Cumberland Plain woodland - endangered ecological community listing

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The woodland has been now been listed as critically endangered, see Cumberland Plain Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion critically endangered ecological community listing

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act has made a Final Determination to list the Cumberland Plain Woodland as an ENDANGERED ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITY on Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Act. Listing of Endangered Ecological Communities is provided for by Section 12 of the Act.

Any submissions received following advertisement of the Preliminary Determination have been considered by the Scientific Committee.

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. The Cumberland Plain Woodland is the accepted name for the plant community that occurs on soils derived from shale on the Cumberland Plain.

2. The Cumberland Plain Woodland is characterised by the following assemblage of plant species:

  • Acacia decurrens
  • Acacia falcata
  • Acacia implexa
  • Acacia parramattensis
  • Aristida ramosa
  • Aristida vagans
  • Arthropodium milleflorum
  • Asperula conferta
  • Brunoniella australis
  • Bursaria spinosa
  • Cheilanthes sieberi
  • Chloris truncata
  • Chloris ventricosa
  • Commelina cyanea
  • Cyperus gracilis
  • Daviesia ulicifolia
  • Dianella longifolia
  • Dianella revoluta
  • Dichelachne micrantha
  • Dichondra repens
  • Dillwynia sieberi
  • Echinopogon caespitosus
  • Echinopogon ovatus
  • Entolasia marginata
  • Eragrostis leptostachya
  • Eremophila debilis
  • Eucalyptus crebra
  • Eucalyptus eugenioides
  • Eucalyptus fibrosa
  • Eucalyptus maculata
  • Eucalyptus moluccana
  • Eucalyptus tereticornis
  • Exocarpos cupressiformis
  • Glycine clandestina
  • Glycine tabacina
  • Goodenia hederacea
  • Hardenbergia violacea
  • Hibbertia diffusa
  • Hypericum gramineum
  • Hypoxis hygrometrica
  • Indigofera australis
  • Lepidosperma laterale
  • Lissanthe strigosa
  • Lomandra filiformis
  • Lomandra multiflora
  • Melaleuca decora
  • Microlaena stipoides
  • Oplismenus aemulus
  • Oxalis exilis
  • Panicum simile
  • Phyllanthus filicaulis
  • Pratia purpurascens
  • Solanum pungetium
  • Themeda australis
  • Tricoryne elatior
  • Vernonia cinerea
  • Wahlenbergia gracilis

The total list of plant species which occur in the community is much larger, with many species occurring in one or a few sites, or in very low abundance. Not all species listed above occur in every single stand of the Community.

3. The Cumberland Plain Woodland sites are characteristically of woodland structure, but may include both more open and more dense areas, and the canopy is dominated by species including one or more of the following: Eucalyptus moluccana, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Eucalyptus crebra, Eucalyptus eugenioides and Eucalyptus maculata.

4. The understorey is generally grassy to herbaceous with patches of shrubs, or if disturbed, contains components of indigenous native species sufficient to re-establish the characteristic native understorey.

5. The Cumberland Plain Woodland includes regrowth which is likely to achieve a near natural structure or a is seral stage towards that structure.

6. The Community has been reported as occurring in the local government areas of Auburn, Bankstown, Baulkham Hills, Blacktown, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith and Wollondilly.

The Scientific Committee noted that a more detailed description of the community is provided in:

  • Benson (1992) The natural vegetation of the Penrith 1:100,000 map sheet. See particularly p. 556-7, p. 558, p. 566-575.

In additon, general information on the Cumberland Plain Woodland is also provided in:

  • Benson, D. & Howell, J. 1990. 'Taken for Granted - The Bushland of Sydney and its Suburbs'. Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst
  • Benson, D., Howell, J., and McDougall, L., 1996, Mountain Devil to Mangrove: a guide to the natural vegetation in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

The Scientific Committee has found that:

7. The Community, as defined by the proposal, satisfies the definition of an Ecological Community under the Act, i.e. an assemblage of species occupying a particular area.

8. Only 6% of the original extent of the community remained in 1988 ( Benson, D. & Howell, J. 1990 Proc. Ecol. Soc. Aust. 16, 115-127 ) in the form of small and fragmented stands. Although some areas occur within conservation reserves, this in itself is not sufficient to ensure the long term conservation of the Community unless the factors threatening the integrity and survival of the Community are ameliorated.

9. Threats to the survival of the community include clearance for agriculture, grazing, hobby and poultry farms, housing and other developments, invasion by exotic plants, and increased nutrient loads due to fertiliser run off from gardens and farmland, dumped refuse or sewer discharge.

10. In view of the substantial reduction in the area occupied by the Community, its fragmentation and the numerous threats to the integrity of the Community, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the Cumberland Plain Woodland is likely to become extinct in nature in New South Wales unless the factors threatening its survival cease to operate.

Dr Chris Dickman


Scientific Committee

Gazetted: 13/6/97

About the NSW Scientific Committee

Page last updated: 18 May 2016