Nature conservation

Threatened species

Lower Hunter Spotted Gum Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Lower Hunter Spotted Gum Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin and NSW North Coast Bioregions
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered Ecological Community
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 18 Feb 2005
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2017


This community is dominated by Spotted Gum Corymbia maculata and Broad-leaved Ironbark Eucalyptus fibrosa, while Grey Gum E. punctata and Grey Ironbark E. crebra occur occasionally. A number of other eucalypt species occur at low frequency, but may be locally common in the community. One of these species, E. canaliculata, intergrades extensively in the area with E. punctata.

The understorey is marked by the tall shrub, Acacia parvipinnula, and by the prickly shrubs, Daviesia ulicifolia, Bursaria spinosa, Melaleuca nodosa and Lissanthe strigosa. Other shrubs include Persoonia linearis, Maytenus silvestris and Breynia oblongifolia.

The ground layer is diverse; frequent species include Cheilanthes sieberi, Cymbopogon refractus, Dianella revoluta, Entolasia stricta, Glycine clandestina, Lepidosperma laterale, Lomandra multiflora, Microlaena stipoides, Pomax umbellata, Pratia purpurascens, Themeda australis and Phyllanthus hirtellus.

In an undisturbed condition the structure of the community is typically open forest. If thinning has occurred, it may take the form of woodland or a dense thicket of saplings, depending on post-disturbance regeneration. Lower Hunter Spotted Gum-Ironbark Forest belongs to the Hunter - Macleay Dry Sclerophyll Forests vegetation class of Keith (2004).

For a comprehensive list of species that characterise the community open the Scientific Determination link in the top right box.


Restricted to a range of approximately 65 km by 35 km centred on the Cessnock - Beresfield area in the Central and Lower Hunter Valley. Within this range, the community was once widespread. A fragmented core of the community still occurs between Cessnock and Beresfield. Remnants occur within the Local Government Areas of Cessnock, Maitland, Singleton, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle and Port Stephens but may also occur elsewhere within the bioregion. Outliers are also present on the eastern escarpment of Pokolbin and Corrabare State Forests on Narrabeen Sandstone.

Four large patches of Lower Hunter Spotted Gum-Ironbark Forest are estimated to have covered nearly 50,000 ha prior to European settlement, representing 75% of the total distribution. The community is currently mapped as occurring in more than 4,800 fragments, of which more than 4,500 are less than 10 ha in area. The four largest patches now cover about 7,000 ha, representing less than one-quarter of the current distribution, or about 10% of the estimated pre-European distribution. Approximately 1,600 hectares of Lower Hunter Spotted Gum-Ironbark Forest occurs within Werakata National Park.

Habitat and ecology

  • Occurs principally on Permian geology in the central to lower Hunter Valley. The Permian substrates most commonly supporting the community belong to the Dalwood Group, the Maitland Group and the Greta and Tomago Coal Measures, although smaller areas of the community may also occur on the Permian Singleton and Newcastle Coal Measures and the Triassic Narrabeen Group.
  • The community is strongly associated with, though not restricted to, the yellow podsolic and solodic soils of the Lower Hunter soil landscapes of Aberdare, Branxton and Neath. These substrates are said to produce 'moderately fertile' soils.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Predicted East of Wollombi Brook