
  • climate change.

The National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge identifies a number of key recovery objectives, including (Carter 2010):

  • determine (accurately) the species' distribution, abundance and population structure
  • identify habitat requirements (including habitat critical to the survival of the species)
  • ensure that important populations and their habitat are protected and managed appropriately
  • manage threats to populations
  • identify key biological functions
  • determine growth rates and viability of populations
  • build community support for conservation.

Documents relevant to the management of the Curly Sedge can be found at the start of the profile.

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 Carex tasmanica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006et) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Annual and Perennial Non-Timber Crops:Intensive agricultural practices Carex tasmanica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006et) [Internet].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Carex tasmanica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006et) [Internet].
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 National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat modification, destruction and alteration due to changes in land use patterns National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Phalaris aquatica (Phalaris) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Ulex europaeus (Gorse, Furze) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Juncus acutus (Spiny Rush) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn, May, Azzarola, Singleseed Hawthorn, English Hawthorn, Red Hawthorn, White Hawthorn, Whitethorn) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Potentilla anserina (Silver Weed) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Rosa rubiginosa (Sweet Briar, Briar Rose, Sweet Briar Rose, Eglantine) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock, Yass River Tussock, Yass Tussock, Nassella Tussock (NZ)) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Lycium ferocissimum (African Boxthorn, Boxthorn) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Arctotheca calendula (Capeweed, Cape Dandelion) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Cynara cardunculus (Artichoke Thistle, Artichoke Cardoon, Wild Artichoke, Desert Artichoke, Spanish Artichoke, Scotch Thistle, Cardoon, Globe Artichoke) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Nassella neesiana (Chilean Needle grass) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Rubus fruticosus aggregate (Blackberry, European Blackberry) National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation caused by exotic pasture species National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) 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].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low genetic diversity and genetic inbreeding Carex tasmanica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006et) [Internet].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Carex tasmanica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006et) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) (Carter, O., 2010) [Recovery Plan].
Carex tasmanica in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006et) [Internet].

Ball, P (1997). Carex tasmanica Final Report. Australian Nature Conservation Agency. Parks and Wildlife Service: Tasmania.

Briggs, J.D. & J.H. Leigh (1996). Rare or Threatened Australian Plants - Revised Edition. Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.

Carter, O. (2010). National Recovery Plan for the Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica). [Online]. East Melbourne, Victoria: Department of Sustainability and Environment. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/carex-tasmanica.html.

Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) (2009). Midland Highway Brighton Bypass (South) Brisgewater Roundabout to The Lodge: Translocationn Plan.

Gilfedder, L. (1991). Carex tasmanica Flora Recovery Plan. Hobart: Tas Dept. Parks, Wildlife & Heritage.

Gilfedder, L. & J.B. Kirkpatrick (1996b). The Distribution, ecology and management of two rare Tasmanian sedges-Schoenus absconditus Kuk. & Carex tasmanica Kuk. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania. 130(1):31-40. Hobart: The Royal Society of Tasmania.

Hydro Tasmania Consulting (2009). Proposed Duckhole Rivulet Dam. Draft Mitigation Plan for Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica). EPBC Referral 2009/4917. Hobart, Tasmania: Hydro-Electric Corporation.

Leigh, J.H. & J.D. Briggs (Eds) (1992). Threatened Australian Plants. Overview and Case Studies. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Morcom, L. (1999). Action Statement No. 88 Curly Sedge Carex tasmanica. Melbourne: Dept. Natural Resources & Environment.

Threatened Species Section (TSS) (2014b). Carex tasmanica (curly sedge): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link. [Online]. Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania. Available from: http://www.threatenedspecieslink.tas.gov.au/carex-tasmanica.

Victorian Workshop Participants (2000). Personal communication.

Walsh, N.G. & T.J. Entwisle. (eds) (1994). Flora of Victoria, Volume Two. Melbourne: Royal Botanic Gardens, Inkata.

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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). Carex tasmanica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:21:37 +1000.