Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion - Determination to make a minor amendment to Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act

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 Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion (as described in the determination of the Scientific Committee under Division 5 Part 2) and as a consequence to omit reference to the Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion (as described in the final determination to list the ecological community) which was published on pages 10950 to 10954 in the NSW Government Gazette No. 131 dated 6 October 2000. 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.

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. The Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest is the name given to the plant community from the local government areas of Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury (within the Sydney Basin Bioregion) that is characterised by the following assemblage of species.

Acacia elata

Acacia longifolia

Acacia parramattensis

Acianthus exsertus

Adiantum aethiopicum

Allocasuarina littoralis

Allocasuarina torulosa

Angophora costata

Angophora floribunda

Astrotricha latifolia

Backhousia myrtifolia

Blechnum cartilagineum

Blechnum nudum

Bracteantha bracteata

Breynia oblongifolia

Callicoma serratifolia

Calochlaena dubia

Cassytha pubescens

Ceratopetalum gummiferum

Cissus antarctica

Clematis aristata

Dianella caerulea

Dichelachne rara

Dichondra repens

Dodonaea triquetra

Doodia aspera

Echinopogon ovatus

Entolasia marginata

Entolasia stricta

Eucalyptus cypellocarpa

Eucalyptus deanei

Eucalyptus globoidea

Eucalyptus notabilis

Eucalyptus paniculata

Eucalyptus piperita

Eucalyptus punctata

Eustrephus latifolius

Geitonoplesium cymosum

Geranium solanderi

Glycine clandestina

Hakea dactyloides

Hardenbergia violacea

Hibbertia diffusa

Imperata cylindrica

Indigofera australis

Kennedia rubicunda

Lepidosperma laterale

Leucopogon lanceolatus

Lomandra longifolia

Lomatia silaifolia

Microlaena stipoides

Oplismenus aemulus

Oplismenus imbecillis

Ozothamnus diosmifolius

Pandorea pandorana

Persoonia linearis

Phyllanthus hirtellus

Pittosporum revolutum

Pittosporum undulatum

Platysace lanceolata

Polyscias sambucifolia

Pratia purpurascens

Pseuderanthemum variabile

Pteridium esculentum

Pultenaea flexilis

Rubus parvifolius

Schoenus melanostachys

Smilax australis

Smilax glyciphylla

Stypandra glauca

Syncarpia glomulifera

Telopea speciosissima

Themeda australis

Tristaniopsis collina

Tylophora barbata

2. The total species list of the community is considerably larger than that given in 1 (above), with many species present in only one or two sites or in very small quantity. In any particular site not all of the assemblage listed in 1 may be present. At any one time, seeds of some species may only be present in the soil seed bank with no above-ground individuals present. The species composition of the site will be influenced by the size of the site and by its recent disturbance history. The number of species and the above-ground composition of species will change with time since fire, and may also change in response to changes in fire frequency.

3. Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest is or has been known to occur in the local government areas of Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury, but may occur elsewhere in the Sydney Basin Bioregion. Bioregions are defined in Thackway and Cresswell (1995).

4. The structure of the community was originally tall open forest to open forest, depending on site conditions and history, but as a result of partial clearance may now exist as woodland or as groups of remnant trees.

5. Characteristic tree species are Eucalyptus deanei (Deanes Gum), Eucalyptus cypellocarpa (Monkey Gum) and Syncarpia glomulifera (Turpentine). Other tree species include Angophora costata, Angophora floribunda, Eucalyptus notabilis, Eucalyptus piperita and Eucalyptus punctata. Tree species composition varies between sites depending on geographical location and local conditions (e.g. topography, rainfall exposure).

6. Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest is found on deep fertile Wianamatta Shale soils on moist sheltered sites at lower and middle altitudes in the Blue Mountains and Wollemi areas. Extensive occurrences of shale are at Springwood, Berambing to Kurrajong Heights, Mountain Lagoon and Colo Heights.

7. Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest includes vegetation that is part of Map Unit 9a Shale Cap Forest of the Royal Botanic Gardens 1:100 000 vegetation maps (Keith & Benson 1988, Benson 1992, Ryan et al 1996) and part of the Eucalyptus deanei-Syncarpia glomulifera Tall Open forest of Smith & Smith (1998).

8. Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest is a rich habitat for fauna, supporting greater numbers and a greater diversity of mammals and birds than the typical lower drier eucalypt forests and woodlands of the Blue Mountains. The Eucalyptus deanei trees are a major source of nest hollows for owls, parrots, gliders and other hollow dependent fauna including the Threatened Species, Powerful Owl and Glossy Black-Cockatoo.

9. Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest has been extensively cleared for past agricultural and urban development and is poorly represented in Blue Mountains and Wollemi National Parks; and is threatened with further clearing for urban development, as well as other indirect threats associated with proximity to urban and agricultural areas.

10. In view of the small size of existing remnants, the threat of further clearing and disturbance, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion is likely to become extinct in nature unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate and that listing as an endangered ecological community is warranted.

Dr Richard Major
Scientific Committee

Proposed Gazettal date: 14/10/11
Exhibition period: 14/10/11 - 9/12/11

Note this ecological community was originally listed in 2000 as indicated in the determination


Benson, D.H. (1992) The natural vegetation of the Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(4): 541-596.

Keith, D.A. & Benson, D.H. (1988) The natural vegetation of the Katoomba 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(1): 107-144.

Ryan, K. Fisher, M. & Schaeper, L. (1996) The natural vegetation of the St Albans 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 4(3): 433-530.

Smith, Peter & Smith, Judy (1998) Sensitive vegetation units in the City of Blue Mountains. (Report to Blue Mountains Conservation Society. P & J Smith Ecological Consultants, Blaxland).

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.)