Littoral Rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner 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 Littoral Rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner Bioregions (as described in the determination of the Scientific Committee under Division 5 Part 2) and as a consequence to omit reference to the Littoral Rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner Bioregions (as described in the final determination to list the ecological community) which was published on pages 3409 to 3416 in the NSW Government Gazette No. 94 dated 4 June 2004. 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. Littoral Rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner Bioregions is generally a closed forest, the structure and composition of which is strongly influenced by proximity to the ocean. The plant species in this ecological community are predominantly rainforest species with evergreen mesic or coriaceous leaves. Several species have compound leaves, and vines may be a major component of the canopy. These features differentiate littoral rainforest from sclerophyll forest or scrub, but while the canopy is dominated by rainforest species, scattered emergent individuals of sclerophyll species, such as Angophora costata, Banksia integrifolia, Eucalyptus botryoides and E. tereticornis occur in many stands. Littoral Rainforest in NSW is found at locations along the entire NSW Coast in the NSW North Coast Bioregion, Sydney Basin Bioregion and South East Corner Bioregion. Bioregions are defined in Thackway and Cresswell (1995). The areas mapped for inclusion in State Environmental Planning Policy 26 Littoral Rainforest are examples of the Littoral Rainforest ecological communities, but the mapping for SEPP 26 is not exhaustive and stands of the Littoral Rainforest ecological community occur at locations not mapped under SEPP 26. Some stands may be regrowth or in the process of regenerating. The Sutherland Shire Littoral Rainforest Endangered Ecological Community which was previously listed as an endangered ecological community is included within this Community.

 

2. Littoral rainforest occurs on both sand dunes and on soils derived from underlying rocks (McKinley et al. 1999). Stands on headlands exposed to strong wind action may take the form of dense windpruned thickets (for example the Bunga Head Rainforest illustrated by Keith & Bedward 1999, or MU5 Littoral Windshear Thicket in NPWS 2002). In more sheltered sites, and in hind dunes, the community is generally taller, although still with wind pruning on the windward side of stands. Floristically there is a high degree of similarity between stands on different substrates. Most stands of Littoral Rainforest occur within 2 km of the sea, but may occasionally be found further inland, but within reach of maritime influence.

 

3. Littoral Rainforest comprises the Cupaniopsis anacardioidesAcmena spp. alliance of Floyd (1990). This alliance as described by Floyd includes five sub-alliances – Syzygium leuhmannii – Acmena hemilampra, Cupaniopsis anacardioides, Lophostemon confertus, Drypetes – Sarcomelicope – Cassine – Podocarpus and Acmena smithii – Ficus - Livistona – Podocarpus. The distribution of some of these sub-alliances is geographically restricted – the Syzygium luehmannii – Acmena hemilampra sub-alliance is restricted to the north coast, while the most widespread sub-alliance Acmena smithii – Ficus – Livistona – Podocarpus is the only one present on the coast south of Sydney. The Lophostemon confertus suballiance, synonymous with Forest Type 25 Headland Brush Box (Forestry Commission of NSW 1989) is restricted to exposed headlands in the North Coast Bioregion. There is considerable floristic variation between stands and in particular areas localised variants may be recognised (for example on the south coast a number of variants within the Acmena smithii – Ficus – Livistona – Podocarpus sub-alliance have been described, see Mills 1996, Mills & Jakeman 1995; Keith & Bedward 1999, NCC 1999, NPWS 2002). Small, depauperate stands may be difficult to assign to sub alliances. A number of species characteristic of Littoral Rainforest in NSW reach their southern limits at various places along the coast (for example Cupaniopsis anacardioides reaches its southern limit between Sydney and the Illawarra) but a number of temperate species are restricted to the south coast, and the total Littoral Rainforest flora declines from north to south. Characteristic species of littoral rainforest include:

 

 

Acacia binervata

 

Acmena hemilampra

 

Acmena smithii

+

Acronychia imperforata

 

Acronychia oblongifolia

+

Alpinia caerulea

 

Alectryon coriaceus

 

Alyxia ruscifolia

+

Aphananthe philippinensis

+

Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

 

Arthropteris tenella

+

Arytera divaricata

 

Asplenium australasicum

+

Baloghia marmorata

 

Banksia integrifolia subsp. integrifolia

+

Beilschmiedia obtusifolia

 

Breynia oblongifolia

+

Bridelia exaltata

+

Calamus muelleri

 

Canthium coprosmoides

+

Capparis arborea

 

Cayratia clematidea

 

Celtis paniculata

 

Cissus antarctica

 

Cissus hypoglauca

 

Cissus sterculiifolia

 

Claoxylon australe

+

Cordyline congesta

+

Cordyline stricta

 

Cryptocarya glaucescens

 

Cryptocarya microneura

+

Cryptocarya triplinervis

 

Cupaniopsis anacardioides

 

Cynanchum elegans

 

Dendrocnide excelsa

+

Dendrocnide photinophylla

 

Dioscorea transversa

 

Diospyros australis

 

Diospyros pentamera

 

Doodia aspera

 

Duboisia myoporoides

+

Dysoxylum fraserianum

 

Ehretia acuminata

+

Elaeocarpus obovatus

+

Elattostachys nervosa

 

Endiandra discolor

 

Endiandra sieberi

 

Eucalyptus botryoides

 

Eucalyptus tereticornis

 

Eupomatia laurina

 

Eustrephus latifolius

 

Ficus coronata

 

Ficus obliqua

 

Ficus rubiginosa

+

Ficus watkinsiana

 

Flagellaria indica

 

Geitonoplesium cymosum

 

Glochidion ferdinandi

 

Glycine clandestina

+

Gossia bidwillii

 

Guioa semiglauca

+

Ixora beckleri

+

Jagera pseudorhus

+

Lepidozamia peroffskyana

 

Litsea reticulata

 

Livistona australis

 

Lomandra longifolia

+

Lophostemon confertus

 

Maclura cochinchinensis

+

Mallotus philippensis

 

Melaleuca quinquenervia

 

Melicope micrococca

+

Melicope vitiflora

+

Mischocarpus pyriformis

+

Monococcus echinophorus

+

Morinda jasminoides

+

Mucuna gigantea

 

Myoporum acuminatum

 

Notelaea longifolia

+

Olea paniculata

 

Oplismenus imbecillis

+

Pandanus pedunculatus

 

Pandorea pandorana

 

Pararchidendron pruinosum var. pruinosum

 

Parsonsia straminea

+

Pentaceras australis

 

Piper novae-hollandiae

+

Pisonia umbellifera

 

Pittosporum multiflorum

 

Pittosporum undulatum

 

Platycerium bifurcatum

 

Podocarpus elatus

 

Pollia crispata

 

Polyscias elegans

 

Pouteria australis

 

Pouteria cotinifolia var. cotinifolia

+

Pouteria myrsinoides

 

Rapanea variabilis

 

Rhodamnia rubescens

+

Rhodomyrtus psidioides

 

Ripogonum album

 

Ripogonum discolor

 

Sarcomelicope simplicifolia

 

Scolopia braunii

 

Smilax australis

 

Smilax glyciphylla

+

Sophora tomentosa subsp. australis

 

Stephania japonica var. discolor

 

Synoum glandulosum

 

Syzygium australe

+

Syzygium luehmannii

 

Syzygium oleosum

 

Syzygium paniculatum

+

Tetrastigma nitens

 

Trophis scandens subsp. scandens

 

Viola banksii

 

Wilkiea huegeliana

 

 

Those species marked ‘+’ are found in littoral rainforest north of Sydney, with some restricted to the north coast or in only a few sites south of the North Coast Bioregion. The other species are geographically more widespread.

 

Given the small size of many stands and the history of fragmentation, the number of characteristic species in any stand is likely to be smaller than this list. In addition, the total richness of stands declines with increasing latitude and a number of the species listed above are absent or rare in the south.

 

4. 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 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 but the assemblage in individual stands will depend on geographic location, size of stand, degree of exposure, history of disturbance and, if previously disturbed, stage of regeneration.

 

5. Threatened species and populations for which Littoral Rainforest is known or likely habitat include:

 

Acronychia littoralis

Cryptocarya foetida

Archidendron hendersonii

Macadamia tetraphylla

Cynanchum elegans

Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia

Fontainea oraria

Syzygium moorei

Senna acclinis

Xylosma terrae-reginae

Syzygium paniculatum

 

Amaurornis olivaceus

Bush-hen

Coracina lineata

Barred Cuckoo-shrike

Lichenostomus faciogularis

Mangrove Honeyeater

Monarchia leucotis

White-eared Monarch

Ninox strenua

Powerful Owl

Pandion haliaetus

Osprey

Ptilinopus magnificus

Wompoo Fruit-dove

Ptilinopus regina

Rose-crowned Fruit-dove

Ptilinopus superbus

Superb Fruit-dove

Tyto tenebricosa

Sooty Owl

 

Dasyurus maculatus

Spotted-tailed Quoll

Kerivoula papuensis

Golden-tipped Bat

Mormopterus beccarii

Beccari’s Freetail-bat

Mormopterus norfolkensis

Eastern Freetail-bat

Myotis adversus

Large-footed Myotis

Nyctimene robinsoni

Eastern Tube-nosed Bat

Potorous tridactylus

Long-nosed Potoroo

Pteropus alecto

Black Flying Fox

Pteropus poliocephalus

Grey-headed Flying Fox

Syconycteris australis

Eastern Blossom Bat

Thylogale stigmarica

Red-legged Pademelon

 

Coeranoscincus reticulatus

Three-toed Snake-tooth Skink

Hoplocephalus bitorquatus

Pale-headed Snake

 

Thersites mitchellae

Mitchell’s Rainforest Snail

 

Emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, population in the NSW North Coast Bioregion and Port Stephens Local Government Area

Menippus fugitivus (Lea), a beetle population in the Sutherland Shire

 

Most of the species included in this list are found at only some sites, or vary in occurrence and abundance. As such they are not regarded as part of the characterisation of the community. Nevertheless, they are of conservation significance and need to be considered in recovery planning.

 

6. Littoral Rainforest occurs in numerous, small stands and in total comprises less than 1% of the total area of rainforest in NSW. The largest known stand occurs in Iluka Nature Reserve, which is approximately 136 ha. Many, but not all, stands of Littoral Rainforest have been included in mapping for State Environmental Planning Policy 26 Littoral Rainforest, but degradation of the ecological community is still occurring.

 

7. Weed species that threaten the integrity of particular stands include Ambrosia artemisifolia, Anredera cordifolia, Arecastrum romanzoffianum, Asparagus spp., Cardiospermum grandiflorum, Chrysanthemoides monilifera, Coprosma repens, Ehrharta spp., Gloriosa superba, Ipomoea spp; Impatiens walleriana, Lantana camara, Macfadyena unguis-cati, Rivina humilis, Pennisetum clandestinim, Schefflera actinophylla, Senna septemtrionalis, Solanum mauritianum Thunbergia alata and Tradescantia fluminensis.

 

8. Other threats include loss of canopy integrity arising from salt and wind damage as a result of clearing or damage to stand margins; clearing of understorey (including for firewood collection); grazing and physical disturbance of understorey including by feral deer; inappropriate collection of a range of plant species (including, but not restricted to, epiphytes); fire, particularly fire incursion along boundaries: visitor disturbance including soil compaction, soil disturbance, erosion from foot, cycle, trail bike and 4 wheel drive tracks, introduction of pathogens, and disturbance from creation of new planned and unplanned tracks; increased visitation and resulting increased demand for and use of, visitor facilities such as walking tracks, viewing platforms, toilet blocks, picnic areas etc; dumping of garden waste causing weed infestation; car and other rubbish dumping. Loss of fauna due to predation by feral animals, road kill, loss of habitat and feeding resources, disturbance from human visitation (faunal elements are essential to the ecological functioning of littoral rainforest and loss, or reduction, in pollinators and seed dispersal agents will adversely affect long term vegetation health); fragmentation resulting in loss of connectivity and possibly reduced genetic exchange between populations. For stands not protected by State Environmental Planning Policy 26, clearing and development remains a possibility. (Adam 1987, 1992; Floyd 1990; Mills 1996).

 

9. In view of the above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that Littoral Rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner 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 – 03/02/12

 

References:

 

Adam P (1987) New South Wales rainforests. The nomination for the World Heritage List. NPWS, Sydney.

 

Adam P (1992) Australian rainforests Oxford University Press, Oxford.

 

Floyd AG (1990) Australian rainforests in New South Wales. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.

 

Forestry Commission of New South Wales (1989) Research Note No 17. Forest types in New South Wales FCNSW, Sydney.

 

Keith DA and Bedward M (1999) Native vegetation of the South East Forests region, Eden, New South Wales. Cunninghamia 6 (1), 1-218.

 

McKinley A, Milledge D, Nicholson H, Nicholson N and Stewart B (1999) Identification of littoral rainforest on krasnozem soils between the Queensland – New South Wales border and the Richmond River. Report for the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

 

Mills K (1996) Littoral Rainforests in Southern NSW: inventory, characteristics and management. Revised version of 1988 Illawarra Vegetation Studies, Paper 1.

 

Mills K and Jakeman J (1995) Rainforests of the Illawarra District. Coachwood Publishing, Jamberoo.

 

NCC (1999) Towards an Illawarra Regional Vegetation Management Plan. Vols. 1 & 2. Nature Conservation Council, Sydney.

 

NPWS (2002) Native Vegetation of the Wollongong Escarpment and Coastal Plain. Draft unpublished report for the Bioregional Assessment Study of the Wollongong LGA. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.

 

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