Tag Archives: threatened species

Update 3: Australian sandalwood conservation

Michael Cornish
to: [email protected]
date: 22 Nov 2021
subject: Recommendation that Sandalwood be added to the priority flora list

Dear WA TSSC,

Just in case the process has not been initiated, may I please recommend that Sandalwood be added to the priority flora list?

The basis for this recommendation comes from the attached correspondence between myself and the Chair of the WA TSSC.

Kind regards,

-Michael Cornish

Update 2: Australian sandalwood conservation

Michael Cornish
by email

 

Dear Michael

Thank you for your letter of 15 October, address to me as Chair of the Western Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The Department forwarded your letter to me.

I did read the paper by Richard McLellan et al. when it was published. I can understand your concern.

The Western Australian TSSC reviews nominations that have been submitted to them for the listing of flora as threatened flora under the WA Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, in accordance with the provisions of the Act and Ministerial Guidelines. Members of the community may submit nominations at any time, following the Ministerial Guidelines, and using the nomination form available on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions (DBCA) web page, dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/118-nominations.

As well as the list of threatened species, the WA priority flora list is a non-statutory list maintained by DBCA. Recommendations for addition to the priority flora list may be submitted to DBCA at any time, to [email protected]. Additions to the priority flora list do not require a nomination form. Priority list recommendations are not required to be submitted to or to be reviewed by the TSSC, although TSSC may make recommendations to DBCA on priority listings and DBCA may request TSSC advice on priority listings. Having a plant on the priority flora list does ensure that it is considered when environmental impact and other decisions are made, although that level of protection is not as high as threatened listing.

I am advised that a nomination for the listing of Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) as a threatened flora species has not been received, nor has a recommendation been received for addition to the priority flora list.

As the species occurs in WA and South Australia, the assessment of a nomination must also follow the requirements for cross-jurisdictional assessments under the Intergovernmental memorandum of understanding – Agreement on a common assessment method for listing of threatened species and threatened ecological communities, awe.gov.au/environment/biodiversity/threatened/cam. While WA TSSC may review a nomination for a species that occurs both in WA and in anther jurisdiction, and can recommend listing to the state Minister, it is sometimes simpler to nominate such a species to the Commonwealth TSSC; however, you should note that they have priorities set by their Minister, and a nomination may not be considered for some time if it does not fit the current priorities.

If a nomination of species that occurs both in WA and outside WA is received by DBCA, it will be considered by the WA TSSC and after the state Minister makes a decision whether or not to list, it is then referred to the Commonwealth. Except for emergency nominations, WATSSC typically meets once a year and its recommendations go to the state Minister within a reasonably short time.

I suggest that your best course of action would be to, in the immediate future, recommend sandalwood to the WA Flora Priority List and then fill in a threatened species nomination form so that the TSSC may consider recommending listing.

Yours sincerely

Dr Andrew A Burbidge AO
Chair WA TSSC

9 November 2021

Update 1: Australian sandalwood conservation

Essentially the same letter as the one to the Federal Threatened Species Scientific Committee, but this time to the WA Threatened Species Scientific Committee:


Dr Andrew Burbidge
Chair
Threatened Species Scientific Committee
Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
c/o BENTLEY DELIVERY CENTRE, WA 6983

 

Dear Dr Burbridge,

Re: Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)

I write to you as a former Senior Policy Adviser for the Federal Member for Mayo, Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP, and with a keen interest in environmental issues. Thank you in advance for your consideration of my correspondence.

Specifically, I am writing out of interest and concern regarding the status of Australian sandalwood, noting that it does not appear on the current Federal EPBC Act List of Threatened Flora[1], nor on the Western Australian Threatened and Priority Flora List[2].

According to research published last week by academics from Charles Sturt University and Curtin University, “[a]cross its entire range in Australia’s western and southern rangelands, Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum [R.Br.] A.DC.) is on a path towards ‘extinction in the wild’––the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s penultimate category of conservation risk.[3]

According to a related article from The Conversation by the same authors, they estimate that “175 years of commercial harvesting may have decreased the population of wild sandalwood by as much as 90%”, and conclude that “It’s time to list sandalwood as a threatened species nationally, and start harvesting only from plantations to give these wild, centuries-old trees a fighting chance at survival.[4]

May I kindly inquire, will the Committee undertake a review of the Western Australian sandalwood listing to ascertain whether it should be placed on the Western Australian Threatened and Priority Flora List (or other relevant list), and if so, when, and if not, why not?

Further, what conservation efforts are the Western Australian Government taking to protect and conserve remaining sandalwood trees in the wild?

Thank you again for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cornish

15 / 10 / 2021

[1] See: https://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicthreatenedlist.pl?wanted=flora

[2] See: https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants

[3] McLellan R. C., Dixon K., Watson D. M. (2021) Prolific or precarious: a review of the status of Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum [R.Br.] A.DC., Santalaceae). The Rangeland Journal; see: https://www.publish.csiro.au/rj/RJ21017

[4] See: Kingsley Dixon, Richard McLellan, and David M Watson, ‘Loved to death: Australian sandalwood is facing extinction in the wild’, The Conversation, 7 October 2021; https://theconversation.com/loved-to-death-australian-sandalwood-is-facing-extinction-in-the-wild-167281

Australian sandalwood conservation

Emeritus Professor Helene Marsh FAA FTSE
Chair
Threatened Species Scientific Committee
c/o Species Information and Policy Section
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2601

 

Dear Professor Marsh,

Re: Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)

I write to you as a former Senior Policy Adviser for the Federal Member for Mayo, Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP, and with a keen interest in environmental issues. Thank you in advance for your consideration of my correspondence.

Specifically, I am writing out of interest and concern regarding the status of Australian sandalwood, noting that it does not appear on the current EPBC Act List of Threatened Flora[1].

According to research published earlier this week by academics from Charles Sturt University and Curtin University, “[a]cross its entire range in Australia’s western and southern rangelands, Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum [R.Br.] A.DC.) is on a path towards ‘extinction in the wild’––the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s penultimate category of conservation risk.[2]

According to a related article from The Conversation by the same authors, they estimate that “175 years of commercial harvesting may have decreased the population of wild sandalwood by as much as 90%”, and conclude that “It’s time to list sandalwood as a threatened species nationally, and start harvesting only from plantations to give these wild, centuries-old trees a fighting chance at survival.[3]

May I kindly inquire, will the Committee undertake a review of the Australian sandalwood listing to ascertain whether it should be placed on the EPBC Act List of Threatened Flora, and if so, when, and if not, why not?

Further, what conservation efforts are the Federal Government taking to protect and conserve remaining sandalwood trees in the wild?

Thank you again for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cornish

10 / 10 / 2021

Cc: Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box

[1] See: https://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicthreatenedlist.pl?wanted=flora

[2] McLellan R. C., Dixon K., Watson D. M. (2021) Prolific or precarious: a review of the status of Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum [R.Br.] A.DC., Santalaceae). The Rangeland Journal; see: https://www.publish.csiro.au/rj/RJ21017

[3] See: Kingsley Dixon, Richard McLellan, and David M Watson, ‘Loved to death: Australian sandalwood is facing extinction in the wild’, The Conversation, 7 October 2021; https://theconversation.com/loved-to-death-australian-sandalwood-is-facing-extinction-in-the-wild-167281