Commonwealth of Australia
Inclusion of ecological communities in the list of threatened ecological communities under section 181 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EC 117)
I, TONY BURKE, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, pursuant to paragraph 184(1)(a) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, hereby amend the list referred to in section 181 of that Act by:
including in the list in the critically endangered category
Lowland Grassy Woodland in the South East Corner Bioregion
as described in the Schedule to this instrument.
Dated this…....30................................day of…...January....................................2013
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Lowland Grassy Woodland in the South East Corner Bioregion
The Lowland Grassy Woodland in the South East Corner Bioregion ecological community (hereafter referred to as the Lowland Grassy Woodland or the ecological community) originally occupied much of the lower parts of the landscape on rolling hills of the coastal river valleys in the NSW part of the South East Corner bioregion (south of, and including, the Clyde River catchment) (Interim Biogeographical Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) version 7). Key areas where the ecological community occurs include the Bega and Cobargo valleys and the Moruya area with smaller patches at Belowra, in the upper Towamba Valley and a few locations (with higher soil fertility) closer to the coast (e.g. Coila, Bingie Bingie, Tanja and Goalen Head) including basalt derived clay loams in coastal areas of the Eurobodalla Shire (e.g. Congo). Further inland and at higher elevation, the sandy granitoid soils of the Araluen Valley also support grassy woodlands that are part of the ecological community.
The ecological community is associated with rainshadow areas (mean annual rainfall 750 – 1100 mm/year) on undulating terrain at altitudes below 500 metres above sea level (asl). These areas usually occur on relatively fertile soils on granite substrates or other igneous rock (e.g. adamellites, granites, granodiorites, gabbros) or occasionally on soils derived from Ordovician metasediments and basalt, where they occur within granite areas (e.g. acid volcanic, alluvial and fine-grained sedimentary substrates).
The Lowland Grassy Woodland has been cleared or substantially modified by farming, development and invasive species. Remnants are generally confined to private property or small public reserves such as Travelling Stock Reserves, cemeteries and roadsides.
The Lowland Grassy Woodland typically occurs as a grassy woodland but may also exhibit a more open forest structure or occur as a derived grassland where the trees have been removed but a native ground layer remains. The ecological community is composed of trees with a mature canopy height of up to about 20 metres. The community typically has a projected foliage cover of 15-30 %; however, management may result in a temporary higher level of canopy cover or no tree cover in the derived grassland form. The canopy is typically dominated by Eucalyptus tereticornis (forest red gum) and/or Angophora floribunda (rough barked apple). Associated tree species include E. globoidea (white stringybark) and E. bosistoana (coastal grey box). E. pauciflora (snow gum) or E. melliodora (yellow box) may be dominant in some areas. Some areas have limited occurrences of forest red gum and rough barked apple. For example, Lowland Grassy Woodland in the Towamba Valley is more commonly dominated by yellow box and snow gum.
Smaller trees such as Acacia may sometimes be present but are generally part of the mid-storey or shrub layer.
A shrub layer is often present as an open to sparse layer, typically with Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) or Ozothamnus diosmifolius (sago flower). Some patches, or areas within a patch, have a dense shrub layer and consist mainly of Bursaria spinosa (sweet bursaria, blackthorn).
The ecological community typically has a near continuous groundcover dominated by grasses and forbs. Typical species present include grasses such as Themeda triandra (kangaroo grass), Eragrostis leptostachya (paddock lovegrass), Microlaena stipoides (weeping grass), Poa labillardieri (tussock grass), Echinopogon caespitosus (tufted hedgehog-grass), E. ovatus (forest hedgehog-grass), Rytidosperma racemosum var. racemosum (formerly Austrodanthonia racemosa var. racemosa; clustered wallaby-grass), Sorghum leiocladum (wild sorghum) and Dichelachne micrantha (short-haired plume-grass); and forbs such as Desmodium varians (slender tick-trefoil), Dichondra repens (kidney weed), Euchiton gymnocephalus (creeping cudweed), Geranium solanderi (native geranium), Glycine clandestina (twining glycine), Glycine tabacina (variable glycine), Hypericum gramineum (small St John's wort), Hydrocotyle laxiflora (stinking pennywort); and the fern Cheilanthes sieberi (narrow rock-fern).
Some patches of the ecological community now occur in management-induced states that may vary from the typical vegetation description, above. In derived grassland, the canopy layer has been removed or thinned to very scattered trees but the ground layer with or without a shrub layer are intact and retain the native biodiversity components characteristic of these layers, as outlined above. Derived grasslands contain much of the native plant biodiversity of the ecological community (i.e. the ground layer) and act as a seed bank and source of genetic material. Derived grasslands are therefore included as part of the ecological community.
The national ecological community is limited to patches that meet the following key diagnostic characteristics and condition thresholds:
Key diagnostic characteristics
· The distribution is limited to New South Wales, south of (and including) the Clyde River catchment, and primarily within the South East Corner bioregion (IBRA 7) .
· It typically occurs in coastal or near coastal areas with some more inland outliers around Araluen.
· It typically occurs at elevations below 500m asl.
· The tree canopy is typically dominated by Eucalyptus tereticornis (forest red gum) and/or Angophora floribunda (rough barked apple). Associated tree species include E. globoidea (white stringybark) and E. bosistoana (coastal grey box). E. pauciflora (snow gum) or E. melliodora (yellow box) may be dominant in some areas. The tree canopy usually has a maximum projected foliage cover of 30%. A sub-canopy or mid-layer may be present, typically with Acacia mearnsii.
· It typically includes a grassy understorey of Themeda triandra (kangaroo grass) as well as other grasses and forbs. Occasionally it also has a shrub cover of Bursaria spinosa (sweet bursaria, blackthorn).
· It can also occur as a derived grassland.
 Projected foliage cover is the proportion of the ground covered by the vertical projection of the vegetation.