River-flat eucalypt forest on coastal floodplains – threatened ecological community

By Heather Miles

Paul Barraclough, Science Officer in the Biodiversity Conservation Division of the Department of the Agriculture Water and the Environment recently shared with us the news about a newly declared threatened ecological community on the south coast of NSW and Victoria. 

He reports that the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP recently included the ‘River-flat eucalypt forest on coastal floodplains of southern New South Wales and eastern Victoria’ on the list of threatened ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

This ecological community includes all the plants, animals and other organisms associated with a type of eucalypt forest that occurs on coastal floodplains from around Newcastle in NSW to around Sale in Victoria. The community has a tall forest to woodland structure, a canopy dominated by eucalypts and an understorey of small trees, shrubs, grasses, other herbs and climbers. A large proportion of it was in the area burnt by the 2019-20 bushfires.

It is Critically Endangered, based on a loss of integrity through increased fragmentation and isolation resulting from historic clearing, weed invasion, invasive fauna, changes to floodplain hydrology and inappropriate management regimes, including grazing and fire.

Protection of this forest protects habitat for many threatened and fire-affected species, including Platypus, Swift Parrot, Greater Glider, Koala and the Camden White Gum.

Details, including the approved Conservation Advice for this ecological community can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicshowcommunity.pl?id=154

More information about threatened ecological communities can be found here: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities

From APS NSW: While distressing that this ecological community has been declared threatened, at least we know there are protections in place. Thanks Paul.