Cooma-Monaro

Indicator: Ecological Communities

Results for this indicator are also available for  

What the results tell us for Cooma-Monaro

Eighty-seven vegetation communities have been recorded within Cooma-Monaro Shire, 23 of which are considered of conservation significance. The Shire may also contain occurrences of five ecological communities listed as critically endangered or endangered nationally or within New South Wales (NSW). Eight wetlands of national importance are also located within the Shire.

It was not possible to assess accurately changes to the extent and condition of native vegetation in the Shire during the current reporting period. No information was available on vegetation cleared, or vegetation affected by the four wild fires that occurred within the Council area during the current reporting period.

No information was available on whether reservation targets vegetation were met for communities considered to be poorly represented within the broader region's reserve system in the previous reporting period. No information was available on Voluntary Conservation Agreements or wildlife refuges during the current reporting period.

The Monaro Grassland Conservation Management Network, established within the previous reporting period, aims to improve the conservation of natural grassland vegetation in the Monaro region (which includes part of Cooma-Monaro Shire). A range of activities carried out by the network, including the establishment of a grassland reserve at Cooma, and other on-ground projects during the reporting period enhanced the conservation of some ecological communities in the Shire.

Vegetation communities in the Shire

Eighty-seven vegetation communities (or ecosystems) have been recorded within Cooma-Monaro Shire (see Table 1). These communities were classified as part of two forest Comprehensive Regional Assessment (CRA) programs in south-eastern NSW over 1998 and 1999 which provided the best coverage and most consistent description of vegetation in the Shire at the time of writing this State of the Environment report (see About the data). These vegetation classifications are still current, however Eden CRA classifications were incorporated (almost unchanged) into the new South Coast and Illawarra Vegetation Intergration (SCIVI) classification system (Tozer et.al 2006), and completely overlap the Eden CRA region. SCIVI has superseded the Southern CRA region, however does not fully encompass the Canberra region, overlapping much of the Southern CRA region, but not extending as far west. SCIVI does not include western vegetation classification types therefore was not applicable to this report.

Sixteen of the forest vegetation communities that occur within the Shire were considered vulnerable in 1998–99 (see Table 1), that is, they were approaching 70% clearance of their pre-1750 extent. In the context of the two CRA regions, an additional seven communities were still poorly represented within those regions' reserve systems in 2004. No information is available to determine the number of communities still poorly represented within those regions' reserve systems in 2008.

Table 1. Forest vegetation communities within the Cooma-Monaro Shire, and their conservation status within the Eden and Southern Comprehensive Regional Assessment (CRA) regions
Forest vegetation communities CRA Number Area(ha)# Vulnerable* Poorly Reserved*
2004 2000 1997
Acacia Scrub E4 10        
ACT Dry Shrub/Herb Forest S80 2        
ACT Montane Dry Shrub/Grass Forest S100 5,660        
ACT/Monaro Dry Grassland S157 260 + + + +
Alpine Wet Herbfield and Sub-alpine Wet Herb/Grassland/Bog S129133 1,360        
Basalt Wet Herb Forest E16 4,270        
Central Tableland/ACT Montane Dry Shrub Forest S107 7,930        
Central Tablelands Shrub/Grass Dry Forest S76 4,750 + + + +
Coastal Dry Shrub Forest E49 340        
Coastal Escarpment and Hinterland Dry Shrub/Fern Forest S19 160        
Coastal Shrub/Grass Forest S171 1 + + + +
Cool Temperate Rainforest E8 4        
Cooma Dry Grass Forest S180 650        
Eastern Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Forest S81 8,380        
Eastern Tableland and Escarpment Shrub/Fern Dry Forest S59 1,400        
Eastern Tableland Dry Shrub/Grass Forest S73 21,460 + + + +
Eastern Tableland Fern/Herb/Grass Moist Forest S55 11,050     + +
Eastern Tablelands Acacia/Herb/Grass Forest S89 19,720     + +
Eastern Tablelands Dry Heath S134 180        
Eastern Tablelands Dry Shrub Forest S112 40   + + +
Eastern Tablelands Shrub/Grass Moist Forest S66 2,800 + + + +
Estuarine Wetland Scrub E63 10 + + + +
High Mountain Wet Layered Forest E9 1        
Hinterland Warm Temperate Rainforest E7 40        
Hinterland Wet Fern Forest E13 3        
Hinterland Wet Shrub Forest E14 2        
Kydra Flats Grass Forest EW4 1,770        
Monaro Basalt Grass Woodland E23B 1,180 + + + +
Monaro Dry Grass Forest E22A 3,330     + +
Monaro Dry Grassland S158 3 + + + +
Montane / Sub-Alpine Dry Rocky Shrubland S36 120        
Montane Acacia/Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Forest S97 6,740        
Montane Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Forest S99 3,040        
Montane Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S79 600        
Montane Heath E53 2,040        
Montane Riparian Moist Shrub/Sedge/Grass Forest S85 130        
Montane Wet Heath/Bog S123 150        
Montane Wet Heath/Bog S123126 1,400        
Montane Wet Sedgeland S126 190        
Mountain Dry Shrub Forest E45 180        
Mountain Intermediate Shrub Forest E41 0.1        
Mountain Wet Herb Forest E15 320        
Mountain Wet Layered Forest E10 2,030        
North East Tablelands Shrub/Herb/Grass Dry Forest S68 30   + + +
Numeralla Dry Shrub Woodland E22B 8,070   + + +
Riparian Acacia Shrub/Grass/Herb Forest S53 460     + +
Scabby Range Dry Shrub Woodland S37 270        
South Coast and Byadbo Acacia Scrubs S35 20        
South East Tablelands Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S115 50,060   + + +
South Eastern Tablelands Dry Shrub/Grass/Herb Forest S74 22,810 + + + +
Southern Coastal Foothills Dry Shrub Forest S1 230        
Southern Coastal Hind Dune/Headland Scrub and Southern Coastal Dune Scrub Complex S2223 2        
Southern Coastal Hinterland Dry Gully Rainforest S170 10     + +
Southern Coastal Hinterland Moist Shrub/Vine/Grass Forest S18 210        
Southern East Tableland Edge Shrub/Grass Dry Forest S64 1,050     + +
Southern Escarpment (Wadbilliga) Moist Heath S135 150        
Southern Escarpment Cool/Warm Temperate Rainforest S165 70        
Southern Escarpment Edge Moist Heath Forest S65 2        
Southern Escarpment Edge Moist Shrub Forest S61 180        
Southern Escarpment Edge Moist Shrub/Fern Forest S62 700        
Southern Escarpment Herb/Grass Dry Forest S50 170        
Southern Escarpment Shrub/Fern/Herb Moist Forest S57 10        
Southern Numeralla Dry Shrub Forest S72 550   + + +
Sub-Alpine Bog E59 560 + + + +
Subalpine Dry Shrub Forest E24 13,770 + + + +
Sub-alpine Dry Shrub/Herb Woodland S128 6,980        
Sub-alpine Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Woodland S127 110        
Sub-alpine Herbfield S131 7,070        
Tableland Acacia Moist Herb Forest S95 16,590        
Tableland and Escarpment Moist Herb/Fern Grass Forest S56 10,080     + +
Tableland and Escarpment Wet Layered Shrub Forest S58 10        
Tableland Dry Herb/Grass Woodland S146 860 + + + +
Tableland Dry Shrub Forest E26 80        
Tableland Herb/Grassland S152 1 + + + +
Tableland Tussock Grass/Herb Forest S96 320 + + + +
Tableland Tussock Grassland /Sedgeland/ Woodland S148 340 + + + +
Tablelands Dry Shrub/Grass Forest S110 5,290     + +
Tablelands Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S114 1,450   + + +
Tablelands Moist Sedge/Herb/Grassland S147 120 + + + +
Tablelands Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S75 3,470        
Wadbilliga Dry Shrub Forest EW1 930        
Wadbilliga Gorge Dry Forest EW5 20        
Wadbilliga Heath Forest EW3 580        
Wadbilliga Range Shrub Forest EW2 400        
Western Montane Acacia Fern/Herb Forest S82 80        
Western Montane Moist Shrub Forest S98 20,350        
Widespread Tablelands Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S109 2,660   + + +
Acacia Scrub E4 10        
ACT Dry Shrub/Herb Forest S80 2        
ACT Montane Dry Shrub/Grass Forest S100 5,660        
ACT/Monaro Dry Grassland S157 260 + + + +
Alpine Wet Herbfield and Sub-alpine Wet Herb/Grassland/Bog S129133 1,360        
Basalt Wet Herb Forest E16 4,270        
Central Tableland/ACT Montane Dry Shrub Forest S107 7,930        
Central Tablelands Shrub/Grass Dry Forest S76 4,750 + + + +
Coastal Dry Shrub Forest E49 340        
Coastal Escarpment and Hinterland Dry Shrub/Fern Forest S19 160        
Coastal Shrub/Grass Forest S171 1 + + + +
Cool Temperate Rainforest E8 4        
Cooma Dry Grass Forest S180 650        
Eastern Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Forest S81 8,380        
Eastern Tableland and Escarpment Shrub/Fern Dry Forest S59 1,400        
Eastern Tableland Dry Shrub/Grass Forest S73 21,460 + + + +
Eastern Tableland Fern/Herb/Grass Moist Forest S55 11,050     + +
Eastern Tablelands Acacia/Herb/Grass Forest S89 19,720     + +
Eastern Tablelands Dry Heath S134 180        
Eastern Tablelands Dry Shrub Forest S112 40   + + +
Eastern Tablelands Shrub/Grass Moist Forest S66 2,800 + + + +
Estuarine Wetland Scrub E63 10 + + + +
High Mountain Wet Layered Forest E9 1        
Hinterland Warm Temperate Rainforest E7 40        
Hinterland Wet Fern Forest E13 3        
Hinterland Wet Shrub Forest E14 2        
Kydra Flats Grass Forest EW4 1,770        
Monaro Basalt Grass Woodland E23B 1,180 + + + +
Monaro Dry Grass Forest E22A 3,330     + +
Monaro Dry Grassland S158 3 + + + +
Montane / Sub-Alpine Dry Rocky Shrubland S36 120        
Montane Acacia/Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Forest S97 6,740        
Montane Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Forest S99 3,040        
Montane Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S79 600        
Montane Heath E53 2,040        
Montane Riparian Moist Shrub/Sedge/Grass Forest S85 130        
Montane Wet Heath/Bog S123 150        
Montane Wet Heath/Bog S123126 1,400        
Montane Wet Sedgeland S126 190        
Mountain Dry Shrub Forest E45 180        
Mountain Intermediate Shrub Forest E41 0.1        
Mountain Wet Herb Forest E15 320        
Mountain Wet Layered Forest E10 2,030        
North East Tablelands Shrub/Herb/Grass Dry Forest S68 30   + + +
Numeralla Dry Shrub Woodland E22B 8,070   + + +
Riparian Acacia Shrub/Grass/Herb Forest S53 460     + +
Scabby Range Dry Shrub Woodland S37 270        
South Coast and Byadbo Acacia Scrubs S35 20        
South East Tablelands Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S115 50,060   + + +
South Eastern Tablelands Dry Shrub/Grass/Herb Forest S74 22,810 + + + +
Southern Coastal Foothills Dry Shrub Forest S1 230        
Southern Coastal Hind Dune/Headland Scrub and Southern Coastal Dune Scrub Complex S2223 2        
Southern Coastal Hinterland Dry Gully Rainforest S170 10     + +
Southern Coastal Hinterland Moist Shrub/Vine/Grass Forest S18 210        
Southern East Tableland Edge Shrub/Grass Dry Forest S64 1,050     + +
Southern Escarpment (Wadbilliga) Moist Heath S135 150        
Southern Escarpment Cool/Warm Temperate Rainforest S165 70        
Southern Escarpment Edge Moist Heath Forest S65 2        
Southern Escarpment Edge Moist Shrub Forest S61 180        
Southern Escarpment Edge Moist Shrub/Fern Forest S62 700        
Southern Escarpment Herb/Grass Dry Forest S50 170        
Southern Escarpment Shrub/Fern/Herb Moist Forest S57 10        
Southern Numeralla Dry Shrub Forest S72 550   + + +
Sub-Alpine Bog E59 560 + + + +
Subalpine Dry Shrub Forest E24 13,770 + + + +
Sub-alpine Dry Shrub/Herb Woodland S128 6,980        
Sub-alpine Dry Shrub/Herb/Grass Woodland S127 110        
Sub-alpine Herbfield S131 7,070        
Tableland Acacia Moist Herb Forest S95 16,590        
Tableland and Escarpment Moist Herb/Fern Grass Forest S56 10,080     + +
Tableland and Escarpment Wet Layered Shrub Forest S58 10        
Tableland Dry Herb/Grass Woodland S146 860 + + + +
Tableland Dry Shrub Forest E26 80        
Tableland Herb/Grassland S152 1 + + + +
Tableland Tussock Grass/Herb Forest S96 320 + + + +
Tableland Tussock Grassland /Sedgeland/ Woodland S148 340 + + + +
Tablelands Dry Shrub/Grass Forest S110 5,290     + +
Tablelands Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S114 1,450   + + +
Tablelands Moist Sedge/Herb/Grassland S147 120 + + + +
Tablelands Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S75 3,470        
Wadbilliga Dry Shrub Forest EW1 930        
Wadbilliga Gorge Dry Forest EW5 20        
Wadbilliga Heath Forest EW3 580        
Wadbilliga Range Shrub Forest EW2 400        
Western Montane Acacia Fern/Herb Forest S82 80        
Western Montane Moist Shrub Forest S98 20,350        
Widespread Tablelands Dry Shrub/Tussock Grass Forest S109 2,660   + + +

CRA prefix E = forest ecosystems classified under the Eden CRA; CRA prefix S = forest ecosystems classified under the Southern CRA; # Extent in Shire at the date of the CRA mapping; * For definitions of Vulnerable and Poorly Reserved, see About the data;

Source: NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change

Top of page...

Endangered ecological communities

Cooma-Monaro Shire may contain five ecological communities listed as endangered or critically endangered within NSW or nationally (Note: threatened ecological community lists are generated based on Bioregions). Two are listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, three are listed under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Three communities had their final determinations made during the current reporting period (DECC 2008b; DEHWA 2008c).

Table 2. Endangered ecological communities within Cooma-Monaro Shire June 2008
Name of ecological community Status Date of determination* Recovery Plan
Montane peatlands and swamps of the New England Tableland, NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin, South East Corner, South Eastern Highlands and Australian Alps bioregions Endangered in NSW* Final: 17 December 2004 No
Natural temperate grasslands of the Southern Tablelands of NSW and the ACT Endangered nationally# Prior to 16 July 2000 In Preparation
White Box Yellow Box Blakely's Red Gum woodland Endangered in NSW* Final: 15 March 2002 No
White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland Critically Endangered nationally# Final: 17 May 2006 In Preparation
Upland Wetlands of the New England Tablelands and the Monaro Plateau Endangered nationally# Final: 17 Nov 2005 No

* Determinations (preliminary and final) under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 made by the NSW Scientific Committee

Source: DECC 2004a–c, 2008a–h

Other significant communities or habitats

Four nationally significant wetlands listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DEWHA 2008a) either occur within or intersect the Shire. They are:

  • Big Badja Swamp—partially reserved; surrounding land is Nature Reserve, National Park, State Forest, bushland and grazing
  • Coopers Swamp—reserved; surrounding land is National Park, bushland and grazing
  • Yaouk Swamp—partially reserved; surrounding land is Nature Reserve, bushland and grazing
  • Monaro Lakes (some of the lakes which occur within the Shire include Maffra, Coopers, Thurbergal, Muddah, and Bullanamang lakes)—not reserved (mostly freehold land, some lakes on travelling stock reserves); surrounding land tenure is freehold or State Forest.

No Ramsar sites (i.e. internationally important wetlands) have been declared within the Shire.

Top of page...

Vegetation extent and condition

Pressures on vegetation extent

Loss of native vegetation continues to be one of the greatest threats to Australia’s biodiversity. The clearing of native vegetation is a threatening process operating on both ecosystems and species (DEHWA 2006). Even if all clearing were to cease now, the decline in vegetation condition is likely to continue for many years, because of the lag effects of vegetation fragmentation and growing pressure from climate change (DECC 2006). The main responses are the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (and supporting Regulations) and improved compliance monitoring. The new legislative regime is expected to provide a means to address this issue.

Clearing was the main pressure on the extent of native vegetation in Cooma-Monaro Shire during the previous reporting period. Increased fragmentation and clearing have both have been identified as particular threats to the 12 endangered ecological communities with occurrences in the Shire. No information is available on the extent of native vegetation clearing in Cooma-Monaro Shire during the current reporting period. It appears that the trend in the overall rate of clearing is difficult to accurately assess (see About the data).

During 2000–04, seven forest communities were impacted by harvesting, three of which were rated vulnerable and poorly reserved respectively in July 2000. No information was available on mapped vegetation change relating to extent of native vegetation in the Shire in the current and previous reporting periods.

A total of 71.7 hectares of vegetation was approved for clearing within the Murrumbidgee and Southern Rivers Catchment region, which encompasses Cooma-Monaro Shire, under the NSW Native Vegetation Act 2003 during the reporting period. No information was available on clearing applications approved, including clearing areas, within the council area during the reporting period.

Pressures on vegetation condition

Wildfire is likely to have been a major broadscale pressure impacting the condition of native vegetation in parts of Cooma-Monaro Shire during the current reporting period. About 10,767 hectares of land were affected by control burns in the period 2004–08. Four separate wildlfires occurred within the Shire during the current reporting period, however no information is available on areas burnt by these wildfires. Two fires were designated Class 3 fires, which are major fires that have the potential to reach a size that can’t be controlled by available resources, requiring a multi-agency response. These fires usually have significant impacts on vegetation condition.

No information is available on the number of forest communities affected by very low severity fires (generally fuel reduction burns) or by fires of unknown severity (generally wildfires). About 21,500 hectares of land (4% of the Shire) was affected by fire (predominantly wildfire) in the period 2000–04. Known fire severity levels ranged from very low to very high, with 6–35 forest vegetation communities affected at each severity level.

Other factors such as drought and weed invasion (including the spread of St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) and the noxious pasture grasses Serrated Tussock (Nassella trichotoma) and African Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) represent other pressures impacting the condition of native vegetation in parts of Cooma-Monaro Shire during the current reporting period.

General threats to the condition of the three endangered ecological communities with occurrences in the Shire include (DECC 2008a; DEWHA 2008b):

  • land degradation and fragmentation of remnants
  • grazing and trampling by stock
  • weed invasion
  • erosion and sedimentation
  • soil disturbance caused by feral animals
  • harvesting of firewood and collection of on-ground woody debris
  • high frequency or high intensity fires
  • climate change.

Peat mining, and changes to water tables and surface flows caused by drainage works or altered flows in catchments, are also considered threats to the endangered montane peatlands and swamps (DECC 2008a).

Top of page...

Conservation and management

Law and policy

Some national and state laws require recovery plans or action plans to be prepared for endangered ecological communities, and for the presence of such communities to be taken into account during decision-making on developments applications. These laws also aim to minimise the effects of threatening processes on endangered ecological communities or prevent communities from becoming endangered. Laws such as the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (enacted during the previous reporting period and replaced the Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997), also aim to minimise the effects of threatening processes and to protect, conserve and improve the condition of existing native vegetation, particularly at a local and regional level.

Cooma-Monaro Shire is located within the Murrumbidgee and Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) areas established under the NSW Catchment Management Authorities Act 2003. Each CMA is required to work in partnership with Local Government as well as other stakeholders, and must develop and administer a regional vegetation management plan. These plans and the catchment blueprints prepared by the catchment management boards which preceded the CMAs, also support the conservation of native ecosystems. The Murrumbidgee Catchment Blueprint (Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Board 2003) and South East Catchment Blueprint (South East Catchment Management Board 2002), both completed during the previous reporting period, include a range of management actions to restore, maintain or conserve biodiversity values in each catchment area.

The document A Planning Framework for Natural Ecosystems of the ACT and NSW Southern Tablelands (Fallding 2002), launched in March 2003, covers the northern part of Cooma-Monaro Shire. The framework enables planning for conservation and sustainable urban and rural development in the region, and is designed for use by various land managers and planners. Among other things, it identifies areas of varying conservation value, describes broad vegetation types, links data on vegetation types with threatened species habitat, provides threatened species mapping and outlines issues that need to be addressed.

Local government legislation, regulations and planning documents such as local environment plans (LEPs) may also provide some protection for ecological communities, or limit or prohibit certain activities that may lead to the further decline of endangered ecological communities.

Top of page...

Conservation reserves

Twenty-six national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas either fall within or intersect Cooma-Monaro Shire, covering approximately 89,400 hectares or 17% of the area. Additions of 1 hectare were made to one reserve also within this period.

No information was available on forest communities considered poorly represented within the regional reserve system in 2004 meeting regional reservation targets during the current reporting period. No information was available on forest communities still classed as vulnerable changing their status due to new reserves or additions to the regional reserve system within the current reporting period.

Nineteen new conservation reserves totalling approximately 27,300 hectares were gazetted in the Shire during the previous reporting period, compared with no new reserve in the current period. Additions totalling about 7,760 hectares were made to four reserves in the previous period compared with additions of about 1 hectare to one reserve in the current period. Many of these additions to the reserve network during the previous period were outcomes of the Southern and Eden regional forest agreements.

Table 3. New or additions to conservation reserves within Cooma-Monaro Shire and the number of significant forest vegetation types included in them, June 2004 to July 2008
Conservation Reserve Gazettal Type#. Area(ha) No of significant communities+
Vulnerable Poorly Reserved
South East Forest National Park Additions 1 1 1

Source: Department of Environment and Climate Change

Of the 26 conservation reserves in the Shire, at least two had formal plans of management one of which was adopted during the current reporting period

Table 4. Conservation reserves in Cooma-Monaro Shire with formal plan of management, June 2008
Reserve Date plan adopted
Kosciuszko National Park 14 June 2006
Tinderry Nature Reserve October 1998

Source: Department of Environment and Climate Change

Tinderry Nature Reserve and Wadbillaga also had a Fire Management Plan adopted in the previous reporting period, while Yanununbeyan State Conservation Area, Yaouk Nature Reserve, Tallaganda Natrure Park and Mount Dowling Nature Reserve all had a Fire Management Plan adopted during the current reporting period.

Top of page...

Other conservation management

The Monaro Grasslands Conservation Management Network, established in 2002–03, extends over part of the Bombala Council Area. The network aims to promote grassland conservation in the Monaro region (including endangered natural temperate grasslands) across a range of land tenures, such as private, state and local government managed lands. The network has been funded through the NSW Environmental Trust and the Snowy Monaro Biodiversity Conservation Strategy of the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority. Funds for specific projects were obtained from a range of other sources. No information was available on network activities in or relevant to the council area during the reporting period.

A project to map the Monaro region's native grasslands was undertaken during 2003 as a collaborative effort between the then South East Catchment Management Board and the NSW NPWS. The mapping was also to show areas occupied by open grassy woodland, introduced pastures, crops and weeds (Anon 2003).

Four privately owned properties in the Shire had Voluntary Conservation Agreements (VCAs) in place, while another four are designated wildlife refuges during the previous reporting period, The VCAs cover 2,417 hectares and the wildlife refuges 2,561 hectares. No information was available on the vegetation communities occurring in these VCAs and wildlife refuges, or whether plans of management or schemes of operation had been developed or implemented for them. No information was available on these conservation initiatives during the current reporting period.

Nine Landcare groups operated within Cooma-Monaro Shire. Information on the range of activities there and in the Murrumbidgee and Southern Rivers catchments can be found on the Landcare NSW website.

Community groups, Shire Council and/or other organisations may have undertaken various projects during the reporting period that enhanced the protection of ecological communities in the Shire. No information was available on these projects.

No information was available on revegetation projects, native vegetation preserved or fencing of remnant vegetation during the current reporting period.

Top of page...

About the data

Forest vegetation communities referred to in this report were derived from the Eden and Southern Comprehensive Regional Assessment (CRA) forest ecosystem mapping. This mapping was undertaken in 1998 and 1999 respectively. All calculations are based on the extant and pre-1750 forest ecosystem layers. The extant forest ecosystem layers reflect the extent of these vegetation communities at the time of mapping.

Under the CRA mapping, a Vulnerable vegetation community was defined as one whose areal extent at the time of mapping was approaching 70% loss of its pre-European extent. A vegetation community was defined as Poorly Reserved when less than 15% of its pre-European extent was located in formal conservation reserves across the CRA region. Further information on the 70% clearing threshold and the 15% reservation threshold is provided in JANIS (1997).

The CRA mapping was used for this report because it provided the most current data which covered the entire extent of the majority of local government areas in the Australian Capital Region. However the mapping data have the following limitations:

  • some mapped CRA ecosystem types may be inconsistent with vegetation on the ground because the CRA vegetation types were modelled and limited ground truthing was undertaken in some areas
  • the vegetation classifications were focused primarily on forest vegetation types and may poorly reflect non-forest communities
  • the vegetation classifications used to describe forest ecosystems were not a widely used system
  • the vegetation classification systems used in the Eden and Southern CRAs differ and there may be some duplication of forest types at the borders of these two study areas.

No data were available regarding extant vegetation at 30 June 2008, and hence it was not possible to determine changes in the extent of forest communities within the council area during the current reporting period. Overall vegetation condition assessment across the landscape is very difficult to achieve because remote sensing below the canopy level is still not possible (given current technology and cost requirement in achieving statistically significant results from survey) and the complexities of obtaining permission to enter private land for survey staff.

Mapping of the amount of vegetation cleared was not available at a scale suitable for application within LGA’s boundaries, and reflects significant limitations in accurately assessing this indicator. Broadscale analyses under-estimate the overall rate of clearing because current techniques only operate under large map scales. Effectively this means that it only records removal of woody vegetation that is at least two metres tall with a canopy cover of 15% or more, excluding changes in sparse open woodlands and grasslands, which are extensive and among the most affected vegetation types in NSW.

Fine-scale remote-sensing studies allow a more accurate appraisal of clearing rates in woodlands, open woodlands and shrublands, however coverage is limited to particular regions of NSW. Authors using these methods in the NSW State of the Environment Report 2006 indicate that clearing rates are substantially greater (8–10 times higher) than the estimates obtained from the coarse-scale analyses referred to above. However, being regional, they provide an incomplete view of statewide clearing. The availability of accurate vegetation clearing data is of critical importance for future reporting purposes, due to the threat that this pressure represents to biodiversity.

Data on vegetation approved for clearing within Catchment Management Association regions under the NSW Native Vegetation Act 2003 was accessed through the DECC website under the Public register of approved clearing PVPs and development applications. Geographic analysis would reveal locations within LGA boundaries, however this was unavailable during the reporting period. The data collection system was changed in 2006 with the introduction of the new Regulations. These estimates exclude the area of vegetation cleared illegally and clearing carried out legally under statutory exemptions (in 2005, 40% of all clearing was estimated to be illegal in NSW (Audit Office 2006)).

Threats to each endangered ecological community was provided by DECC, under the NSW Scientific Committee - final determination page, and/or the Threatened Species, Populations and Ecological Communities endangered ecological communities profile page. The information contained in this database is available on the internet link under DECC 2008a in the references. New parks and additions to existing reserves was provided by DECC upon request, as the website only listed all the parks and reserves created over the last 12 months. Information on park and fire management plans, as well as recovery plans for endangered ecological communities was provided by DECC.

Top of page...

References

Anon (2003) Southern Tablelands Grassy Ecosystems Conservation Management Network, The Austral Bugle Volume 1, Issue 2, Autumn 2003.

Audit Office 2006, Auditor-General's Report: Performance Audit, Department of Natural Resources – Regulating the Clearing of Native Vegetation, follow-up of 2002 performance audit, Audit Office of NSW, Sydney

Carter, O, Murphy, AM and Cheal, D (2003) Natural Temperate Grassland, Flora Ecology Research Section, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Natural Resources and Environment (Victoria), on-line at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/grasslands/pubs/grassland.pdf.

DECC—see Department of Environment and Climate Climate Change (NSW)

DEHWA—see Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth)

Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW) (2008a) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, (search on threatened ecological community - endangered ecological community listing), viewed 20 October 2008, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/natureconservation.htm

Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW) (2008b) Threatened Species, Populations and Ecological Communities, Final determinations by date, viewed 22 October 2008, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/committee/FinalDeterminations.htm

Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW) (2006), NSW State of the Environment Report 2006, Biodiversity http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/soe/soe2006/chapter6/chp_6.1.htm#6.1.60

Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth) (2006), Australia State of the Environment 2006, Pressures on biodiversity http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2006/publications/report/biodiversity-2.html

Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth) (2008a) Australian Wetlands Database, Department of Environment and Heritage, viewed 22 October 2008, http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/wetlands/search.pl?smode=BOTH

Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth) (2008b), Biodiversity, search on threatened ecological community, viewed October 2008, http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/index.html

Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth) (2008c), EPBC Act List of Threatened Ecological Communities, Final determinations by date, viewed October 2008, http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/index.html

Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) (2004) 2003/04 Combined NSW Catchment Management Authorities Annual Report, Volume 1: CMA Activities and Achievements, Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, Sydney.

Dovey, L (1984) The Snowy River Shire Conservation Study; vol. 1: summary and recommendations; vol. 2: environmental description and evaluation; vol. 3: appendices, NPWS, South-eastern Region.

DIPNR—see Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW)

Eddy, D (2005) Coordinator, Monaro Grassland Conservation Management Network, personal communication.

Fallding, M (2002) A planning framework for natural ecosystems of the ACT and NSW Southern Tablelands, Natural Heritage Trust, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Land and Environment Planning, on-line at http://incp.environment.act.gov.au/planningframework/index.aspx.

JANIS—see Joint ANZECC/MCFFA National Forest Policy Statement Implementation Sub-committee

Joint ANZECC/MCFFA National Forest Policy Statement Implementation Sub-committee (1997) Nationally Agreed Criteria for the Establishment of a Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative Reserve System for Forests in Australia, Joint ANZECC/MCFFA National Forest Policy Statement Implementation Sub-committee, Commonwealth of Australia.

Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Board (2003) Murrumbidgee Catchment Blueprint, NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation, Sydney, viewed 5 August 2005 http://www.dlwc.nsw.gov.au/care/cmb/blueprints/pdf/murrumbidgee_blueprint.pdf.

Rehwinkel, R (2005) Threatened Species Officer, Department of Environment and Conservation, Queanbeyan, personal communication.

Sattler, P and Creighton, C (Eds) (2002) Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment 2002, National Land and Water Resources Audit on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, Chapter 4: Threatened Ecosystems and Species, viewed 4 August 2005, http://audit.deh.gov.au/ANRA/vegetation/docs/biodiversity/bio_assess_threat.cfm.

South East Catchment Management Board (2002) South East Catchment Blueprint – An Integrated Catchment Management Plan for the South East Catchment 2002, NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation, Sydney, viewed 5 August 2005 http://www.dlwc.nsw.gov.au/care/cmb/blueprints/pdf/south_east_blueprint.pdf.

Tozer, M.G., Turner, K., Simpson, C., Keith, D.A., Beukers, P., MacKenzie, B., Tindall, D. and Pennay, C. (2006) Native vegetation of southeast NSW: a revised classification and map for the coast and eastern tablelands. Version 1.0. Department of Environment and Conservation and Department of Natural Resources

 

Top of page...