ACT State of the Environment 2007

Indicator: Ecological communities

Summary

Thirty vegetation communities are recognised and described as occurring in the ACT. Of these 19 have more than 30% of their remaining extent well conserved; eight have less than 30% of their pre-1750 distribution remaining and another three have more than 30% remaining but are under significant threat. Progress is being made to implement the priority actions contained in the three comprehensive Action Plans covering lowland woodlands, native grasslands and aquatic and riparian habitats that were released from 2004 to 2007.

In 2007 the ACT was the only Australian jurisdiction to receive a World Wildlife Fund for Nature triple-A rating for its nature conservation estate in terms of its rated comprehensiveness, extent and standard of management.

Restoration of vegetation damaged in the 2003 bushfire has been a feature of the reporting period. Recovery of native vegetation in the lower Cotter catchment is progressing well through natural regeneration processes and targeted planting programs, some in partnership with community groups such as Greening Australia. Research designed to aid recovery of endangered box-gum woodlands has commenced through a partnership between the ACT Government and the Australian National University.

What the results tell us about the ACT

Native vegetation classification revised

The classification of the native vegetation communities occurring in the ACT, as reported in the State of the Environment Report 2003, was refined during the reporting period to incorporate the results of additional field surveys by ACT Government ecologists and further assessment in consultation with other experts (see Table 1). In 2006, as part of the ACT's Natural Resource Management Plan (2004–2014), ecologists undertook an assessment of the extent to which each vegetation community is protected (Sharp et al. 2007).

Thirty vegetation communities are now recognised and described as occurring in the ACT, all of which are also found in surrounding parts of New South Wales. This is an increase of two compared to the list reported in State of the Environment Report 2003. This number can be expected to change again in future as new surveys are undertaken and as ACT and New South Wales ecologists develop their understanding of vegetation patterns.

Ecologists have assessed the conservation status of each vegetation community as to its current extent (more or less than 30% of its distribution in 17501) and whether the remaining areas are under threat or are adequately protected. Most of the communities (19 out of 30) are well conserved because more than 30% of the 1750 distribution in the ACT remains and they are located in the alpine and subalpine areas of Namadgi National Park. As reported in State of the Environment Report 2003, 100% of the Australian Alps bioregion that occurs in the ACT is protected in Namadgi National Park.

Three grassland communities have been assessed as having less than 30% of their 1750 distribution remaining. These are:

  • Kangaroo Grass – Wallaby Grass – Spear Grass Tableland Dry Tussock Grassland
  • Kangaroo Grass Tableland Moist Grassland
  • River Tussock Tableland Wet Tussock Grassland. 

These communities collectively comprise Natural Temperate Grassland that is declared an endangered ecological community under the Nature Conservation Act 1980 (ACT) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth). Conservation of grassland communities is addressed in Action Plan 28 (see Tables 2 and 3) (ACT Government 2005) and it is estimated that in the ACT about 59% of their remaining areas are included in existing and proposed Nature Reserves (e.g. Mulanggari, Gungaderra, Crace, Dunlop and Jerrabomberra West Nature Reserve). An additional 20% is located in urban parks (e.g. North Mitchell) or on land subject to a memorandum of understanding with the ACT Government regarding its management (e.g. Defence land at Belconnen and the Majura Training Area); however, this does not give the same level of certainty as to its protection and management of its grassland values.

Five communities have been assessed as likely to have less than 30% of their former distribution remaining. Good data to confirm or disregard this assumption are not yet available. These communities are:

  • Snow Gum–Candlebark Tableland Woodland
  • River She-oak Tableland Riparian Woodland
  • Ribbon Gum Tableland Riparian Woodland
  • Black Cypress Pine Tableland Woodland
  • Tableland Wetlands.

Each community is protected, to some extent, in the ACT's nature conservation estate (see Table 1). Conservation strategies for their protection are outlined in Action Plan 29 (see Tables 2 and 3) (ACT Government 2007). Examples of the riparian communities are protected along the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo river corridors and in Nature Reserves. Threats to these communities include inappropriate fire regimes, weed invasion, erosion and lack of regeneration.

Snow Gum–Candlebark Tableland Woodland is found along the interface between Yellow Box–Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Tussock Grasslands and only small examples remain in the ACT. One can be found in the Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve, but others are under threat and warrant urgent review to determine those that justify protection. Threats to continued survival of these vegetation communities in the ACT include weed invasion, fragmentation, inappropriate management, and loss of habitat and species diversity. An assessment as to whether this vegetation community meets the criteria for listing as an endangered ecological community is warranted.

Tableland Wetlands are a complex of vegetation associations that occur in both still and moving water that may be permanent or ephemeral. These are poorly surveyed in the ACT. Improving this situation is a priority in Action Plan 29 (see Tables 2 and 3) (ACT Government 2007).

Three communities have been assessed as being under significant threat notwithstanding their current extent being more than 30% of the 1750 distribution. These are:

  • Yellow Box–Red Gum Tableland Grassy Woodland
  • Montane and Subalpine Bogs
  • Drooping She-oak Tableland Woodland.

Yellow Box–Red Gum Woodland has been a significant conservation priority in the ACT since it was declared an endangered ecological community in 1997 and is the primary focus of Action Plan 27 (see Tables 2 and 3) (ACT Government, 2004). Continued concern about conservation of this woodland type is appropriate due to the historically greater extent of clearing in New South Wales compared to the ACT and the location of some ACT examples within identified future development areas. Significant examples are protected in the ACT's Nature Reserve system (e.g. Mulligans Flat, Goorooyarroo, Mount Ainslie, Mount Majura, Mugga Mugga, and Callum Brae).   Surrounding parts of the Molonglo valley are subject to planning for new residential development in the Molonglo valley. The woodlands at Kinlyside are also subject to further planning, although it should be noted at the time of writing, the new Territory Plan (2008) identifies most of the area with the endangered community for urban development. Woodlands at Kama and surrounding parts of the Molonglo valley are subject to planning for new residential development in the Molonglo valley.

The ACT's Montane and Subalpine Bogs are located along the Brindabella Range in Namadgi National Park. Although protected and managed for conservation, they were severely damaged in the 2003 bushfire. Restoration measures started after the fire will take many years before these wetland communities can be considered to have recovered. Fire will continue to be a major threat to the survival of these complex assemblages of higher altitude plants.

Examples of Drooping She-oak Tableland Woodland–Open Forest can be found in the Mount Majura, Mount Taylor and Tuggeranong Hill nature reserves and on the north-northwest slopes of Mount Stromlo. Conservation strategies for its protection are outlined in Action Plan 29 (see Tables 2 and 3) (ACT Government 2007). Threats to this community include inappropriate fire regimes, weed invasion, erosion and lack of regeneration.

Recovery of vegetation after the 2003 bushfire

The 2003 State of the Environment Report reported that the January 2003 bushfire burnt 70% of the ACT, including 90% of Namadgi National Park, virtually all of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, and rural areas to the west and south of Canberra that include areas of lowland woodland. Fire severity varied in forest areas but was particularly severe in high elevation wetlands where recovery will take many years. The damage to ecological communities also had significant implications for soil stability, stream water quality and riparian zone quality (see Lower Cotter Catchment).

In 2004 ACT Government ecologists established a program to monitor recovery of the forested vegetation following the 2003 bushfire. The program incorporated sites that had been surveyed in the late 1970s and 1980s and new sites in locations that target fire sensitive communities, such as Alpine Ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis) and Black Cypress Pine (Callitris endlicheri).

The surveys aimed to record the changes in composition and structure of the vegetation, and the response of plants to fire. Each year one-third of the sites is resurveyed, and in 2007 all sites had been visited for a second time. In 2007 the measurement of fuel hazard was also added to the survey at some sites.

The key findings so far include:

  • Recovery in the natural native areas of forested regions since the 2003 bushfire continues to be vigorous and strong; the large and small shrubs in particular have recovered well.
  • There remains a large proportion of the vegetation species (about 40%) that have not yet set seed or flowered. This indicates that any further disturbance, such as another fire, would reduce the number of these species in the 2003 fire affected areas.
  • The fire sensitive Black Cypress Pine woodlands on Mount Tennant are recovering slowly. Some seedlings are growing but after four years they are only 20–30 cm high. This community will need protection from fire for many years.
  • Recovery of the fire sensitive Alpine Ash community continues to be strong with abundant seedlings in some areas now up to 2 m high. This community will need protection from fire for many years. (PCR4)
  • Quantifying the ongoing impacts of the 2003 bushfire separately from the ongoing and continuing drought is difficult. In some areas groundcover is still sparse and the amount of skeletal soil and exposed rock remains high.

Continuing the monitoring program is important as it will provide vital information on biodiversity thresholds that can be used not only to follow recovery of the ACT's vegetation resources, but also to identify appropriate intervals between disturbances and the timing of prescribed fires.

Table 1: ACT vegetation communities, 2007
Vegetation community Characteristic species Where the community occurs in the ACT Estimated pre-1750 covera Percentage remaining (i) of original coverb and (ii) in reserve Conservation status and adequacy of protection (protected areas in italics)
Grasslands
Kangaroo Grass – Wallaby Grass – Spear Grass Tableland Dry Tussock Grassland
C1 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Themeda triandra Austrodanthonia spp.
Austrostipa spp.
Bothriochloa macra
Poa sieberiana
Landscape position: Valley floors subject to cold air drainage in the Southern Tablelands.
Elevation: 525–900 m (generally below 625 m).
Soil type: On fertile colluvial soils with a clay texture derived from basalt, limestone or other fine-grained sedimentary rocks or granite.
Rainfall: 500–750 mm.
Comment: Tableland Dry Tussock Grassland intergrades with Moist and Wet Tussock Grassland within the valley floors. Also intergrades on slopes at slightly higher elevations with grassy woodlands (tree projective foliage cover greater than 10%). In the ACT the Dry Themeda, Austrodanthonia and Austrostipa grasslands are floristic associations within this community.
14,000–20,000c ha (area includes mosaic of three grassland communities Tableland Dry Tussock Grassland, Tableland Moist Tussock Grassland and Tableland Wet Tussock Grassland) (i) 5%d
(ii) 36%d
Less than 30% of 1750 distribution remaining.
Crace, Gungaderra, Mulanggari and Dunlop and Jerrabomberra West Nature Reserves. Belconnen Navel Station, Majura Field Training Area, and Canberra International Airport.
Kangaroo Grass Tableland Moist Tussock Grassland
C2 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Themeda triandra
Poa labillardieri
Austrodanthonia spp.
Carex inversa
Juncus spp.
Asperula conferta
Bulbine bulbosa
Wurmbea dioica
Landscape position: Moist drainage areas on valley floors subject to cold air drainage.
Elevation: 525–900 m (generally below 625 m).
Soil type: The fertile soils periodically dam in winter, and have a clay texture derived from basalt, limestone or other fine-grained sedimentary rocks.
Rainfall: 500–750 mm.
Comment: Tableland Moist Tussock Grassland is tall, dense, closed tussock grassland. It is often degraded, with a low native species diversity and high weed content. In the ACT the Wet Themeda grassland is a floristic association within this community.
14,000–20,000c ha (area includes mosaic of three grassland communities Tableland Dry Tussock Grassland, Tableland Moist Tussock Grassland and Tableland Wet Tussock Grassland) (i) 5%d
(ii) 65%d
Less than 30% of 1750 distribution remaining
Crace, Gungaderra, Mulanggari and Dunlop Nature Reserves (45.7 ha), with smaller amounts at Belconnen Naval Station (14.8 ha) and Canberra City–Tuggeranong (0.9 ha).
River Tussock Tableland Wet Tussock Grassland
C3 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Poa labillardieri
Themeda triandra
Carex appressa
Carex inversa
Juncus spp.
Haloragis heterophylla
Hydrocotyle laxiflora
Landscape position: Found in poorly drained areas and along seepage lines, drainage lines and creeks as small fringing zones subject to cold air drainage.
Elevation: 525–900 m (generally below 625 m).
Rainfall: 500–750 mm.
Comment: Tablelands Wet Tussock Grassland is tall, dense, closed tussock grassland that is often degraded. It occurs in the ACT as small, often degraded remnants that are part of larger grassland sites. In the ACT the Poa labillardieri grassland is a floristic association within this community.
14,000–20,000c ha (area includes mosaic of three grassland communities Tableland Dry Tussock Grassland, Tableland Moist Tussock Grassland and Tableland Wet Tussock Grassland) (i) <1%d
(ii) One patch <10 had
Less than 30% of 1750 distribution remaining
Gungaderra Nature Reserve (an area of 6 hectares of degraded native pasture dominated by Poa), and a very small remnant (<0.2 ha) at Yarramundi Reach.
Snow Grass Montane Dry Tussock Grassland
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Poa sieberiana
Asperula conferta
Epilobium billardieranum ssp. hirtigerum.
Themeda triandra
Landscape position: Occurs along the river valley floors subject to cold air drainage in the montane valleys.
Elevation: 900–1300 m.
Not known (i) >30%
(ii) High
Namadgi National Park
Fen Sedge Montane Wet Tussock Grassland
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Carex gaudichaudiana
Poa sieberiana
Poa labillardieri
Rytidosperma nudiflora
Empodisma minus
Themeda triandra
Landscape position: In the wetter parts of montane valleys, along creek lines where there is a high water table, and on moderately drained soils by fens and creeks.
Elevation: 900–1300 m.
Comment: Two associations have been identified in the Montane Wet Tussock Grassland, namely:
a) Poa labillardieriCarex gaudichaudiana association occurs on flats of valley floors where extreme local cold creates treeless conditions and soils are usually moist, and
b) Poa sieberianaCarex gaudichaudiana association occurs in moist areas with occasional wet hollows close to fens (1290–1450 m).
Not known (i) >30%
(ii) High
Namadgi National Park
Bog Snow Grass Subalpine Tussock Grassland
C5 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Poa costiniana
Rytidosperma nudiflora
Agrostis meionectes
Carex appressa
Juncus australis
Poa labillardieri
Poa sieberiana
Themeda triandra
Landscape position: At higher elevations on level or gently undulating terrain and commonly in valleys subject to cold air drainage in upland areas of the mountainous western portion of the ACT. Also occurs in exposed subalpine and alpine areas, usually on lower slopes and drier valley floors and in headwater situations associated with bogs.
Elevation: 1300–1911 m.
Soil type: Alpine humus soils.
Not known (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Herbfield
Fine-leaf Snow Grass – Snow Daisy Subalpine Herbfield
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Poa clivicola
Poa costiniana
Celmisia longifolia
Brachyscome spp.
Arthropodium milleflorum
Austrodanthonia monticola
Landscape position: Occurs in the mountains and high valleys of the ACT on gentle slopes and flats where soils are not waterlogged or too rocky.
Elevation: 1300–1911 m.
Soil type: Alpine humus soils.
Comment: The Subalpine and Alpine Herbfield forms meadows of flowers in the spring and early autumn. In general the vegetation cover is no more than 0.3 m tall, and consists of abundant tussock grasses and herbs.
Not known (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Wetland complex
Tableland Wetlands
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Phragmites australis
Carex appressa
Juncus australis
Typha spp.
Schoenoplectus validus
Isolepis fluitans
Eleocharis acuta
Cyperus spp.
Landscape position: In still water including ephemeral or permanent pools, ponds or dams, and in flowing water in a range of landscape positions.
Elevation: 500–900 m.
Comment: This is not a single community, but a complex of species assemblages that may either be stable or vary with seasonal conditions. These assemblages include fringing, floating and submerged vegetation. Duration of inundation, depth of water, nature of the bottom or bank substrate, temperature and chemical composition influence the range of species present in an area.
Not known (i) Not known
(ii) Likely to be high
Vegetation community under significant threat
This community occurs where there is permanent water associated with the rivers and larger streams of the ACT and ephemeral pools or dams.
Montane and Subalpine Wetlands
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Vallisneria gigantean
Myriophyllum spp.
Landscape position: In still water including ephemeral or permanent pools, ponds or dams, and in flowing water in a range of landscape positions.
Elevation: 900–1950 m.
Comment: This is a complex of species assemblages that may be stable or may vary with seasonal conditions. The species assemblages occur within waters of, or on ground that is marginal to, streams or contained water bodies subject to changes of level from seasonally flooded to completely dried out. The extent and condition of this community is not known.
Not known (i) >90%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Fen
Fen Sedge Montane and Subalpine Fen
C10 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Carex gaudichaudiana
Juncus breviculmis
Ranunculus rivularis
Asperula gunni
Restio australis
Neopaxia australasica
Landscape position: Fens in the ACT are local occurrences on almost level, broad valley flats of permanently wet soils with impeded drainage. They occur on the wettest sites where water remains for extended periods, with some open water.
Elevation: 900–1911 m.
Soil type: Peaty soils that are moderately acidic or neutral in pH.
Comment: Ground water is moving, but not in channels. Water floods out infrequently. Mineral matter is often present, giving higher nutrition. Fens may colonise pond areas within bogs.
150 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Bog
Sphagnum Montane and Subalpine Bog
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Sphagnum cristatum
Empodisma minor
Epacris paludosa
Richea continentis
Restio australis
Landscape position: Common in the high mountains of the ACT at the heads of streams and along valley floors.
Elevation: 1050–1911 m.
Soil type: More acidic soils than in fens.
Rainfall: Greater than 850 mm.
Temperature: mean annual temperatures are below 12°C.
Comment: Sphagnum bog is associated with more variable regimes of inundation than fens. Where Sphagnum grows prolifically it forms many layers of spongy substrate (capable of retaining large amounts of moisture), which decomposes slowly into peat.
Not known (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Vegetation community under significant threat
Namadgi National Park: Ginini Flats (Ramsar site), Snowy Flats, Rotten Swamp, Cotter Source Bog, Murray's Gap, Cotter Flats (Tom Gregory Bog).>
Heathland
Alpine Bottlebrush Montane and Subalpine Moist Heath
C15, 18 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Callistemon pityoides
Baeckea utilis
Hakea microcarpa
Leptospermum myrtifolium
Callistemon pityoides
Epacris paludosa
Landscape position: In narrow drainage lines and creeks. In areas of drier heath they occur on humic soils on flats with impeded drainage.
Elevation: Above 1500 m.
Soil type: Raised peaty soils.
Comment: May include small patches of Sphagnum cristatum.
2600 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Shrubland
Burgan Tableland Shrubland
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Kunzea ericoides
Callistemon sieberi
Bursaria lasiophylla
Pomaderris angustifolia
Cryptandra propinqua
Dodonaea viscosa
Acacia rubida
Acacia dealbata
Leptospermum obovatum
Acacia mearnsii
Bursaria spinosa
Landscape position: Occurs in a range of positions in the landscape. Often along riparian banks and rocky outcrops or as disclimax communities.
Elevation: 525–900 m.
Comment: Kunzea ericoides Shrubland is commonly found in two situations along river banks and gravel beds adjoining rapidly flowing water where it may be regarded as a flood disclimax community and as an early coloniser and stabiliser of river banks, and on previously cleared ground on higher slopes where it may form a monoculture.
Other Tableland Shrubland communities are not well surveyed or described.
Not known but likely to be greater than pre-1750 due to tree clearance and disturbance (i) >30%
(ii) Not known
Namadgi National Park
Common Fringe Myrtle Montane Shrubland
C22 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Calytrix tetragona
Stypandra glauca
Drosera spp
Lomandra confertifolia ssp pallida
Persoonia pinifolia
Kunzea ericoides
Leptospermum micromyrtus
Landscape position: On granite benches in northern Namadgi, often in moist areas and on the lower slopes of the Tidbinbilla ranges on rocky outcrops.
Elevation: 900–1300 m.
Soil type: Skeletal soils.
Comment: These shrublands may be the result of previous land clearing or may occur as natural communities, as at Booroomba Rocks where there is a natural Kunzea community.
100 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Yellow Kunzea – Namadgi Tea Tree Subalpine Dry Shrubland
C19A, 19B in State of the Environment Report 2003
Kunzea muelleri
Leptospermum namadgiensis
Kunzea ericoides
Acacia alpina
Eucalyptus rubida
Eucalyptus debeuzevillei
Eucalyptus niphophila
Landscape position: Usually on rock benches.
Elevation: Above 1600 m.
Soil type: Exposed soils on granite.
350 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Woodlands
Yellow Box – Blakely's Red Gum Tableland Grassy Woodland
C24 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus melliodora Eucalyptus blakelyi
Eucalyptus bridgesiana
Eucalyptus mannifera
Eucalyptus rossii
Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
Landscape position: On the middle and lower slopes of hills and in gently undulating topography that is less susceptible to cold air drainage.
Elevation: 600–900 m.
Soil type: On deep colluvial soils on lower slopes and hilly to undulating terrain with loamy soils of moderate fertility.
Rainfall: 400–800 mm.
Comment: Changes in distribution of the dominants is influenced by soil and drainage conditions rather than slight changes in aspect.
This community occurs throughout the central Southern Tablelands.
32,000 hae (i) 38%f
(ii) 25%f
Vegetation community under significant threat
Mulligans Flat, Goorooyarroo, Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie (Campbell Park), Black Mountain–Belconnen Hills, Red Hill, Callum Brae and Mugga Mugga Nature Reserves. Proposed nature reserve at Kama (Molonglo Valley). Rural leases at, Hall–Kinlyside, Castle Hill (Tharwa) and Naas. Majura Military Training Area.
Snow Gum – Candle Bark Tableland Woodland
C27 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus rubida
Eucalyptus dives
Daviesia mimosoides
Acacia dealbata
Poa sieberiana
Landscape position: In frost hollow valleys fringing natural grasslands.
Elevation: 550–800 m.
Soil type: On moderately deep fertile soils derived from colluvium in central and southern parts of Southern Tablelands and on shallow sedimentary soils in broad valleys from south of Moss Vale to the Monaro.
Rainfall: 500–750 mm.
Comment: Fringing Eucalyptus pauciflora and more rarely Eucalyptus rubida Woodland between natural grassland and the Eucalyptus melliodoraEucalyptus blakelyi community.
1150 ha (i) <30%
(ii) Low
Less than 30% of 1750 distribution remaining.
Remnants occur in only a few locations, Aranda Snow Gums, Guises Creek, Fairbairn Avenue, in north and central Gungahlin and west Belconnen. The best-known example of this community is at Guises Creek.
Broad-leaved Peppermint–Apple Box Tableland Woodland
C25, 26, 40 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus dives
Eucalyptus bridgesiana
Eucalyptus nortonii
Bursaria spinosa
Elymus scaber
Themeda triandra
Landscape position: On warm dry lower slopes.
Elevation: 900–1200 m.
Soil type: Shallow sedimentary soils.
Comment: Single species stands of Eucalyptus bridgesiana are part of this community.
22,850 ha e (i) >30%f
(ii) 17%f
Namadgi National Park
Drooping She-oak Tableland Woodland
No equivalent in State of the Environment Report 2003
Allocasuarina verticillata
Eucalyptus rossii
Brachychiton populneum
Eucalyptus nortonii
Eucalyptus polyanthemos
Eucalyptus melliodora
Landscape position: On dry rocky hillsides at lower elevations and tends to occur on harsh sites such as gullies and on rocky scree slopes.
Soil type: Soils are shallow, show little differentiation of separate horizons except a narrow organic band at the surface, and have much rock throughout the profile.
Aspect: In the ACT the community tends to occur on north to northwest aspects, however on Mount Majura it also occurs on eastern and southern aspects.
Not known (i) Not known
(ii) Not known
Assumption that less than 30% remains (reliable data not available).
Mount Majura Nature Reserve (up to 40% of the steeper parts of this mountain) as closed woodland, and the north-northwest slopes of Mount Stromlo as dense 30–50 year old regeneration (before being burnt in 2003). Mount Taylor and Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserves, The community also occurs on Fitz's Hill and the north end of Rob Roy Range.
Black Cypress Pine Tableland Woodland
C54 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Callitris endlicheri
Eucalyptus nortonii
Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
Eucalyptus blakelyi
Allocasuarina verticillata
Landscape position: On dry rocky steep slopes near and adjacent to the rivers, riparian and creek areas and within the steeper gorges of the Gudgenby and Murrumbidgee rivers, on warm aspects tending westerly. Also occurs on dry north-northwest facing lower slopes of Mount Tennent. Not known (i) <30%
(ii) High
Assumption that less than 30% remains (reliable data not available)
Riparian: Upper and Lower Molonglo River, Upper slopes of Molonglo Gorge, the steeper gorge like sections of the Murrumbidgee and Gudgenby Rivers, and the upper riverine slopes Murrumbidgee River north of Casuarina Sands.
Non-riparian: Mount Tennent and slopes at northern end of Billy Range and on steep slopes around the Cotter reservoir.
River She-oak Tableland Riparian Woodland
C32 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Casuarina cunninghamiana
Acacia mearnsii
Acacia dealbata
Microlaena stipoides
Lomandra longifolia
Landscape position: On river and stream banks between normal water levels and maximum flood levels, in particular on sandy and shingle terraces.
Soil type: Alluvial soils on rivers.
Not known (i) <30%
(ii) High
Assumption that less than 30% remains (reliable data not available).
Along the Murrumbidgee River north of Point Hut Crossing, Paddy's River, the Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve, the lower Molonglo River Nature Reserve and along Uriarra and Swamp Creeks.
Ribbon Gum Tableland Riparian Woodland
C34 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus viminalis
Eucalyptus radiata
Acacia melanoxylon
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus dives
Eucalyptus rubida
Acacia dealbata
Landscape position: On river flats and lower broad creek lines and as thin ribbons along forested creek lines.
Soil type: Alluvial soils and sand.
Comment: Distribution of the community in the ACT was likely to have been greater before European settlement, but cannot be accurately assessed because of the extent of clearing in its habitat. Occurs at several locations on the Murrumbidgee River between Kambah Pool and Angle Crossing, and at Condor Creek.
Not known (i) <30%
(ii) High
Assumption that less than 30% remains (reliable data not available).
Examples:
This community occurs as scattered individuals of Eucalyptus viminalis along the banks of the Murrumbidgee River at Lanyon, Tharwa and Tharwa sandwash areas. A single specimen occurs on the river flat at Flints Crossing on the Paddys River. The community can also be seen in narrow strips along creeks in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
Snow Gum Montane Woodland
C28 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus rubida
Eucalyptus dives
Eucalyptus viminalis
Eucalyptus stellulata
Landscape position: In frost hollow valleys throughout the montane region.
Soil type: Shallow to moderate humic soils.
950 ha (i) >30%
(ii) High
Namadgi National Park
Snow Gum Subalpine Woodland
C31 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus debeuzevillei
Eucalyptus niphophila
Bossiaea foliosa
Oxylobium ellipticum
Olearia phlogopappa
Tasmannia xerophila
Oxylobium alpestre
Landscape position: Widespread subalpine woodland occurring in a range of landscape positions.
Elevation: 1500–1900 m.
Soil type: Moderate depth soils.
Comment: Depending on aspect may descend to 1220 m (as at Tidbinbilla).
6000 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Forests
Red Stringybark – Scribbly Gum Tableland Forest
C39 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus macrorhyncha
Eucalyptus rossii
Eucalyptus mannifera
Eucalyptus dives
Eucalyptus polyanthemos
Landscape position: Exposed dry sites on the hills and foot slopes around Canberra, such as Black Mountain, as well as dry, steep, rocky sites.
Elevation: up to 1000 m.
Soil type: Often on poorly developed or skeletal soils.
Comment: Monocultures of Eucalyptus mannifera on shallow soils are part of this community.
8750 ha (i) >30%
(ii) Moderate
Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie, Mount Majura Nature Reserves, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park. It also occurs along the Murrumbidgee River north of Red Rocks Gorge, where it is generally adjacent to the band of Casuarina that lines the riverbanks.
Broad-leafed Peppermint – Candlebark Montane Dry Forest
C37 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus dives
Eucalyptus rubida
Eucalyptus bridgesiana
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus mannifera
Eucalyptus dalrympleana
Daviesia mimosoides
Landscape position: On all aspects except southeasterly to south. At higher altitudes it shows a preference for warmer northerly aspects.
Soil type: Dry exposed shallow soils occurring equally on granite and sediments throughout the Naas–Gudgenby catchment.
200 ha (i) >30%
(ii) High
Namadgi National Park
Mountain Gum Montane Forest
C43 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus dalrympleana
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus robertsonii
Eucalyptus viminalis
Daviesia mimosoides
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia dealbata
Landscape position: A widespread intermediate altitude forest on all but sheltered aspects.
Elevation: 1150–1600 m.
Soil type: Granitic geology. On shallow soils on sheltered aspects in Brindabella, Namadgi, and Yaouk and on humic soils in riparian zones within Namadgi and Kosciusko National Parks.
Comment: The upper limit is determined by upper altitudinal range of Eucalyptus dalrympleana, and lower limit by that of E. pauciflora.
30,000 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Narrow-leaved Peppermint–Ribbon Gum Montane Forest
C46, 51, 67 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus robertsonii
Eucalyptus viminalis
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus dalrympleana
Daviesia mimosoides
Daviesia ulicifolia
Poa spp
Landscape position: On variable slopes facing northeast to south.
Soil type: Moderately deep soils on sediments in Namadgi National Park, and in the Cotter valley on deep granite soils.
45,200 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Brown Barrel Montane Forest
C45 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus fastigata
Eucalyptus viminalis
Eucalyptus robertsonii
Bedfordia arborescens
Dicksonia antarctica
Landscape position: On moderate to steep slopes in the Brindabella Range on easterly and southerly sheltered moist aspects.
Soil type: Deep soils.
Comment: Eucalyptus fastigata has occurs only in a narrow altitudinal range, on southeast aspects. Commonly occurs as a narrow band below Alpine Ash (E. delegatensis), but has more widespread distribution on soils derived from volcanic rocks and north of Mount Coree.
2750 ha (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park
Alpine Ash Montane Tall Forest
C42 in State of the Environment Report 2003
Eucalyptus delegatensis
Eucalyptus pauciflora
Coprosma hirtella
Grevillea victoriae
Daviesia latifolia
Prostanthera lasianthos
Landscape position: occurs on moderate to moderately steep moist slopes with south and east aspects and occasionally with a southwest aspect.
Elevation: 1070–1550 m.
Soil type: Deep soils, where the geology is mainly granitic.
Not known (i) >30%
(ii) 100%
Namadgi National Park

Notes: a 1750 coverage is based on Pryor (1939) and Thomas et al. (2000) except where indicated. Where the pre-1750 coverage is not known for a community, it is because that community was not described in these publications.
b Based on estimates only unless otherwise indicated.
c Benson (1994)
d ACT Government (2005)
e Landsberg (2000)
f Research and Monitoring, TAMS (unpublished July 2006)

Data sources and references

ACT Government 2005, A Vision Splendid of the Grassy Plains Extended: ACT Lowland Native Grassland Conservation Strategy, Action Plan No. 28, Arts, Heritage and Environment, Canberra.

Benson, J 1994, The Native Grasslands of the Monaro Region: Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Cunninghamia 3 (3): 609–650.

Landsberg, J 2000, Status of temperate woodlands in the Australian Capital Territory Region, in Hobbs RJ and Yates CJ (eds) Temperate Eucalypt Woodlands in Australia: Biology, Conservation, Management and Restoration, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton; pp 32–44.

Pryor, LD 1939, The Botany, Forestry and Zoology of the Australian Capital Territory on an Ecological Basis, ANZAAS, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra.

Thomas, V, Gellie, N and Harrison, T 2000, Forest Ecosystem Classification and Mapping for the Southern CRA Region, Report for the New South Wales CRA/RFA Steering Committee, Sydney.

Note

1 Many ecologists take 1750 as a benchmark representing vegetation condition before European settlement and introduction of grazing stock.

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