Exotic vines and scramblers - key threatening process listing

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list Invasion and establishment of exotic vines and scramblers as a KEY THREATENING PROCESS in Schedule 3 of the Act. Listing of key threatening processes is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

The Scientific Committee has found:

1. A large number of exotic vines and scramblers have become established in New South Wales. This includes:

Abrus precatoriusCrabs-eye Creeper
Acetosa sagittataPotato Vine
Anredera cordifoliaMadeira Vine
Araujia sericifera
Aristolochia elegansDutchman's Pipe
Aristrolochia littoralisDutchman's Pipe
Asparagus aethiopicus Ground Asparagus
Asparagus africanusAsparagus Fern
Asparagus asparagoidesBridal Creeper
Asparagus plumosusClimbing Asparagus
Asparagus scandensClimbing Asparagus
Asystasia gangetica var. micrantha
Caesalpinia decapetalaMysore Thorn
Cardiospermum grandiflorumBalloon Vine
Clematis vitalbaOld Man's Beard
Delairea odorataCape Ivy
Dioscorea bulbiferaAerial Yam
Dipogon lignosus
Hedera helixEnglish Ivy
Ipomoea albaMoon Flower
Ipomoea cairicaCoastal Morning Glory
Ipomoea indicaMorning Glory
Ipomoea purpureaMorning Glory
Lathyrus tingitanus
Lonicera japonicaJapanese Honeysuckle
Macfadyena unguis-catiCat's Claw
Passiflora suberosaCorky Passion Flower
Passiflora subpeltataPassion Flower
Passiflora toriminiana
Puearia lobata Kudzu
Senecio angulatus
Senecio macroglossus
Solanum jasminoidesPotato Vine
Solanum seaforthianumClimbing Nightshade
Sollya heterophylla
Thunbergia alataBlack-eyed Susan
Thunbergia grandifloraBlue Trumpet Vine
Tradescantia fluminensis
Vinca majorPeriwinkle

The majority of these species were originally introduced for horticultural purposes and have escaped from cultivation. Other horticultural vines may currently be environmental weeds at particular locations and other species currently in cultivation may become weeds in the future.

2. A number of exotic vines and scramblers are currently recognised as significant environmental weeds in particular regions (e.g. The NSW North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee, undated). Exotic vines and scramblers are widespread, and locally abundant, in the eastern part of NSW.

3. Exotic vines and scramblers may act as transformer species (Richardson et al. 2000), altering the nature of the environment where they become dominant. Rainforests are susceptible to invasion by exotic vines particularly after canopy disturbance (Floyd 1989). Exotic vines and scramblers may smother existing vegetation, both in the ground layer and canopy (e.g. Groves and Willis 1999, Greenberg et al. 2001, Kriticos et al. 2003, Timmins and Reid 2000). This alters the light climate in the invaded community and may suppress regeneration of native species. The sheer weight of exotic vines may cause breakage of branches in the canopy, and in some cases total canopy collapse (Harden and Fox 1988, Harden et al. 2004). Some species form dense ground cover carpets that suppress native species (for example Tradescantia fluminensis and Vinca major). In sclerophyll communities, exotic vines and scramblers are more mesic than the native species, and may change the nature of the fuel and thus alter fire behaviour and regime. Invasion by exotic vines and scramblers can also alter other biotic aspects of communities such as the abundance and diversity of plant-dwelling invertebrates (Ernst and Cappuccino 2005). Dense smothering blankets or thickets of exotic vines and scramblers may also restrict movement of some native fauna and adversely affect their ability to access water or other resources (while sometimes favouring other fauna by providing protective shelter and/or food). Exotic vines and scramblers such as Asparagus spp. form masses of tuberous roots that may alter the biota of the soil and litter, changing rates of litter decomposition and nutrient cycling and compete for water and mineral nutrients with other plant species (Raymond 1996, Groves and Willis 1999, Timmins and Reid 2000, Willis et al. 2003). They may also create a humid microclimate at ground or lower trunk level, favouring pathogenic attack and altering soil moisture and nutrient fluxes. Riparian vegetation is particularly prone to infestation by vines such Cat's claw, Macfadyena unguis-cati due to high water and nutrient availability.

4. Many exotic vines and scramblers reproduce prolifically and are well adapted to spread both from asexually produced vegetative propagules (for example Anredera cordifolia) and by seed. Species that produce fleshy fruit may have their seeds dispersed by birds, for example Asparagus spp. (Stansbury 2001) and Solanum spp.

5. The following threatened species and communities may be affected by Invasion and establishment of exotic vines and scramblers:

Endangered species

Acronychia littoralis
Daphnandra sp 'C' Illawarra
Davidsonia jerseyana
Davidsonia johnsonii
Diploglottis campbelli
Endiandra floydii
Epacris hamiltonii
Fontainea oraria
Gossia (Austromytrus) fragrantissima
Irenepharsus trypherus
Isoglossa eranthemoides
Pimelea spicata
Rapanea sp. A Richmond River

Turnix melanogasterBlack-breasted button quail

      Vulnerable species

      Acacia pubescens
      Desmodium acanthocladum
      Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia
      Tinospora tinosporides
      Kerivoula paupuensisGolden-tipped bat
      Potorous tridactylusLong-nosed potoroo
        Endangered ecological communities:

        Coastal Saltmarsh in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregions
        Cumberland Plain Woodland
        Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest
        Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions
        Illawarra Lowlands Grassy Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
        Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
        Littoral Rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner Bioregions
        Lowland Rainforest on Floodplain in the NSW North Coast Bioregion
        Milton Ulladulla Subtropical Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
        Moist Shale Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
        Mount Gibraltar Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
        Pittwater Spotted Gum Forest
        Robertson Basalt Tall Open-forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
        Shale-sandstone Transition Forest
        Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest of the NSW North Coast Bioregion
        Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest of the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner Bioregions
        Swamp Sclerophyll Forest on Coastal Floodplains of the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregions
        Western Sydney Dry Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion

        6. Bioclimatic modelling suggests that some tropical species of exotic vines and scramblers, such as Cryptostegia grandiflora, may become invasive in northern NSW as a result of climate change (Kriticos et al. 2003). Anthropogenic climate change is listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

        7. Invasion and establishment of exotic vines and scramblers is eligible to be listed as a key threatening process as, in the opinion of the Scientific Committee it adversely affects threatened species, populations or ecological communities, or could cause species, populations or ecological communities that are not threatened to become threatened.

        Associate Professor Lesley Hughes


        Scientific Committee

        Proposed Gazettal date: 21/04/06

        Exhibition period: 21/04/06 - 16/06/06


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    Page last updated: 28 February 2011