Blue Mountains shale cap forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion - endangered ecological community listing

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list the Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion as an ENDANGERED ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITY on Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Act. The listing of Endangered Ecological Communities is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

Note: This determination has been superseded by the 2011 Minor Amendment Determination.

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.

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.


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).


Proposed Gazettal date: 6/10/00

Exhibition period: 6/10/00 - 10/11/00