Focusing on the Landscape Biodiversity in Australia’s National Reserve System Part B: Vascular Flora a report for Caring for Country



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Table 324 Ericaceae species with 30 or fewer individual site records in the ANHAT 

database.

Species

No. 


Records

% in 


NRS Location

Veg 


type

Area 


km

2

EPBC 



status

Gaultheria 

viridicarpa 

viridicarpa

13 100.00

300

VU

Rhododendron 

viriosum

14 100.00

500

NL

Gaultheria sp. point 



lookout

16

93.75



700

NL

Agiortia cicatricata

20

75.00


E

1600


NL

Pernettya lanceolata

24

83.33



900

NL

Removal of poorly recorded species leaves 4002 records in ANHAT for 13 species 



(and subspecies). The mean number of records per species for species with greater 

than 30 records was 308, with a mean of 65% of records in the NRS.

Eleven species of Ericaceae had 45% or greater of individual site records located 

within PAs (Table 325). Of those 11 species, none are classified as threatened.  Two 

species have more than 90% of their records within PAs.


502

Table 325 Ericaceae species with >45% of site records within PAs.

Species


No. 

Records 


in NRS

No. 


Records

% in 


NRS

Locatio


n

Veg 


type

Area 


km

2

EPBC 



status

Pernettya 

tasmanica

22

40



55.00

3700


NL

Gaultheria hispida

164


281

58.36


21200

NL

Acrothamnus 



hookeri

1027


1745

58.85


E

36000


NL

Acrothamnus 

maccraei

288


489

58.90


SE

7200


NL

Gaultheria 

appressa

252


422

59.72


13600

NL

Acrothamnus 



montanus

196


289

67.82


14100

NL

Gaultheria 



tasmanica

52

73



71.23

5900


NL

Acrothamnus 

spathaceus

170


229

74.24


NE

4000


NL

Agapetes meiniana

96

105



91.43

NE

1500



NL

Rhododendron 

lochiae

92

100



92.00

1700


NL

Gaultheria depressa

38

40



95.00

2600


NL

No species had less than 10% of ANHAT records located within PAs.

No Ericaceae species had records in more than 100 separate reserves.

No Ericaceae species had records in five or fewer PAs or records in five or fewer PAs 

greater than 1000 hectares. 


503

Asteliaceae

The ANHAT database has 3316 records for 18 species and subspecies of Asteliaceae. 

No species of Asteliaceae are considered extinct.

Three species account for approximately 50% of the total species records in ANHAT 

(

Table 326).  These species have over 350 records each.

Table 326 Asteliaceae species that account for approximately 50% of the total 

species records in ANHAT.

Species

No. Records



% total records

Cordyline petiolaris

396


11.94

Cordyline rubra

465


14.02

Cordyline cannifolia

740


22.32

Total


1601

48.28


Three species had 30 or fewer individual site records in the ANHAT database (

Table 327).  Of those species, one species is classified as vulnerable.  There are too 

few species to reasonably attempt to determine any patterns in this category.  

Exclusion of these poorly recorded species eliminates 75 records.

Table 327 Asteliaceae species with 30 or fewer individual site records in the 

ANHAT database.

Species

No. 


Records

% in 


NRS Location

Veg 


type

Area 


km

2

EPBC 



status

Milligania longifolia

22

95.45



TAS

1400


NL

Neoastelia 

spectabilis

25

84.00

E

600

VU

Milligania johnstonii

28

96.43



TAS

900


NL

Removal of the poorly recorded species leaves 3241 records in ANHAT for 15 

species (and subspecies).  The mean number of records per species for species with 

greater than 30 records was 216, with a mean 61% of records in the NRS.  This is a 

high level of reservation compared to most other families.

Ten species of Asteliaceae had 45% or greater of individual site records located 

within PAs (


504

Table 328).  This is two-thirds of the species with more than 30 records in the 

database.  Of those 10 species, no species are classified as threatened.  These species 

generally are located in eastern Australia, including Tasmania.  One species has all of 

its record sites located within the NRS.

Table 328 Asteliaceae species with >45% of site records within PAs.

Species


No. 

Records 


in NRS

No. 


Records

% in 


NRS Location

Veg 


type

Area 


km

2

EPBC 



status

Cordyline 

petiolaris

186


396

46.97


E

23100


NL

Cordyline stricta

130


274

47.45


E

22700


NL

Cordyline rubra

227


465

48.82


E

19800


NL

Cordyline 

cannifolia

375


740

50.68


NE,CN 

E

18100



NL

Astelia alpina 

novae-hollandiae

306


352

86.93


3700

NL

Milligania 



lindoniana

51

57



89.47

TAS


1800

NL

Astelia alpina

85

93

91.40



SE,TAS

5600


NL

Milligania 

densiflora

77

83



92.77

TAS


3700

NL

Milligania stylosa

40

41

97.56



TAS

1300


NL

Astelia 

psychrocharis

78

78 100.00



SE

1500


NL

No Asteliaceae species had less than 10% of ANHAT records located within PAs.

No Asteliaceae species had records in more than 100 separate reserves.

Four species had records in five or fewer PAs and four species had records in five or 

fewer PAs greater than 1000 hectares (

Table 329).  One species is classified as vulnerable.  The majority of species in this 

list had fewer than 100 individual site records and no species had more than 140 site 

records.  All species in this category have records in at least one PA, including at least 

one PA larger than 1000 ha.



Table 329 Asteliaceae species recorded from five or fewer PAs.

Species


No. 

Records


No. PAs

No. PAs 


>1000ha

EPBC 


status

505

Astelia psychrocharis

78

2



2

NL

Astelia australiana



136

2

1

VU

Milligania stylosa

41

3



3

NL

Milligania lindoniana

57

4

4



NL

506

Final Discussion

The 50 most speciose families of Australian vascular plants contain a very large 

number of species, particularly in comparison with the vertebrates and invertebrates 

analysed in Part A.  As was typical of the invertebrates, nearly all of the families of 

vascular plants included in this report had substantial numbers of species that had very 

few records (considered to be 30 records or fewer) available for them.  These species 

could not realistically be assessed in terms of their true distributions or status in the 

NRS.  Typically, 25-40% of species within a family fell within this category, although 

there were exceptions, with the Stylidiaceae having over 50% of species with few 

records and the Mimosaceae only around 10%.  Inland species appear to be more 

likely to fall into the category of fewer than 30 records.  Hence, they do not appear 

often on the lists of well or under-reserved species.  Inland species need more work to 

obtain records on which to base assessments of distribution, relative abundance and 

vegetation/habitat associations. Poorly recorded species require further study or 

survey so that their ranges can be accurately assessed and, where deemed necessary, 

this can then lead to better targeting of available PAs to determine more accurately 

their current reservation status.

The number of species within families with relatively high levels of reservation (more 

than 45% of records within PAs), varied much more greatly.  Relatively few species 

had 100% of their records within PAs, although most families had some species with 

at least 90% of their records in PAs.  Any species with such levels of records in a PA 

presumably have reasonable protection against threats such as land clearance, but still 

may be under threat from fires or feral animals that do not recognise the boundaries of 

a PA.  It is hard to recognise any patterns in such a broad category, but there may be a 

trend for species found in eastern Australia to be more likely to fall into this category.  

Typically, species with 10% or less of records within reserves constitute around one-

third of all species within a family.  There are species in most families that have no 

records within a PA in the ANHAT database.  These species may still be known from 

a PA, but any records that exist are either not in ANHAT or do not have an accuracy 

that allows them to be included in the analyses.  All of these species would benefit 

from further work to determine the PAs in which they may occur, or from which they 

are reported without verification, which can then be followed up by surveys to clarify 

the understanding of their reservation in the NRS.

The numbers of species that did not have a record currently recorded within a PA did 

not appear to be great with most families, being represented, as already noted, by no 

more than one or two species.  It would appear likely that most of these species have 

PAs within their known or expected ranges and may occur in a PA.  Whether this will 

greatly decrease the threat to the survival of any given species in the near future will 

depend on the species.  It was notable that, in nearly all cases where a species has 

been recorded from at least one PA, the PA is more than 1000 hectares in size.  These 

larger reserves will potentially hold populations that are more robust to disturbance 

and also will have greater genetic diversity and so be better able to adapt to any 

changes in the PA.  This is an encouraging result, but there is clearly room for 

improvement.



507

Where a family of vascular plants was represented by fewer than 70 species with 

records in ANHAT, we did not attempt to determine patterns of distribution or 

vegetation types within the various reservation tables.  There were often very few 

species in a table, making it unclear if a pattern would exist if several more species 

with information were added. Furthermore, data usually was not available on the 

distribution and vegetation associations of up to half the species.  It was not clear 

whether the species without information would have followed the same pattern and so 

it was considered unwise to make any judgements.  Also, smaller families often are 

relatively localised in Australia.

We consider that a thorough review of the vascular plants in Australia would be of 

great benefit, along the lines of reviews undertaken or proposed for the vertebrates 

(e.g. the global amphibian assessment).  Such a review is highly likely to lead to a 

very large number of species being listed in the Data Deficient category of the IUCN, 

but this would greatly assist in providing an accurate representation of vascular plants 

in Australia as the review would include experts and authorities on each family of 

vascular plants.  The limitations of the project meant that floristic specialists could not 

be used to supplement published or online information. 

Any such review would be assisted or could otherwise lead to the development of 

some form of consolidated information base for each family.  Such a resource would 

greatly assist in the continued development of our understanding of many of these 

families of vascular plants.  A few families have available either books or websites 

that summarise the known information and/or profile many, most or all species within 

a family, but this was a rarity.  For most families, no books exist that provide even a 

basic summary of up-to-date knowledge on the families and searches on the internet 

produced mixed results relating mainly to scientific papers covering few species.  The 

information on most families was time consuming to obtain (if available) and often 

involved going to several websites for each species.  This is a very direct contrast to 

the Australian vertebrate fauna, which are covered by either field guides or websites 

with extensive information on families and the species within them.  A provision of 

online resources on all families of Australian vascular (and non-vascular) plants 

would be of great benefit in future decision-making processes in regards to plant 

conservation.  


508

Authors’ acknowledgements  

We thank Cameron Slatyer and Amy Jarrott for their insistence in pursuing this 

project.  We also thank Brooke Glasser for help in getting the project up and running 

and Karl Newport for providing the data and assistance in untangling it.  We thank our 

various departments and organisations for allowing us the time and resources to 

undertake this work.



Data acknowledgements

The ANHAT data used for this report comes from authoritative sources, but these 

sources are not perfect. All species names have been confirmed as valid species 

names, but it is not possible to confirm all species locations. The summary 

summarises the input data, so errors found in the original data would also be reflected 

in this report.

The scientific names and taxonomic concepts used in this report reflect an ANHAT 

view of the data and not necessarily that found in government censuses, databases or 

other authoritative lists.

Thank you to the following organisations and individuals for providing species 

location data used in the Australian Natural Heritage Assessment Tool (ANHAT) to 

generate Parts A and B of this biodiversity summary:



Council of Heads of Australian Faunal Collections (CHAFC)

ANHAT acknowledges the Council of Heads of Australian Fauna Collections 

(CHAFC) for supply of data from the following CHAFC member institutions:

· Australian Museum

· CSIRO Australian National Insect Collection

· Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

· Museum Victoria

· Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Launceston)

· Queensland Museum

· South Australian Museum

· Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (Hobart)

· Western Australian Museum

The taxonomic concepts used in this report reflect an ANHAT view of the data and 

not necessarily that of the CHAFC parent fauna collections.



Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH)

ANHAT acknowledges the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria Inc. (CHAH 

Inc.) and partners in Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH) for the supply of data from 

the AVH. The AVH is a collaborative project of Australian State, Territory and 

Commonwealth herbaria through CHAH Inc. and includes:


509

· Australian National Herbarium (CANB)

·

National Herbarium of New South Wales (NSW) Botanic Gardens Trust



·

Herbarium of the Northern Territory (DNA, NT)

·

Queensland Herbarium (BRI)



·

State Herbarium of South Australia (AD)

·

Tasmanian Herbarium (HO)



·

National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL) Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

·

Western Australian Herbarium (PERTH).



The taxonomic concepts used in this report reflect an ANHAT view of the data and 

not necessarily that of the AVH parent herbaria.



Other Government Organisations

·

Commonwealth Department of Defence



·

Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts

·

New South Wales - Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water



·

New South Wales - Department of Industry and Investment (Forests NSW)

· Northern Territory - Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and 

Sport


· Queensland – Department of Environment and Resource Management (WildNet)

· South Australia - Department for Environment and Heritage (Biological Survey of 

South Australia Database)

· Tasmania - Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment 

(Natural Values Atlas)

· Victoria - Department of Sustainability and Environment

· Western Australia - Department of Environment and Conservation

Non-government

· Birds Australia

· Mr David Crosby - Lepidoptera of Victoria


510

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