Howell Shrublands in the New England Tableland and Nandewar Bioregions - Determination to make a minor amendment to Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act

NSW Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Determination to make a minor amendment to Part 3 of Schedule 1 (Endangered ecological communities) of the Act by inserting the Howell Shrublands in the New England Tableland and Nandewar Bioregions (as described in the determination of the Scientific Committee under Division 5 Part 2 published in the Gazette on 2 December 2011) and as a consequence to omit reference to the Howell Shrublands in the New England Tableland and Nandewar Bioregions (as described in the determination of the Scientific Committee under Division 5 Part 2) which was published on pages 2723 to 2726 in the NSW Government Gazette No. 43 dated 18 April 2008. Minor amendments to the Schedules are provided for by Division 5 of Part 2 of the Act.

 

The Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the amendment is necessary or desirable to correct minor errors or omissions in the Determination in relation to the Thackway and Cresswell (1995) reference.

 

The Scientific Committee has found that:

 

1. The Howell Shrublands in the New England Tableland and Nandewar Bioregions is the name given to the ecological community that is characterised by the following assemblage of species;

 

Acacia falciformis

Acacia granitica

Acacia neriifolia

Acacia triptera

Acacia viscidula

Actinotus gibbonsii

Actinotus helianthi

Aristida jerichoensis

Aristida vagans

Arthropodium milleflorum

Austrodanthonia bipartita

Austrodanthonia monticola

Babingtonia densiflora

Blechnum cartilagineum

Boronia granitica

Brachyscome stuartii

Bulbostylis pyriformis

Caesia calliantha

Calandrinia eremaea

Callitris endlicheri

Calytrix tetragona

Cassinia laevis

Cassinia quinquefaria

Centrolepis strigosa

Cheilanthes sieberi

Cheistochloa rigida

Chenopodium pumilio

Chrysocephalum semipapposum

Commelina cyanea

Cotula australis

Crassula sieberiana

Cryptandra amara

Cryptandra amara subsp. floribunda

Cyathea australis

Cymbopogon refractus

Cyperus fulvus

Cyperus gracilis

Dianella caerulea

Dichopogon fimbriatus

Digitaria breviglumis

Drosera peltata

Echinopogon caespitosus

Einadia hastata

Entolasia stricta

Eragrostis brownii

Eucalyptus caleyi

Eucalyptus dealbata

Eucalyptus mckieana

Eucalyptus prava

Euchiton sphaericus

Eulalia aurea

Ficus rubiginosa

Fimbristylis dichotoma

Gahnia aspera

Glycine clandestina

Gonocarpus micranthus

Gonocarpus tetragynus

Gonocarpus teucrioides

Goodenia belledifolia

Hibbertia kaputarensis

Homoranthus prolixus

Hovea lanceolata

Hydrocotyle peduncularis

Hypericum gramineum

Isotoma anethifolia

Isotoma axillaris

Laxmannia compacta

Laxmannia gracilis

Leionema rotundifolium

Lepidosperma laterale

Leptospermum brevipes

Leptospermum novae-angliae

Leucopogon melaleucoides

Leucopogon muticus

Leucopogon neo-anglicus

Lobelia gracilis

Lomandra multiflora

Microlaena stipoides

Micromyrtus sessilis

Monotaxis macrophylla

Murdannia graminea

Notelaea microcarpa

Olearia elliptica

Opercularia hispida

Oxalis chnoodes

Ozothamnus obcordatus

Paspalidium constrictum

Patersonia sericea

Persoonia cornifolia

Phebalium rotundifolium

Philotheca myoporoides subsp. conduplicata

Plectranthus parviflorus

Pleurosorus subglandulosus

Poa sieberiana

Pomax umbellata

Portulaca bicolor

Portulaca filifolia

Portulaca oleracea

Prostanthera nivea

Pterostylis setifera

Ranunculus sessiliflorus

Rumex brownii

Sigesbeckia orientalis

Solanum cinereum

Solanum opacum

Solenogyne bellioides

Stackhousia viminea

Stypandra glauca

Trachymene incisa

Tripogon loliiformis

Urtica incisa

Vittadinia sulcata

Wahlenbergia communis

Zieria odorifera ms

 

2. The total species list of the community is considerably larger than that given above, with many species present in only one or two sites or in low abundance. The species composition of a site will be influenced by the size of the site, recent rainfall or drought condition and by its disturbance (including fire) history. The number of species, and the above ground relative abundance of species will change with time since fire, and may also change in response to changes in fire regime (including changes in fire frequency). At any one time, above ground individuals of some species may be absent, but the species may be represented below ground in the soil seed banks or as dormant structures such as bulbs, corms, rhizomes, rootstocks or lignotubers. The list of species given above is of vascular plant species; the community also includes micro-organisms, fungi, cryptogamic plants and a diverse fauna, both vertebrate and invertebrate. These components of the community are poorly documented.

 

3. Howell Shrublands has been recorded primarily around Copeton Dam and Goonoowigal near Inverell with a small occurrence (about 10 ha) at Warrabah. These occurrences are within the New England Tableland and Nandewar Bioregions. Bioregions are defined in Thackway and Cresswell (1995).

 

4. Howell Shrublands are dominated by low shrubs particularly Homoranthus prolixus and Babingtonia densifolia. Occasionally all shrubs may be absent giving a grassland structure or Callitris endlicheri and various eucalypts such as Eucalyptus dealbata and Eucalyptus prava may be present giving the appearance of a low open woodland. Howell Shrublands have been described in Hunter, J. & Clarke, P. (1998) Cunninghamia 5(3) :547-618.

 

5. Howell Shrublands occur on granitic outcrops and has been recorded on Gilgai Granite (undifferentiated), leucoadamellite and Tingha Granite. The area covered by granite outcrops is likely to be about 500-800 ha of which Howell Shrublands community is likely to actually cover about 100-200 ha.

 

6. Rare and threatened species in Howell Shrublands include Homoranthus prolixus, Boronia granitica, Eucalyptus mckieana, Monotaxis macrophylla, Leionema rotundifolium and Acacia granitica.

 

7. The main occurrence of the Howell Shrublands areas are not known to be conserved in any National Parks though it may possibly occur in Copeton State Recreation Area. Part of the small southern occurrence (about 2ha) is conserved in Warrabah National Park.

 

8. The most significant threat to the Howell Shrublands is grazing by goats. There are large herds throughout the area occupied by the Howell Shrublands community. Rabbits also cause substantial modification to the community. Other impacts are from sheep grazing and clearing, weed invasion, roadworks and powerline constructions. Increased mining activity and inappropriate fire regimes are potential threats.

 

9. In view the above, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that Howell Shrublands in the New England Tableland and Nandewar Bioregions is likely to become extinct in nature unless factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate and that listing as an endangered ecological community is warranted.

 

 

Dr Richard Major

Chairperson

Scientific Committee

 

Proposed Gazettal date: 02/12/11

Exhibition period: 2/12/11 – 03/02/12

 

Reference:

 

Thackway R, Cresswell ID (1995) An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia: a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program. (Version 4.0. Australian Nature Conservation Agency: Canberra.)

 

Page last updated: 02 December 2011