Findings of the flora survey
The fieldwork and subsequent conclusions drawn from the data revealed that the plant communities of the Cumberland Plain are extremely diverse. An area of approximately 245,120 hectares was studied during the survey and a total of 46 different plant communities were identified. Of the plant communities, over 70 per cent are endemic to the region and are limited to a few sites.
The diversity in habitats and plant communities has in turn resulted in a great number of different species being present in the region. Over 1300 species of native plants were recorded in the study area, including 54 species which are considered to be threatened at national or state level. In addition, about 950 species are classified as regionally vulnerable. In other words, these species are not protected in conservation reserves in the western Sydney region.
The presence of such a large number of threatened native plant species suggests that the original levels of plant diversity before European settlement had been extremely high. That so many different species have actually survived to the present day is in itself remarkable, given the long history of European settlement resulted in extensive land clearing throughout the region. Many of the vegetation communities are a fraction of their original size and some major communities have been reduced to less than 10 per cent of their original range.
Page last updated: 27 February 2011