Gibson wattle (Acacia imitans) recovery plan

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(Acacia imitans)

Department of Environment and Conservation


Interim Recovery Plans (IRPs) are developed within the framework laid down in Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) Policy Statements Nos. 44 and 50. Note: the Department of CALM formally became the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) in July 2006. DEC will continue to adhere to these Policy Statements until they are revised and reissued.
IRPs outline the recovery actions that are required to urgently address those threatening processes most affecting the ongoing survival of threatened taxa or ecological communities, and begin the recovery process.
DEC is committed to ensuring that Critically Endangered taxa are conserved through the preparation and implementation of Recovery Plans or Interim Recovery Plans and by ensuring that conservation action commences as soon as possible and always within one year of endorsement of that rank by the Minister.
This Interim Recovery Plan will operate from June 2008 to May 2013 but will remain in force until withdrawn or replaced. It is intended that, if the taxon is still ranked Endangered, this IRP will be reviewed after five years and the need for further recovery actions assessed.
This IRP was given regional approval on 3 June 2009 and approved by the Director of Nature Conservation on 31 July 2009. The allocation of staff time and provision of funds identified in this Interim Recovery Plan is dependent on budgetary and other constraints affecting DEC, as well as the need to address other priorities.
This plan was written and endorsed as an IRP in Western Australia, and it is also the National Recovery Plan for this Ecological Community as listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Information in this IRP was accurate as at March 2010

This IRP was prepared by Rebecca Hayes1 and Catherine Page2
1Project Officer, DEC Species and Communities Branch, Locked Bag 104, Bentley DC 6983

2Operations Officer, DEC Geraldton District, PO Box 72, Geraldton WA 6531
The following people have provided assistance and advice in the preparation of this Interim Recovery Plan:
Alanna Chant Conservation Officer (Flora), DEC Geraldton District

Amanda Shade Assistant Curator (Nursery) Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority

Andrew Brown Threatened Flora Coordinator, DEC Species and Communities Branch

Andrew Crawford Principal Technical Officer (Threatened Flora Seed Centre), DEC Science Division

Anne Cochrane Senior Research Scientist (Threatened Flora Seed Centre), DEC Science Division

Bridgitte Long Technical Officer (DRF Database) DEC Species and Communities Branch

Craig Stevens Mt Gibson Sanctuary Manager, Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Pindiddy Aboriginal Corporation Ninghan Station IPA Managers

Victoria Cunningham Technical Officer (Threatened Flora Seed Centre), DEC Science Division
Thanks also to the staff of the W.A. Herbarium for providing access to Herbarium databases and specimen information, and DEC's Species and Communities Branch for assistance.
This Plan should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Conservation (2009) Acacia imitans Interim Recovery Plan 2009-2014. Interim Recovery Plan No. 287. Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia.


Scientific Name:

Acacia imitans

Common Name:

Gibson Wattle



Flowering Period:

August - September

DEC Region:


DEC District:




Recovery Team:

Geraldton District Threatened Flora Recovery Team

Illustrations and/or further information: Patrick S (2001) Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Geraldton District, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Maslin, B.R. (1999) Acacia miscellany 16. The Taxonomy of Fifty-Five Species of Acacia, Primarily Western Australian, in Section Phyllodineae (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae). Nuytsia 12(3), 356-358; Western Australian Herbarium (2007) Florabase – The Western Australian Flora, Department of Environment and Conservation.; Paul Armstrong and Associates (2004) Vegetation Assessment and Rare Flora Search Between Perenjori and Mt Gibson Conducted September and October 2003, for Mt Gibson Iron Limited; Vital Options Consulting, Ninghan Indigenous Protected Area Plan of Management 2004.
Current status: Acacia imitans was declared as Rare Flora under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in April 2002 and is currently ranked as Critically Endangered (CR) in Western Australia against World Conservation Union (IUCN 2001) Red List criteria B1ab (iii) +2ab (iii) due to its extent of occurrence being less than 100 km2, its very small and restricted population size and its highly disturbed habitat which is continuing to decline in quality. This species is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Acacia imitans has a restricted distribution between Wubin and Paynes Find, where it is known from seven populations on pastoral leases. The main threats are grazing by goats, track maintenance, inappropriate fire regimes and drought.
Description: Acacia imitans is a low, intricately branched, semi-prostrate shrub 0.3-1 m tall by 3 m across. Branches divide into numerous short, ridged smaller branchlets which end in a spine. Phyllodes are asymmetrical in shape, the upper margin straight or slightly concave, the lower margin convex, 3.5-7 mm long, 1.5-2.5 mm wide, thin, hairless and sharp-tipped. They are often bent backwards on the branches but are not grouped in clusters. Inflorescences are singular at each node, on a stalk 3-4 mm long. The flower head is golden, 6-8 mm long and 4-5 mm wide. Pods are tightly coiled to 7 mm long (when coiled) and 3 mm wide.
Habitat requirements: Plants grow on the summit and slopes of hills over rocky red loam and dolerite in open areas amongst tall shrubland with species of Allocasuarina, Acacia, Grevillea and Dodonaea inaequifolia.
Habitat critical to the survival of the species, and important populations: Habitat critical to the survival of the species includes the area of occupancy of important populations, areas of similar habitat surrounding important populations (i.e. hills and slopes of rocky red loam and dolerite), additional occurrences of similar habitat and the local catchment for the surface and/or groundwater that maintains the habitat of the species.
Benefits to other species or ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented for Acacia imitans will improve the health of associated native vegetation. Additionally, two Critically Endangered and four Priority Flora species occur in association with Acacia imitans.
Acacia imitans does not occur within a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC).

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