O'Hares Creek shale forest community - endangered ecological community listing

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act has made a Final Determination to list the O'Hares Creek Shale Forest Community, as an ENDANGERED ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITY on Schedule 1 Part 3 of the Act. The listing of endangered ecological communities is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. The O'Hares Creek Shale Forest Community (OHSFC) is the plant community that occurs on deep, well drained red loam on small outcrops of Hawkesbury shale in the Darkes Forest area on the Woronora Plateau within Campbelltown, Wollondilly and Wollongong Council areas.

2. OHSFC occurs on flat ridgetops and adjacent slopes.

3. OHSFC is characterised by the following assemblage of vascular plant species:

  • Acacia binervata
  • Acacia longifolia
  • Angophora costata
  • Banksia spinulosa
  • Blechnum cartilagineum
  • Brunoniella pumilo
  • Calochlaena dubia
  • Clematis aristata
  • Comesperma volubile
  • Dichelachne rara
  • Doryanthes excelsa
  • Eucalyptus globoidea
  • Corymbia gummifera
  • Eucalyptus piperita
  • Eustrephus latifolius
  • Glycine clandestina
  • Goodenia heterophylla
  • Hibbertia empetrifolia
  • Imperata cylindrica
  • Kennedia rubicunda
  • Lagenifera stipitata
  • Lepidosperma laterale
  • Leucopogon lanceolata
  • Lomandra longifolia
  • Lomatia silaifolia
  • Olearia erubescens
  • Ozothamnus diosmifolius
  • Persoonia linearis
  • Phyllanthus hirtella
  • Pratia purpurascens
  • Pterostylis grandiflora
  • Pultenaea hispidula
  • Pultenaea linophylla
  • Themeda australis
  • Viola betonicifolia
4. The total species list of the community is considerably larger than that given in 3 (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 3 may be present. Locations on the Darkes Forest Ridge typically have a more mesic understorey than those on smaller shale outcrops further west. At any one time, seeds of some species may only be present in the soil seedbank 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.

5. Approximately half of the original extent of OHCSF has been cleared for agriculture or mining and only small remnant patches remain, totalling less than 200 ha. Only a small area occurs within conservation reserves (some 20-30 ha in Dharawal Nature Reserve and State Conservation Area) and this reserved proportion does not cover the range of floristic variation in the community.

6. OHCSF is threatened by degradation of remaining stands, including weed invasion, high fire frequency, disturbance associated with illegal wood cutting and off-road vehicle use, and the possibility of further clearing.

7. The Scientific Committee noted that general information on the O'Hares Creek Shale Forest Community is contained in: Keith, D. (1994) Floristics, structure and diversity of natural vegetation in the O'Hares Creek catchment south of Sydney. Cunninghamia 3(3): 543-594.

8. In view of 5 and 6, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that O'Hares Creek Shale Forest Community 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 and that the community is eligible for listing as an endangered ecological community.

Proposed Gazettal date: 18/12/98

Exhibition period: 18/12/98 - 29/1/99

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Page last updated: 28 February 2011