Vegetation Types Database

The Vegetation Types Database (updated May 2012) contains vegetation types that were developed for each of the 13 catchment management authority (CMA) areas. Most of the vegetation types comprise the original vegetation types (i.e. pre-clearing, or pre-1750) in each CMA area. However a small number of derived vegetation types are also listed, especially where the original vegetation type no longer exists or where the vegetation type occurs both naturally and as a derived community. Information to assist in the assessment of derived vegetation is provided in the operational manual.

Each vegetation type is defined for field identification purposes on the basis of the following attributes, where relevant:

  • dominant canopy species
  • main associated species
  • landscape position
  • characteristic mid-storey species
  • characteristic groundcover species
  • other diagnostic features.

Additionally, each vegetation type is assigned to a broader vegetation class and overarching vegetation formation (Keith, 2004). A per cent cleared estimate (rounded to the nearest 5 per cent) is provided for each vegetation type in the relevant CMA area. The database also includes information on whether the vegetation type is likely to be an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC), or part of an EEC, and the name of the EEC that it is associated with.

Vegetation Benchmarks Database

The Vegetation Benchmarks Database contains benchmarks for each vegetation class for every CMA except for Sydney Metro and Hawkesbury Nepean CMAs which have benchmarks for each vegetation type. A benchmark for a vegetation class may cover many vegetation types in a CMA area.

Benchmarks are quantitative measures that describe the range of variability in condition of vegetation with relatively little evidence of alteration, disturbance or modification by humans since European settlement. Vegetation with relatively little evidence of modification generally has minimal timber harvesting (few stumps, coppicing, cut logs), minimal firewood collection, minimal exotic weed cover, minimal grazing and trampling by introduced herbivores or over-abundant herbivores, minimal soil disturbance, minimal canopy dieback, no evidence of recent fire or flood, not subject to high-frequency burning, and positive evidence of recruitment of native species.

Benchmarks are based on ten site attributes and are used in the methodology to provide a comparable and quantitative measure of the current and predicted future condition of native vegetation. This measure is a score out of 100 and it is referred to as the Site Value score. The Site Value score is based on the measured condition of the stand or patch compared to its benchmark.

Threatened Species Profile Database

The Threatened Species Profile Database (TSPD) provides a detailed profile on each threatened species, population and ecological community in NSW. It also contains other information that is used in the BioBanking Assessment Methodology. This information is used to:

  • determine the likely presence of threatened species at a site
  • determine species survey requirements
  • identify areas with high biodiversity conservation values
  • calculate the ecosystem or species credits that are required for a development site, or created at a biobank site.

The TSPD can be searched by a catchment management authority region, an IBRA sub-region, or a vegetation type to review the threatened species, populations or communities associated with that area.

The TSPD is part of the Atlas of NSW Wildlife (NSW Bionet).  The Atlas system provides public access to the most up-to-date information used in Biobanking to assess threatened species. Users can generate and download reports that list all species and the characteristics used in a BioBanking assessment, such as those used to predict the likely presence of a species, its response to management actions and survey requirements.

You must be registered to access the Atlas system.  If you have registered, you can login here. Alternatively, new users may apply for a login to the Atlas system.

The Guide to the BioBanking Threatened Species Profile Database (08267tspd.pdf, 42KB) provides an explanation of the fields in the TSPD and how they are used in the Credit Calculator.

Keith, D. (2004) Ocean shores to desert dunes: the native vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT. NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, Hurstville.





Page last updated: 18 October 2013