Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast 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 Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions (as described in the determination of the Scientific Committee under Division 5 Part 2) and as a consequence to omit reference to the Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions (as described in the final determination to list the ecological community) which was published on pages 10597 to 10601 in the NSW Government Gazette No. 255 dated 13 December 2002. 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. Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions is the name given to the ecological community found on gentle slopes arising from depressions and drainage flats on permian sediments of the Hunter Valley floor in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions (sensu Thackway and Cresswell 1995) and characterised by the following assemblage of species:

 

Angophora costata

Austrodanthonia monticola

Billardiera scandens

Breynia oblongifolia

Brunoniella australis

Cheilanthes sieberi subsp. sieberi

Corymbia maculata

Cyanthillium cinereum

Cymbopogon refractus

Daviesia ulicifolia

Desmodium varians

Dichondra repens

Digitaria parviflora

Echinopogon caespitosus var. caespitosus

Entolasia stricta

Eragrostis brownii

Eragrostis leptostachya

Eucalyptus crebra

Eucalyptus moluccana

Eucalyptus punctata

Eucalyptus tereticornis

Glycine clandestina

Imperata cylindrica var. major

Jacksonia scoparia

Lagenifera stipitata

Leucopogon juniperinus

Lomandra longifolia

Lomandra multiflora subsp. multiflora

Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides

Panicum simile

Paspalidium distans

Persoonia linearis

Pomax umbellata

Pratia purpurascens

Solanum prinophyllum

Themeda australis

 

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 very small quantity. 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. Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions has been recorded from the local government areas of Maitland, Cessnock and Port Stephens (in the Sydney Basin Bioregion) and Muswellbrook and Singleton (in the NSW North Coast Bioregion) but may occur elsewhere in these bioregions. Bioregions are defined in Thackway and Cresswell (1995).

 

4. The Community is described and discussed in NSW NPWS (2000) as MU 19 – Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest.

 

5. The Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions is generally an open forest with most common canopy trees species being Eucalyptus tereticornis and Eucalyptus punctata although other frequently occurring canopy species are Angophora costata, Corymbia maculata, Eucalyptus crebra and Eucalyptus moluccana, with a number of other eucalypts being less frequently recorded. The mid stratum is characterised as open with sparse shrubs of Breynia oblongifolia, Leucopogon juniperinus, Daviesia ulicifolia and Jacksonia scoparia. There is consistently a ground layer of grasses and herbs, characterised by Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides, Cymbopogon refractus, Echinopogon caespitosus var. caespitosus, Cheilanthes sieberi subsp. sieberi and Pratia purpurascens.

 

6. Currently only a small area (less than 2% of total) of Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions is included in National Parks and Wildlife Service estate in the Lower Hunter (Wereketa) National Park. The majority of the remainder of the community is not on public land.

 

7. Modelling included in NSW NPWS (2000) shows that much of the pre-1750 extent of the community has been cleared. Only about 27% (less than 500 ha) of the original distribution survives and this is highly fragmented.

 

8. Although much of the clearing occurred early in European settlement, clearing still continues at a high rate. Between 1988 and 2001 approx 2380 ha were approved for clearing (advice from Department of Land and Water Conservation August 2001). In addition to clearing and fragmentation other threats include grazing, weed invasion, altered fire frequency and, locally, rubbish dumping.

 

9 In view of the above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions is likely to become extinct in nature in New South Wales unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate.

 

 

Dr Richard Major

Chairperson

Scientific Committee

 

Proposed Gazettal date: 02/12/11

Exhibition period: 02/12/11 – 03/02/11

 

Reference:

 

NSW NPWS (2000) Vegetation Survey and Mapping – Lower Hunter and Central Coast Region. Report prepared for the Lower Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environment Management Strategy, Version 1.1 April 2000. 178pp

 

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