The vertebrate fauna of Royal and Heathcote National Parks and Garawarra State Conservation Area

One of the first national parks established in the world, Royal National Park in the south of Sydney is a reserve of outstanding fauna diversity. Together with the adjoining Garawarra and Heathcote reserves, the area provides a home or visiting place for 347 native fauna species of which 41 are recognised as threatened species. This ranks amongst the most fauna rich reserve complexes in NSW.

This report provides an overview and detailed discussion of the fauna values of Royal and Heathcote national parks, Garawarra State Conservation Area and adjacent lands considered to be of high conservation value. It documents the findings of an extensive literature and data review, brings together the observations of many local naturalists, and presents the findings of a comprehensive program that surveyed the full variety of fauna habitats over the 2009-2010 year.

The reserves are characterised by extensive stands of sandstone forests, heaths and woodlands that provide habitat for a suite of fauna typical of the Sydney basin. However it is the diverse range of habitats, from the beaches and rugged rocky ocean shores, to the mangrove-lined mudflats of Port Hacking, rainforests of the Hacking River valley, extensive heathlands with sweeping vistas and rugged sandstone cliff lines overshadowing the weaving path of the Woronora River, that elevate the species richness to such an outstanding level. The shoreline and wetlands are amongst the most distinct habitat types, supporting a variety of waterbirds that are restricted to the coastal fringe. Similarly the rainforests and adjacent tall wet sclerophyll forests found growing on rich soils in incised gullies support their own unique assemblage of species, some of which are extensions of the more subtropical New South Wales north coast.

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Page last updated: 17 March 2014