Melaleuca deanei F. Muell. ( National Recovery Plan Deane’s Paperbark)


Appendix 4: Species profile and environmental impact assessment guidelines



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Appendix 4: Species profile and environmental impact assessment guidelines

THREATENED

SPECIES INFORMATION


Melaleuca deanei
F. Muell.

Common Name: Deane’s Paperbark

Conservation Status


Melaleuca deanei is listed as a vulnerable species on Schedule 1 of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and as a vulnerable species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.


Figure 1. Melaleuca deanei ©M. Bremner

Description


Melaleuca deanei F. Muell. is a paperbark with a shrub habit, up to 5 m high, with flaky bark. Leaves are alternate, narrow-elliptic to lance-shaped in outline and 12-25 mm long and 3-6 mm wide. The leaves are moderately dark green in colour and twisted so the edges turn towards the stem, while the leaf tip ends in a sharp point. The mature plant is hairless, however new shoots are covered in white hairs. Flowers are creamy-yellow and arranged in a typical bottle-brush spike, up to 6 cm long (Figure 1). Within each flower, groups of stamens (17-28) are fused together at the base. Fruit is barrel-shaped, 3-5 mm in diameter, and the opening to the fruit is 3 mm in diameter.

Distribution


M
Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW)
elaleuca deanei
is endemic to the Sydney Basin Bioregion (Figure 2). The main distribution of the species extends from St. Albans (Hawkesbury LGA) in the north, to Nepean Dam (Wingecarribee LGA) in the south, and west to Faulconbridge (Blue Mountains LGA).
The main distribution of the species can be divided into a northern and a southern range. The northern range extends north from Ryde LGA, including the Blue Mountains (48 populations), whereas the southern range extends south from Sutherland LGA (46 populations). The two ranges are separated by a distance of approximately 28 km. This is partly a consequence of unsuitable habitat for the species occurring on the Cumberland Plain in Western Sydney, but is also the result of the loss of habitat in northern, southern, and inner western Sydney to urban development.

Another two disjunct sites have been recorded in Morton NP and Colymea SCA, west of Nowra (Shoalhaven LGA). This is over 60 km south of the main distribution of the species.



Recorded occurrences in conservation reserves


More than 50% of all populations occur in DECCW estate and are zoned as National Park or Nature Reserve. Holsworthy Military Reserve contains 17 % of the known M. deanei population, and this thus represents an important population outside a formal conservation reserve. Two large populations occur on land managed by the Sydney Catchment Authority, within the Nepean and Avon Dam catchments.

Habitat


Melaleuca deanei mostly occupies broad flat ridgetops, dry ridges and slopes (Benson & McDougall 1998). In southern Sydney, the species is most often found on flat broad ridge tops more than 100 metres wide (Travers Morgan 1990). The altitudinal range of M. deanei is between 20 and 410 metres above sea level, and annual rainfall in the species’ distribution ranges from 1,000 to 1,400 mm (Benson & McDougall 1998).

In its northern range, the species mainly occurs


on Hawkesbury Sandstone (quartz sandstone with shale and laminite lenses), whereas in the southern range, it is found on the Lucas Height soil landscape unit (shale and fine-grained sandstone) (Chapman & Murphy 1989).

Ecology


Melaleuca deanei is a clonal species and has the ability to re-sprout from a swollen rootstock (lignotuber) to produce coppiced growth. It can also sucker from its rootstock (Felton 1993). Observations so far indicate that recruitment of M. deanei is more likely to result from vegetative reproduction rather than from seedlings.
The exact age at which M. deanei starts to produce flowers and seed is unknown, but this may take as long as 20 years. M. deanei produces flowers and seed infrequently and at irregular periods, with intervals of several years between flowering. It is not known which factors trigger flowering, but some observations indicate that population size affects flowering. Larger populations flower more often than smaller ones, possibly because there is a need for crossbreeding between different individuals.
It is not known how M. deanei is pollinated, though insects are the most likely group of pollinators (Turnbull & Doran 1997 cited in Virtue 1991). Native bees (family Colletideae) are generally the most common pollinators of Australian Myrtaceae (Beardsell et al 1993). Seed is wind dispersed and light winds seem sufficient to empty the seed capsules (Virtue 1991).
Fire plays a role in providing the right conditions for germination and seedling growth, and seedlings usually only establish after fire (Felton 1993). The species grows most commonly in sites exposed to direct sunlight, or in places where light penetration has been increased by disturbance, such as at the edge of fire trails (Travers Morgan 1990). The species’ preference for light may explain its habitat preference for open ridgetop vegetation (Felton 1993). It is therefore likely that fire, and possibly other physical disturbances that increase light levels without impacting upon the soil, play a role in providing for the recruitment and long term persistence of the species.
Fire can also lead to local extinctions of M. deanei if it occurs too frequently over long periods. Such frequent fires are a threat because juveniles have a slow growth rate and therefore take a longer period of time to become fire resistant (Felton 1993). The critical fire frequencies for survival have not yet been determined, although the Draft Threatened species Hazard Reduction List for the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code states that fire should not occur more than once every ten years.

Threats


The main threats to the survival of M. deanei are its low fecundity combined with habitat loss and fragmentation (especially along ridgetop locations and within the urban Sydney region), and inappropriate fire regimes, particularly frequent fire. The species is also threatened by mechanical methods of bushfire fuel hazard reduction, the construction and maintenance of tracks and easements, unrestricted access and rubbish dumping, as well as weed invasion. Hybridisation with other species of Melaleuca and Callistemon may also pose a risk to the species.

Management


The recovery plan for M. deanei (DECCW 2010) identifies a range of actions required to effectively conserve the species. Management should be aimed at minimising habitat loss and fragmentation; reducing fire frequency in areas prone to frequent fire; and preventing the loss of populations along easements, walking tracks and fire trails. Other management initiatives should include: survey and monitoring; community education and awareness; and conducting research that will assist future management decisions.

Recovery Plans


A recovery plan has been prepared for Melaleuca deanei (DECCW 2010).

For Further Information contact


Biodiversity Conservation Section, Metropolitan Branch, NSW DECCW, PO Box 1967, Hurstville NSW 2220. Phone 02 9585 6678. www.environment.nsw.gov.au

References


Beardsell, D.V., O’Brien, S.P., Williams, E.G., Knox R.B. & Calder, D.M. 1993, ‘Reproductive Biology of Australian Myrtaceae’, Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 41, pp. 511-526.

Benson, D. & McDougall, L. 1998, ‘Ecology of Sydney plant species, Part 6: Dicotyledon family Myrtaceae’, Cunninghamia, vol. 5, pp. 808-907.

Chapman, G.A. & Murphy, C.L. 1989, Soil landscapes of the Sydney 1:100 000 sheet, Soil Conservation Service of NSW, Sydney.

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW). 2010, National Recovery Plan for Melaleuca deanei. Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Hurstville NSW.

Felton, S.A. 1993, The distribution, abundance and seed ecology of the rare plant Melaleuca deanei. Unpublished Honours thesis, University of Wollongong.

Travers Morgan Pty Ltd, 1990, The regional distribution of Melaleuca deanei and five plants occurring in West Menai and the Southern Sydney region. Report prepared for Department of Housing NSW.

Virtue, J.G. 1991, Melaleuca deanei: ecological studies on a rare plant. Unpublished B.Sc. thesis. University of Sydney.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water expressly disclaims all liability and responsibility to any person, whether a purchaser or reader of this document or not, in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by any person in reliance upon the contents of this document although every effort has been made to ensure that the information presented in this document is accurate and up to date.




Figure 2. The known distribution of Melaleuca deanei within the Sydney region.

E

NVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES


Melaleuca deanei F. Muell.

Deane’s Paperbark

The following information is provided to assist authors of Species Impact Statements, development and activity proponents, and determining and consent authorities, who are required to prepare or review assessments of likely impacts on threatened species pursuant to the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act) 1979. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the accompanying ‘Threatened Species Information’ profile and guidelines for the ‘7 Part Test of Significance’, which must be carried out in accordance with Section 5A of the EP&A Act 1979.



Survey



Melaleuca deanei produces flowers or seed at infrequent intervals of up to several years only. Identification of the plant should thus primarily be based on its habit (shrub up to 5 m high, fibrous flaky bark), the alternate position of leaves, and the shape of the leaves (narrow-elliptic to lance shaped, 12-25 mm long, 3-6 mm wide, twisted so the edges turn towards the stem, while the leaf tip ends in a sharp point). New shoots are covered in white hair, while mature plants are hairless.
Melaleuca deanei often re-sprouts from a swollen rootstock or produces suckers from its rootstock. Counting the number of individuals can thus be difficult. Alternative survey methods include counting the number of stems or clumps of stems, or estimating the extent of the population.

Life cycle of the species

The life cycle of the species is not well understood. One factor that is likely to impact on the life cycle is fire. If a proposal is likely to result in frequent fires, then this may lead to declines in the population, since juvenile plants will not be able to become fire resistant between fire events.


Proposals which are likely to impact on the life cycle of the species, such that a local population is put at risk of extinction, would include proposals that:

  • result in total destruction of habitat;

  • result in a partial destruction or modification of habitat (including changes to hydrology and nutrification of the soil substrate) which may result in changes to vegetation community structure;

  • result in increased fragmentation of M. deanei habitat;

  • result in a requirement for frequent (<10 year) hazard reduction activities (fire or slashing), preventing establishment of juvenile plants;

  • result in mechanical damage during maintenance or widening of fire trails or powerline easements;

  • increase vehicular, bike, pedestrian, or other access to habitat; or

  • increase rubbish dumping and associated weed invasion or likelihood of arson (for example, through adjacent residential development).



Threatening processes

Four key threatening processes listed under the TSC Act 1995 (as of March 2007) are likely to, or potentially, threaten M. deanei.



  • Clearing of native vegetation’, has reduced and fragmented the habitat of M. deanei.

  • Ecological consequences of high frequency fires’ is highly likely to threaten the persistence of M. deanei populations.


  • Department of
    Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW)

    Invasion of native plant communities by exotic perennial grasses’ as well as ‘Invasion, establishment and spread of Lantana camara’ is also likely to threaten
    M. deanei given that at some sites, Lantana camara, Eragrostis cruvula and Ehrharta erecta have been recorded as a threat to M. deanei.

Threatening processes that have been identified as being relevant to this species should also be considered (see recovery plan; DECCW 2010). These include habitat loss, habitat degradation through weed invasion, unrestricted access and rubbish dumping, mechanical methods of bushfire fuel hazard reduction, and possibly hybridisation with other Melaleuca or Callistemon species.


Viable local population

Little information is available as to the viability of known populations of M. deanei. In the absence of such information, DECCW considers that all populations should be considered viable.

It appears the species does not produce much seed in small populations, which may indicate that there is a need for cross-breeding between individuals. On the other hand, small population sizes may not be a relevant factor in viability assessments, as most recruitment is from vegetative reproduction. Therefore, populations should be considered viable unless there is evidence to the contrary.

A significant area of habitat

Given that M. deanei is a clonal species, numerous plants over a larger area may all be of one individual. Therefore, the significance of sites cannot be based on numbers of plants or stems without genetic testing. Other factors that can be used to determine the significance of a site include whether the population is setting seed, the size and connectivity of the habitat, the security of the site, the quality of the habitat (i.e. level of weed infestation) in comparison to other sites in the locality, the number of other sites in the locality, and whether the site is at the edge of the range of the species.







Habitat fragmentation

Habitat fragmentation may be a significant issue for the species, as the current distribution is highly fragmented. Management of M. deanei habitat and any proposals should aim to maintain the continuity of habitat between individuals within sub-populations, and avoid artificially creating new sub-populations.



Regional distribution of the habitat



Melaleuca deanei occurs within the Sydney Basin Bioregion. The species has a disjunct distribution, with 48 known populations occurring in the northern range and 46 populations in the southern range. The two ranges are separated by a distance of approximately 28 km.

Limit of known distribution

The current known distribution of M. deanei extends from St. Albans (Hawkesbury LGA) in the north to Nowra (Shoalhaven LGA) in the south, and Faulconbridge (Blue Mountains LGA) in the west. Further surveys may identify additional sites outside these areas.



Adequacy of representation in conservation reserves or other similar protected areas

Approximately 50 % of all M. deanei populations occur in national parks or nature reserves. A significant part of the known population (17 %) occurs within Holsworthy Military Reserve. Presently, most of this land is zoned as land for Environmental Protection, but it is not yet known whether this will be rezoned for development in the future.


Critical habitat
Critical habitat has not been declared for Melaleuca deanei. .


For Further Information contact Biodiversity Conservation Section, Metropolitan Branch, NSW DECCW, PO Box 1967, Hurstville NSW 2220. Phone 02 9585 6678. www.environment.nsw.gov.au

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water expressly disclaims all liability and responsibility to any person, whether a purchaser or reader of this document or not, in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by any person in reliance upon the contents of this document although every effort has been made to ensure that the information presented in this document is accurate and up to date.




Appendix 5: Site Management Statement Proforma

Site Management Statement for Melaleuca deanei

Prepared by: ………………………………………………………………………………………..

Date: ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Site details:

Site Name: …………………………………………………………………………………………

Site Code: …………………………………………………………………………………………..

Location: …………………………………………………………………………………….……..

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Easting: ……………..….…..Northing: …………...………..AMG Zone: ………….…..………...

1:25 000 Mapsheet: ………………………………………………………………………………...



Landowner/Landmanager contact details

Name: ……………………………………………………………………………………………....

Phone number: ………………………………………………………………………………….….

Postal address: ……………………………………………………………………………………..

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Parcel details:

LGA: ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

Portion/Lot: ………………………………………………………………………………………...

Street address: ……………………………………………………………………………………...

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Zoning: ……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Tenure: …………………………………………………………………………………………….

Current landuse:…………………………………………………………………………………….



Population details:

No. of ramets: Count: [ ] Estimate: [ ]


Lowest estimate =…….…....….Best estimate =……….….….Upper estimate =…….……….….

No. seedlings: Count: [ ] Estimate: [ ]


Lowest estimate =…….…....….Best estimate =……….….….Upper estimate …………………..

Area of Occupancy: ………….……………………………….Accurate: [ ] Estimate: [ ]

Detailed site map attached: Yes/No Photographs taken: Yes/No

Reproduction: Buds: [ ] Flowers: [ ] Fruit: [ ]

Plant height(s):

Extent of Survey: complete/incomplete/unknown



Habitat (consider aspect, slope, altitude, geology): ……………………………………………………………………………………………

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Dominant Associated species (consider canopy, understorey, groundcover, vines/climbers):
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Soil texture: sand/loam/clay Soil depth: skeletal/shallow/deep

Drainage: waterlogged/damp/well drained dry/well drained moist

Fire history for the site: …………………………………………………………………………..

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Existing and potential threats (consider trampling/grazing, isolation/fragmentation, erosion, inappropriate fire regimes, inappropriate access, rubbish dumping, weed invasion): ………………………………………………………………………………………….…………..

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Predominant weed species and abundance:...………….…………..…………………………...

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Previous management actions (describe apparent success): ………………………………….

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Recommended threat abatement actions: ……………………………………………………….

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Recommended monitoring and evaluation program: ………………………………………….

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Timetable for implementation of actions and monitoring: ……………………………………

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