Threatened Ecological Communities

All part of a community

Ecological communities are groups of plants, animals and other organisms that naturally and consistently occur together. What occurs in an ecological community depends on environmental factors such as climate, landscape position, aspect and altitude. While a particular ecological community will vary in structure and composition across its range, there are common elements that clearly identify one ecological community from another.

Weeping Myall (Acacia pendula) woodland is an example of an ecological community. It occurs from Victoria to central Queensland. Throughout this range the plant and animal species will vary, but it will have some common characteristics. It is dominated by widely spaced Acacia pendula with a grassy understorey that includes salt bushes and scattered shrubs.

Working together

A healthy ecological community is not just about having lots of trees. For a community to function well, all the parts of the community need to be working together. This means that there is enough food, water, shelter, physical space and diversity for reproduction so that every species can thrive and survive, even when times are tough (e.g. droughts and fires).

Threatened Ecological Communities in the Border Rivers and Gwydir catchments

BrigalowBrigalow

National Threat Status: Endangered
Characteristics: Canopy dominated by Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) but co-dominant species such as Belah (Casuarina cristata) may also be present. High diversity of grasses, chenopods and shrubs. Occurs as either forest or woodland to 20 m tall.

Read more...

Weeping Myall WoodlandWeeping Myall Woodland

National Threat Status: Endangered
Characteristics: Canopy dominated by Weeping Myall (Acacia pendula). Ground layer dominated by perennial tussock grasses and chenopods with a scattering of shrubs. Woodland to 12 m tall.

Read more...

Semi-evergreen vine thicketSemi-Evergreen Vine Thicket

National Threat Status: Endangered
Characteristics: A semi-arid form of dry rainforest dominated by a diversity of non-eucalypt trees and shrubs such as Native Olive (Notolaea microcarpa), Wilga (Geijera parviflora) and Peach Bush (Ehretia mebranifolia) with numerous vine species present.

Read more...

Box Gum Grassy WoodlandBox Gum Grassy Woodland

National Threat Status: Critically Endangered
Characteristics: Canopy dominated by eucalypts (E. albens, E. melliodora, E. blakelyi). Ground layer dominated by perennial tussock grasses with a high diversity of herbs. Woodland to 25 m tall. When trees are removed it is described as a "derived native grassland".

Read more...

Natural GrasslandsNatural Grasslands on Alluvial Plains

National Threat Status: Critically Endangered
Characteristics: A tussock grassland dominated by species of Austrostipa, Austrodanthonia, Themeda, Dichanthium, Bothriochloa and Enteropogon with herbs including daisies, legumes, orchids and lilies. Occurs on cracking clay soils on alluvial plains.

Read more...

New Engalnd Peppermint WoodlandNew England Peppermint Woodland

National Threat Status: Critically Endangered
Characteristics: Woodland or open forest with canopy dominated by E. novaanglica with other species such as Black Sallee (E. stellalata) or Mountain Gum (E. dalrympleana) present. Grassy understorey with herbs. On poorly drained clay soils or coarse sandy soils above 900 m.

Read more...

Coolibah-Black Box Woodland

Coolibah-Black Box Woodland

National Threat Status: Endangered
Characteristics: Canopy dominated by Coolibah (Eucalyptus coolabah) and Black Box (E. largiflorens) with a grassy understorey and other scattered trees and shrubs such as River Cooba (Acacia stenophylla) and Eurah (Eremophila bignoniiflora). Occurs on grey, self-mulching, floodplain soils. Open woodland to 15 m high.

Read more...

Upland Wetlands

Upland Wetlands

National Threat Status: Endangered
Characteristics: Shallow lagoons occurring on basalt plateau of the New England Tablelands above 700 m. May be permanent, intermittent or ephemeral with grassland and sedgeland on their margins and a diversity of aquatic plants. Mother of Ducks Lagoon at Guyra is an example.

Under threat

Many ecological communities are now threatened with extinction because of a reduction in the area once covered by the community, a significant decline in the condition of the community, or both. Changes to extent and condition can be caused by 'threats' such as clearing of native vegetation, the effects from weeds and feral animals, grazing by domestic livestock or the effects of added fertiliser.

When these threats become so great that they could impact the survival of an ecological community, the community can be nominated for protection under the Commonwealth Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) or the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act).

These Acts provide protection for threatened ecological communities that are not located within conservation reserves. The Acts regulate which actions are prohibited or allowed that may affect these communities.

Managing for recovery

The aim of management of threatened ecological communities is to improve their extent or condition. Depending on the threat and the type of community, there will be specific actions which will help the community to survive and recover. Land managers play a big part in the long term survival of ecological communities through their management actions.

What can I do?

Management that addresses the threats facing these ecological communities will increase the likelihood of their survival. Positive actions may be simple such as allowing natural regeneration and controlling livestock access; or complex, such as controlling perennial weeds, reconnecting communities through revegetation, or re-establishing fire regimes. If you suspect you have one of these communities on your land, contact the Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA for advice or visit one of these websites:

EPBC Act List of threatened ecological communities
www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publiclookupcommunities.pl

NSW TSC Act List of threatened ecological communities
www.environment.nsw.gov.au/ThreatenedSpecies/hometec.htm

Download

Complete Fact Sheet (PDF 2.1 MB)

 

To Top of the page