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


Coracina lineata

Barred Cuckoo-shrike

Lichenostomus faciogularis

Mangrove Honeyeater

Monarchia leucotis

White-eared Monarch

Ninox strenua

Powerful Owl

Pandion haliaetus


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


Scientific Committee


Proposed Gazettal date: 02/12/11

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




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Page last updated: 02 December 2011