Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist in referral, environmental assessment and compliance issues, refer to the Listing Advice and/or Conservation Advice and Recovery Plan. The Listing and/or Conservation Advice define the national ecological community and may include Key Diagnostic Characteristics, Condition Thresholds, Priority Research and Conservation Actions and additional considerations.
In addition, for recovery planning, mitigation and conservation information, refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice.


EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Critically Endangered
Date Effective 26 Aug 2005
Listing and Conservation Advices For ecological communities listed from 2013 onwards, there is no separate listing advice. Instead, the advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee regarding the listing status of the ecological community and recommendation regarding a recovery plan are contained within the Conservation Advice.
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Turpentine-Ironbark Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2005ba) [Listing Advice].
Approved Conservation Advice for TurpentineżIronbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014ac) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans
Policy Statements and other Information Sheets Commonwealth Information Sheet on Turpentine - Ironbark Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion (Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005k) [Information Sheet].
Advice on the presence of hybrids in listed ecological communities (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2011an) [Information Sheet].
Federal Register of Legislative Instruments Inclusion of ecological communities in the list of threatened ecological communities under section 181 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/08/2005) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2005o) [Legislative Instrument].
Indicative Distribution Map(s) Map of Turpentine - Ironbark Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion (Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005l) [Indicative Map].
Distribution Map Community Distribution Map

This map has been compiled from datasets with a range of scales and quality. Species or ecological community distributions included in this map are only indicative and not meant for local assessment. Planning or investment decisions at a local scale should seek some form of ground-truthing to confirm the existence of the species or ecological community at locations of interest. Such assessments should refer to the text of the Listing Advice, which is the legal entity protected under the EPBC Act.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The ecological community is known as 'Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion'.


The name 'Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest' has been used during vegetation mapping on the Cumberland Plain and by the New South Wales Scientific Committee (1998) (see Legal Status).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The current conservation status of the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion under Australian and State Government legislation, is as follows:

National: Listed as Critically Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

New South Wales: Listed as Endangered, under the names 'Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest' (New South Wales Scientific Committee 1998) and the 'Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest in the Sydney Bioregion' under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

The Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) is narrower in scope than the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest communities listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW). The first includes only remnant patches that meet specific condition criteria, including patch size and canopy cover. The latter two include all remnants of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest vegetation irrespective of the size of a remnant patch or its condition (see NSW Scientific Committee 1998, 2000a).

The following animal species are recorded as being associated with areas containing Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council 1999; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002b):


Scientific nameCommon nameNationalNSW
Calyptorhynchus lathamiGlossy Black-Cockatoo Vulnerable
Ninox strenuaPowerful Owl Vulnerable
Pteropus poliocephalusGrey-headed Flying FoxVulnerableVulnerable

The Powerful Owl and Glossy Black-Cockatoo rely, in part, on the mature trees in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest as they provide nest hollows (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2000a).

Five tree species that occur in the tallest tree layer of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest—Syncarpia glomulifera (Turpentine), Eucalyptus saligna (Sydney Blue Gum), Corymbia gummifera (Red Bloodwood), Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum) and A. floribunda (Rough-barked Apple) (see Description)—provide food resources (nectar and pollen) for the Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) (Law et al. 2002). The Grey-headed Flying Fox is also known to utilise canopy trees, lower trees and the tall shrub layer of open forest vegetation for warming and cooling under a range of wind and day temperature conditions (Buchanan 1985).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Turpentine Ironbark Forest is medium-height open forest (Keith & Benson 1988; Benson & Howell 1990a; Benson 1992; Ryan et al. 1996) with a lower tree layer, an open low shrub layer and a prominent ground layer. It is restricted to areas with clay soil derived from Wianamatta Shale in and area that generally has an annual rainfall of more than 950 mm. Western outliers of the community in wetter habitats may have a tall open forest structure (Benson 1992; Ryan et al. 1996; Blue Mountains City Council 2002).

Topography, soils and geology

Turpentine-Ironbark Forest is associated predominantly with the Cumberland Lowlands (Bannerman & Hazelton 1990) although remnants occur to the west on shale-capped ridges in the Blue Mountains (Keith & Benson 1988).

On the lowland plains, the community occurs at elevations from 2–308 m above sea level. Slopes are usually very gentle, with a mean slope of 3.9 degrees (±4.6 degrees) and a range of 0.4–12.8 degrees above horizontal. In margin areas on the plains, slopes are steeper (7.6 degrees, ±5.8 degrees) and may extend to 18.0 degrees above horizontal (Tozer 2003). The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) (2004a, b) notes the forest is often associated with sheltered gully heads up to 500 m above sea level.

Western occurrences of the community in the Blue Mountains occur at lower and middle altitudes up to 750 m above sea level (Keith & Benson 1988; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2000a).

On the plains, the community occurs in areas with clay soil derived from Wianamatta Shale, although the parent geology may also be Holocene Alluvium or the Mittagong Formation (Tozer 2003). In margin areas on the plains (Tozer 2003), the soils have a high level of sandstone influence with the vegetation located from 0–843 m from sandstone. The parent geology in margin areas may include Hawkesbury Sandstone. Soils are in the low and moderate-low fertility classes (see Benson 1992).

Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Blue Mountains occurs on relatively deep, well drained clay soils also derived from Wianamatta Shale that occur as layers within Hawkesbury Sandstone, or occasionally Hawkesbury Shale within the Mittagong Formation (Keith & Benson 1988; Benson 1992; New South Wales Scientific Committee 1998; Blue Mountains City Council 2002), on ridges and upper slopes (Blue Mountains City Council 2002).

Climatic conditions

On the plains, Turpentine-Ironbark Forest occurs in areas with a mean annual rainfall of 1018.0 mm ±68.7 mm (1009.3 mm ±113.9 mm in margin areas), although in this area rainfall across its range here varies from 825–1155 mm per annum (Tozer 2003). Rainfall for the western outliers in the Blue Mountains may exceed 1200 mm per annum (Ryan et al. 1996). The mean maximum temperature in January on the Cumberland Plain is about 27 degrees Centigrade (Tozer 2003).

Ecological Processes

Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on shale caps in the Blue Mountains is reported to be a rich habitat for mammals and birds, providing nest hollows for species such as hollow-dependent fauna including the Powerful Owl and Glossy Black-Cockatoo (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2000a).

Remnants of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain are known to contain a high density of hollow-bearing trees and are also reported to provide important nesting sites for local birds (Sydney Olympic Park Authority 2003, 2006).

In addition to the work of Tozer (2003), Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation has been sampled and described in the following studies:

  • Benson (1992), Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet, as Shale Cap Forest (map unit 9a), Ironbark Forest (map unit 9c) and Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (map unit 9o) (see Tozer 2003; Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005)
  • Benson and Howell (1994), Sydney 1:100 000 map sheet, as Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (map unit 9o) (see Tozer 2003)
  • Blue Mountains City Council (2002), Blue Mountains vegetation mapping, as Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest (map unit 2b) and Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (map unit 2c) (see Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005)
  • Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) (2004a), Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet, as Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (map unit WSF 87) (see Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005)
  • Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) (2004b), Wollongong 1:100 000 map sheets, as Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (map unit WSF 87) (see Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005)
  • Keith (2004) Northern Hinterland Wet Sclerophyll Forests (in part).
  • Keith and Benson (1988), Katoomba 1:100 000 map sheet, as Shale Cap Forest (map unit 9a) (see Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005)
  • New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (1997), Urban Bushland Biodiversity Survey, as Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and Western Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest (see Tozer 2003)
  • Ryan and colleagues (1996), St Albans 1:100 000 map sheet, as Shale Cap Forest (map unit 9a) (see Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Unless shown otherwise, the following description of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest is derived from Tozer (2003) where it is described under two related vegetation communities, viz Turpentime Ironbark Forest (map unit 15) and Turpentime Ironbark Margin Forest (map unit 43). The report by Tozer (2003), which supersedes the report of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (2002a), provides the most up-to-date, detailed quantitative information on the composition and distribution of vegetation on the Cumberland Plain (lowlands).

Dominant tree layer

On the lowlands Turpentine-Ironbark Forest is dominated by Syncarpia glomulifera (Turpentine), with Eucalyptus paniculata (Grey Ironbark) and E. eugenioides (Thin-leaved Stringybark) occurring less frequently. The mean tree height is 23.3 m (±6.8 m) and the mean foliage cover 35.8% (±19.6%). On the margin of the Cumberland Plain in higher rainfall areas near the sandstone/shale boundary ('margin areas'), the vegetation is dominated by Eucalyptus punctata (Grey Gum) and Turpentine, with species such as Corymbia gummifera (Red Bloodwood) and Eucalyptus globoidea (White Stringybark) occurring sporadically. In these margin situations, the mean tree height is slightly lower (21.8 m, ±5.0 m) and the mean foliage cover smaller (24.2%, ±10.8%). In non-margin areas, Grey Gum occurs occasionally in areas where the shale soils are relatively shallow, while E. saligna (Sydney Blue Gum) is dominant in areas with higher rainfall (1050–1080 mm per annum). The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) (2004a, b) indicates that Eucalyptus pilularis (Blackbutt) may also be present in the forest.

The westernmost occurrences of the community, usually associated with outlying shale caps on mountain ridges in the Blue Mountains, are dominated by species such as Turpentine, White Stringybark, Eucalyptus cypellocarpa (Monkey Gum), E. notabilis (Mountain Mahogany) and E. paniculata (Grey Ironbark) in southern areas (Keith & Benson 1988; Benson 1992). Occasionally Eucalyptus beyeriana, E. crebra (Narrow-leaved Ironbark) and E. fibrosa (Red Ironbark) may occur with Turpentine (Benson 1992). Eucalyptus punctata (Grey Gum) and/or E. piperita (Sydney Peppermint) are common in areas with sandstone influence (Keith & Benson 1988; Benson 1992). Wetter south-eastern sites are dominated by Grey Gum and/or E. deanei (Mountain Blue Gum) (Keith & Benson 1988; Benson 1992) while wetter south-western sites are dominated by Monkey Gum (Keith & Benson 1988). Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum) and A. floribunda (Rough-barked Apple) may also be present in some southern areas (Blue Mountains City Council 2002).

The more northerly western outliers are dominated by Turpentine, Grey Gum, Grey Ironbark, Mountain Mahogany and Thin-leaved Stringybark. The tall open forest in very high rainfall areas in the north (> 1200 mm per annum) would have been dominated by Grey Gum, Monkey Gum, Mountain Blue Gum, Turpentine and White Stringybark (Ryan et al. 1996).

Lower-tree and shrub layers

On the lowlands, a small tree layer is usually present with a mean height of 9.6 m (±1.7 m) and a mean foliage cover of 29.4% (±18.1%). Species frequently present include a mixture of Acacia parramattensis (Parramatta Wattle), Pittosporum undulatum (Sweet Pittosporum), Syncarpia glomulifera (Turpentine) and Trema aspera (Native Peach). The former two species form a sparser small tree layer (mean foliage cover 7.2% ±4.7%) in margin areas of the ecological community.

A sparse low shrub layer is present with a mean height of 2.6 m and a mean foliage cover ranging from 14.4% (±20.1%) in non-margin areas to 11.0% (±9.7%) in margin areas. Species frequently present include Breynia oblongifolia (Coffee Bush), Notelaea longifolia f. longifolia (Mock Olive) and Polyscius sambucifolia subsp. A (Elderberry Panax). Maytenus sylvestris (Narrow-leafed Orangebark), Pittosporum revolutum (Rough-fruited Pittosporum) and Ozothamnus diosmifolius (White Dogwood) are also frequent in non-margin areas and Leucopogon juniperinus frequent in margin areas.

The low tree and shrub layers of westernmost occurrences of the community on shale caps in upland areas are dominated by species such as Parramatta Wattle, Indigofera australis, Hibbertia aspera and H. elata in the south (Keith & Benson 1988; Benson 1992) and by Parramatta Wattle, Acacia paradoxa (Kangaroo Thorn), A. longifolia (Sydney Golden Wattle), Bursaria spinosa (Blackthorn) and Indigofera australis in the north, with Polyscias sambucifolius present in wetter areas there (Ryan et al. 1996).

Ground layer

The ground layer in the lowlands, which consists of a mixture of herb and grass species, has a mean foliage cover which ranges from 70.8% (±31.1%) in non-margin areas to 51.3% (±23.7%) in margin areas. In non-margin country, it is dominated by the grasses Echinopogon ovatus (Forest Hedgehog-grass) and Oplismenus aemulus (Basket Grass) and the forb (i.e. herbaceous, non-grass/grass-like plants) Pseuderanthemum variabile (Pastel Flower). Other species recorded frequently include Entolasia marginata, Pratia purpurascens, Dianella longifolia, Arthropdium milleflorum and Rubus parvifolia (Native Raspberry). In margin areas the more open ground layer is dominated by a greater range of grass species including Echinopogon caespitosus var. caespitosus, Entolasia marginata, E. stricta, Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides (Weeping Grass), Panicum simile, Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) and Oplismenus aemulus (Basket Grass).

Forb species also occur frequently, and include Pratia purpurascens (White Root), Gonocarpus tetragynus, Dianella caerulea, Dichondra repens (Kidney Weed) and Pseuderanthemum variabile.

A dense to mid-dense ground layer is present in westernmost occurrences of the community on shale caps. In southern areas it is dominated by grasses such as Entolasia marginata, Dichelachne rara, Microlaena stipoides (Weeping Grass) and Echinopogon ovatus, forbs such as Kidney Weed, Poranthera microphylla and Dianella caerulea and a range of twining herbs/vines (Keith & Benson 1988; Benson 1992). The more northerly occurrences include the forbs Dianella revoluta and Goodenia ovata and twiners such as Smilax australis (Ryan et al. 1996).

Remnant patches of vegetation that are part of the listed Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community usually have component plants representing the characteristic native plant species in all of the above structural layers (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005). Tozer (2003) provides a list of species diagnostic of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation on the Cumberland Plain and a methodology for identifying remnant patches of the community located there with a high level of confidence.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

On the Cumberland Plain Turpentine-Ironbark Forest grades into Blue Gum High Forest where the annual rainfall exceeds 1050 mm, i.e. ascending the Hornsby Plateau. This transition occurs at around 100 m above sea level except on the western edge of the Plateau where Turpentine Ironbark Forest may occur up 200 m above sea level (Tozer 2003). Benson and Howell (1990a) note the transition between the two communities would have been gradual. In drier areas, Turpentine-Ironbark Forest may grade into Cumberland Plain Woodland or Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest with increasing sandstone influence (Blue Mountains City Council 2002; Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005).

All the above communities with which Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation inter-grades are listed as Endangered under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW) and as Endangered or Critically Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth). For a summary of the distinguishing characteristics of the communities, see Blue Gum High Forest, Cumberland Plain Woodlands and Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest.

Tozer (2003) provides a list of species diagnostic of vegetation which comprises Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain and a methodology for identifying remnant patches of it located there with a high level of confidence.

Turpentine Ironbark Forest and Turpentine Ironbark Margin Forest, which grade into each other (Tozer 2003), together comprise the ecological community 'Turpentine Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion'.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Turpentine-Ironbark Forest is restricted to the Sydney Basin biogeographic region (IBRA region; see Environment Australia 2000). It is largely associated with the rim of the Cumberland Plain and lower Blue Mountains (Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) 2004a, b), including the eastern side in lower and/or drier areas of the northern Hornsby Plateau and on the Woronora Plateau south of Sydney (Benson & Howell 1990a; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002a). Benson and Howell (1990a) note it would have extended from Glebe and Newtown west to Auburn, covering much of the land now occupied by the inner south-western suburbs between the coast and Parramatta.

Today, in the eastern part of its distribution, remnants are located in the south predominantly from the Appin Road north to Menai, and north of the Parramatta River in the region approximately bounded by Parramatta, Ryde, Gorigal National Park, Cornelia and Castle Hill. In the western part of its distribution, remnants extend from north of the Bargo area in the south, to Glenbrook, Springwood and Kurrajong in the north. (See Department of Environment and Heritage (Commonwealth) 2005b).

Outliers of the community also occur in the Blue Mountains on the Bilpin Ridge along Bells Line of Road, from Berambing to Bilpin (Keith & Benson 1988) and east towards Kurrajong Heights (Benson 1992), and to the north at Mountain Lagoon, Mellong Range (along Putty Road) and in the Culoul Range in the Wollemi area (Ryan et al. 1996).

Recent mapping data that covers occurrences of the community on both the Cumberland Plain and the Blue Mountains indicate that remnant patches of the listed Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community occur in 21 local government areas, viz. Auburn, Bankstown, Baulkham Hills, Blue Mountains, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury, Concord, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kogarah, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, Ryde, Sutherland, Wingecarribee, Wollongong and Wollondilly (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005; Department of Environment and Heritage (Commonwealth) 2005a). Other remnants that are not part of the listed ecological community are reported to occur in Ashfield, Drummoyne, Hunters Hill, Hurstville, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Rockdale local government areas (NSW Scientific Committee 1998).

National extent

The modelled pre-1750 extent of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain is 30 339 ha (Tozer 2003).

In 1997, only 1183 ha (i.e. 3.9% of the original) remained on the Cumberland Plain, predominantly either as patches 0.5 ha or more in area with a crown cover equal to or exceeding 10%, or as patches 5 ha or more in area and with a crown cover of less than 10% (Tozer 2003). Occurrences of the community in margin areas of the lowlands (i.e. on the margin of the Cumberland Plain in higher rainfall areas near the sandstone/shale boundary) have been less severely depleted (7.3% of modelled pre-1750 vegetation extant in 1997) than occurrences in non-margin areas there (1.4% of modelled pre-1750 vegetation extant in 1997) (Tozer 2003).

The maps of Keith and Benson (1988), Benson (1992) and Ryan and colleagues (1996) suggest that a high proportion of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation on shale soils in the Blue Mountains has also been cleared, but no estimate is provided of the extent of clearing compared with a pre-1750 distribution.

The estimated total extent of the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community listed under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) that remained in 2005 was 2495 ha (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005). This included remnants on the Cumberland Plain and in the Blue Mountains.

Extent in local government areas

The modelled pre-1750 extent of Turpentine Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain indicates it would have been associated with 25 modern local government areas (LGAs). By 1997, remnants patches more than 0.5 ha in area with a crown cover exceeding 10%, or patches more than 5 ha in area and with a crown cover of more than 5%, remained in only 15 LGAs on the plain (see table below). At that time (1997), less than 6% of the pre-1750 vegetation extent remained in two thirds of these LGAs. The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (2002a) commented that they expected further clearing of native vegetation to have occurred since 1997.


Local Government AreaModelled pre-1750 extent (ha)*1997-98 extent (from API)*% extant 1997-98*
Auburn344.312.43.6
Bankstown756.48.11.1
Baulkham Hills5569.1290.95.2
Blacktown8.700
Campbelltown12.600
Canada Bay908.52.10.2
Cantebury1437.92.70.2
Fairfield17.500
Hawkesbury1480.8145.79.6
Holroyd2.800
Hornsby4551.2426.29.4
Hunters Hill158.800
Hurstville8530.40
Kogorah497.22.20.4
Ku-ring-gai1246.368.65.5
Lane Cove399.210.3
North Sydney37800
Parramatta1935.577.94
Penrith132.516.412.4
Rockdale423000
Ryde2814.345.41.6
Strathfield1105.600
Sutherland65.950.776.9
Willougby1002.700
Wollondilly216.130.814.2


* Data from Appendix 2 of New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (2002a)

As noted under Legal Status, extant remnant patches in the above local government areas that do not meet specific condition criteria are not part of the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community listed under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth).

Turpentine-Ironbark Forest can be considered naturally restricted, as its modelled pre-1750 extent of occurrence on the Cumberland Plain is 30 339 ha (Tozer 2003) and mapping in the Blue Mountains (Benson 1992; Ryan et al. 1996; Blue Mountains City Council 2002) indicates its original distribution there would have increased this figure by a relatively small amount.

Unpublished New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service data from 2004 indicated 1298 ha of high quality Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation remained at that time, either as patches 0.5 ha or more in area with a crown cover equal to or exceeding 10%, or as patches 5 ha or more in area and with a crown cover of less than 10%. Of these remnants, about 90% of the patches on the Cumberland Plain were < 5 ha in area, and the largest patch was only 25.3 ha.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Turpentine-Ironbark Forest is considerably fragmented compared with its pre-1750 distribution, as remnant patches now exist only as isolated fragments in a predominantly urban or peri-urban environment (see for example Benson 1992; Benson and Howell 1994; Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) 2004, b). The Sydney Olympic Park Authority (2006) commented that Turpentine-Ironbark Forest remnants in Newington Nature Reserve have been isolated from surrounding bushland since the 1850's. As noted under Description, most patches of higher quality vegetation are less than 5 ha in area, and those with a high perimeter to area ratio are susceptible to invasion by weeds (Tozer 2003).

Changes in the floristic composition and structure of remnant patches of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, including the tree and shrub layers (see Condition Classes), has undoubtedly had negative flow-on impacts for fauna associated with the community. Recher and colleagues (1993) noted that the history of landuse on the Cumberland Plain, that has involved clearing and habitat fragmentation, changed fire regimes and the introduction of exotic species, has resulted in a decline in the abundance of its native fauna and local extinctions. Although it was possible to generally reconstruct a sense of the pre-European mammal and bird fauna of open-forest and tall open-forest vegetation (i.e. which would include Turpentine-Ironbark Forest), they noted little data existed for the original occurrence of reptile, frogs and invertebrates in these forests.

Tozer (2003) noted that there was a high probability that the cumulative impact of further clearing of remnants on the Cumberland Plain (including Turpentine-Ironbark Forest) would result in overall loss of floristic diversity.

The presence of weed species in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (see Threats) is known to reduce the ability of native plants (trees, shrubs and herbs) to regenerate in the absence of appropriate management intervention (see Conservation Advice). Lack of recruitment of canopy tree species will lead to significant structural changes in the vegetation in the longer-term (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Only high quality remnant patches which contain some characteristic native plant species present in all structural layers (see Description) and that have the following characteristics are part of the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005):

  • tree canopy cover > 10%, patch area > 1 ha, or
  • tree canopy cover < 10%, patch area > 1 ha and patch is located within native vegetation with an area > 5 ha.

The type 1 patches have the greatest conservation value and their size and high quality generally make them most resilient to disturbance (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005). The type 2 patches enhance the potential for connectivity and the viability of the ecological community, act as a buffer against disturbance and support gene flow in the plant and animal species associated with the listed ecological community (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005).

Occurrences of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest that do not meet the above criteria, although not part of the listed ecological community, still have conservation values as biodiversity reservoirs (including of local genotypes), faunal corridors etc (NSW Scientific Committee 1998; Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Tozer (2003) provides a detailed description of the sampling procedure that should be adopted for using positive diagnostic species to identify the type of vegetation present in remnants on the Cumberland Plain.

The identity of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain mapped by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service can be confirmed through the use of positive diagnostic species (Tozer 2003). These are plant species that have a higher probability of occurring in a particular vegetation type than expected, based on their frequency of occurrence in the data set.

For the non-margin Turpentine Ironbark Forest (see Description), Tozer (2003) lists 43 positive diagnostic species, comprising eight tree species, 11 shrub species, 10 climber species and 14 grasses or herbs in the ground layer. The presence of at least 18 of these species in a 0.04 ha sample plot provides confirmation, at a 95% confidence level, that the vegetation being sampled is non-margin Turpentine Ironbark Forest, provided the total number of native plant species growing in the plot is 33 or more.

For the Turpentine Ironbark Margin Forest (Description), Tozer (2003) lists 35 positive diagnostic species, comprising seven tree species, eight shrub species, four climber species 16 grasses or herbs in the ground layer. The presence of at least 11 of these species in a 0.04 ha sample plot provides confirmation, at a 95% confidence level, that the vegetation being sampled is Turpentine Ironbark Margin Forest, provided the total number of native plant species growing in the plot is 38 or more.

A comparable diagnostic methodology is not available for the western outliers of the community in the Blue Mountains, as these areas were not covered by Tozer (2003). Detailed descriptions of the community (called 'Shale Cap Forest') in these areas is provided in Keith and Benson (1988), Ryan and colleagues (1996) and Blue Mountains City Council (2002).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Past threats

Turpentine-Ironbark Forest was extensively cleared for timber, market gardens and orchards and urban expansion (Benson & Howell 1990a, b, 1994; Benson 1992; Howell & Benson 2000; Tozer 2003) or has been logged, grazed and burnt (Benson & Howell 1994). Occurrences on shale caps in the Blue Mountains have been largely cleared for small farms and orchards (Keith & Benson 1988; Ryan et al. 1996; New South Wales Scientific Committee 2000a).

Current and future threats

The main threats to Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain are considered to be clearing for development, grazing, mowing, increased nutrient loads, weed invasion and inappropriate fire regimes (Benson & Howell 1994; New South Wales Scientific Committee 1998, 2000a, 2000b; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2004; Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005). Salinity is a potential added threat in western Sydney (Haworth 2003; Department of Environment and Conservation 2005a).

Ryan and colleagues (1996) noted that clearing for agriculture and increased suburban or rural settlement also posed a threat to the more northerly of the westernmost outliers of the community in the Blue Mountains.

Threats from urbanisation-vegetation clearance

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2005) noted that ongoing pressure for urban development on the Cumberland Plain, including both increased housing density and new developments in peri-urban centres, may result in clearing of remnant patches of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. This in turn can lead to an overall loss of floristic diversity (Tozer 2003) and to increased fragmentation (Hornsby Shire Council 2003). Loss of vegetation in urban/peri-urban areas also arises from activities such as road widening, construction of freeways, power and water service corridors and the channelling/piping of creeks (Benson & Howell 1990a).

Threats from urbanisation-other impacts

Many of the threats to Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in urban areas relate to the juxtaposition of the remnants with intensively disturbed and built over land and often arise from activities on these adjoining area (Tozer 2003). The threats include:

  • increased soil phosphorus levels from garden fertilisers, dumped refuse, sewer discharges and pet excrement (Benson & Howell 1990a; Oculus Environmental Planning 2001; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2004)
  • dispersal of weed propagules from stormwater, dumped garden refuse, fruit-eating birds and wind (Benson & Howell 1990a), and
  • excessive nutrients from stormwater influx (Benson & Howell 1990a, 1994).

Other threats in urban or peri-urban areas include physical damage from recreational activities (Oculus Environmental Planning 2001; Tozer 2003; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2004), cattle and sheep grazing, mowing and clearing of understorey plants (Hornsby Shire Council 2003) and changed fire regimes (Benson & Howell 1990a; see also McLoughlin 1998).

Weed invasion-introduced species

Nutrient-enriched runoff, changed fire regimes and changed water regimes facilitate weed invasion of remnant patches of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (Benson & Howell 1990a, Tozer 2003). Remnants with a high perimeter to area ratio have a high risk of invasion (Tozer 2003).

The weeds listed in the table below are most commonly associated with Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain (Tozer 2003; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2004), and may be present even in the least disturbed parts of remnant patches (Tozer 2003).


Scientific nameCommon nameHabitVegetation*
Araujia sericifloraMoth VineClimberNon-margin
Asparagus asparagoides (synonym: Myrsiphyllum asparagoides)Bridal CreeperClimberMargin
Bidens pilosaCobblers PegHerbMargin
Chrysanthemoides moniliferumBoneseedShrubMargin
Cirsium vulgareBlack ThistleHerbNon-margin
Conyza albidaFleabaneHerbNon-margin
Ehrharta erectaEhrhartaGrassNon-margin
Hedera helixEnglish IvyClimberNon-margin
Hypochaeris radicataCat's Ear, FlatweedHerbMargin
Lantana camaraLantanaShrubNon-margin, Margin
Ligustrum lucidumLarge-leaved PrivetTreeNon-margin
Ligustrum sinenseSmall-leaved PrivetTreeNon-margin, Margin
Ochna serrulataOchna; Mickey Mouse PlantShrub/subshrubNon-margin
Paspalum dilatatumPaspalumGrassNon-margin, Margin
Phytolacca octandraInkweedShrub/subshrubNon-margin
Plantago lanceolataPlantainHerbNon-margin, Margin
Protasparagus aethiopicusAsparagus fern HerbNon-margin
Rubus sp.BlackberryShrub/subshrubNon-margin
Setaria gracilisPigeon GrassGrassNon-margin, Margin
Sida rhombifoliaPaddy's LucerneShrub/subshrubNon-margin
Solanum nigrumBlackberry NightshadeHerbNon-margin


* For clarification of Margin and Non-margin Forest vegetation, see Description

Other weed species reported to be associated with Turpentine-Ironbark Forest remnants on the Cumberland Plain include the herbs Agapanthus africanus (Agapanthus), Arum italicum (Arum Lily), Nephrolepis cordifolia (Fishbone Fern), Nothoscordum borbonicum (Onion Weed), Phyllanthus hirtellus (False Breynia) and Tradescantia fluminensis (Tradescantia) and the vines Anredera cordifolia (Madeira Vine), Cardiospermum grandiflorum (Balloon Vine) and Ipomoea indica (Morning Glory) (Abell 2005).

Lantana camara (Lantana), which is listed as a threatening process in New South Wales, is considered a specific threat to the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2006). Lantana invasion is also known to be a threat to western outliers of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, e.g. in the vicinity of Tunnel Gulley Reserve (Blue Mountains City Council 2005).

Tozer (2003) noted that Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides, listed by Tozer as Myrsiphyllum asparagoides) has been identified as a particularly significant weed as it is highly competitive and appears able to suppress native understorey species. Dense exotic grass growth also appears able to inhibit natural regeneration of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest through smothering, shading and changed soil nitrogen availability (Sydney Olympic Park Authority 2006).

Weed invasion-native species

In the absence of natural bushfire regimes, the native plant Sweet Pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) can become dominant in the understorey of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, with adverse impacts on other native plant species, and thus may need to be controlled (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2005a).

Inappropriate fire regimes

High fire frequency, which is listed as a threatening process in New South Wales, is considered a specific threat to Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain, and is likely to result in the loss of plant species in the community (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2000b).

Benson and Howell (1990a) note that both high fire frequency and the exclusion of fire can lead to changes in vegetation structure and/or native species composition as well as the type and abundance of weeds. The latter situation is probably represented by Turpentine-Ironbark Forest remnants in Newington Nature Reserve, where fire is thought to have been excluded since the early 1900s (Sydney Olympic Park Authority 2006). McLoughlin (1998) also noted that changes to the season in which vegetation is burnt can lead to changes in its structure and species composition.

Mowing

Mowing alone, or coupled with the use of herbicides, is known to inhibit the regeneration of tree, shrub and ground layer plant species in Turpentine Ironbark Forest (James 1994; Abell 2005; Sydney Olympic Park Authority 2006).

James (1994) reported a three-fold increase in plant species richness in a dry form of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain 12 months after a reduction in the mowing frequency. The increase was chiefly through vegetative regeneration of herbs, subshrubs and climbers from existing rootstocks that had been unrecognisable during a high frequency (about six times per year) mowing regime. The only seedlings James (1994) recorded were Acacia parramattensis (Parramatta Wattle). James noted this could reflect severe depletion of the soil seed bank over a 20-year period of intensive mowing, or the need for favourable conditions to promote germination and establishment.

Remnant Status

In 1997, only 1183 ha of mapped Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain was considered in good condition (Distribution). Data from 2004 indicated 1298 ha of high quality Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation remained at that time on both the Cumberland Plain and in the Blue Mountains.

Factors relevant to condition and status of remnants

The New South Wales Scientific Committee (1998, 2000a) notes Turpentine-Ironbark Forest may now occur as groups of remnant trees or woodlands (rather than open forest/tall open forest) due to partial clearing.

The plant species composition of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest at any given site will vary with factors such as the site's area and past history of disturbance (including time since fire and fire frequency). Forest that has not been burnt for an extended period may have a dense understorey (New South Wales Scientific Committee 1998). Vascular plant species that are absent from the above-ground vegetation may be present below the ground as part of the soil seed store (NSW Scientific Committee 1998, 2000a). The plant species present at any one area will also be affected by geographic location, local conditions such as topography, rainfall and exposure (NSW Scientific Committee 1998, 2000a).

A variety of weed species are commonly found in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. Those species most commonly associated with the vegetation and that affect its condition are listed in the section Threats.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation has been preparing a recovery plan for endangered ecological communities on the Cumberland Plain that will include Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2004; Department of Environment and Conservation 2005a).

Pending completion of the above recovery plan, the Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2005a) has published generic best practice guidelines for the management and restoration of bushland on the Cumberland Plain. Specific topics covered in the guidelines include site assessment to identify the most appropriate management options, bush regeneration techniques including weed control, and the use of fire, soil disturbance, reduction in plant biomass, grazing management and other 'triggers' to promote natural regeneration. The three key generic management steps recommended in the guidelines for Cumberland Plain communities are:

  • retain all existing native vegetation where possible
  • protect any retained vegetation from further degradation (including fencing remnants and linking remnants through targeted revegetation)
  • actively manage all retained and protected vegetation remnants (including weed suppression, control of feral animals, encouraging regeneration of native plants).

Desirable management actions identified specifically for Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation on the Cumberland Plain by the Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2005b) include the following:

  • applying necessary fire regimes to maintain the appropriate floristic and structural diversity
  • minimising further clearing of the community
  • avoiding unnecessary mowing to promote regrowth
  • controlling run-off entering remnants if this runoff would change water, nutrient and sediment levels or cause erosion
  • weed control
  • restoration activities including bush regeneration and revegetation.

The Department has also identified 17 priority actions, grouped into 9 strategies, to help recover the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest community listed under NSW law (see Department Environment and Conservation (NSW) 2005c).

The priority recovery and threat abatement actions considered necessary for the listed Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2005) are:

  • preventing further clearing or fragmentation through local council zoning and/or the development of conservation agreements or covenants with landholders
  • managing weeds within existing remnants
  • minimising the impacts of grazing and recreational activities through identifying and fencing important remnants
  • rehabilitating degraded but recoverable remnants so that they meet the condition criteria for the listed ecological community.

Listed Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community within reserves

Only 314 ha (12.6%) of the listed Turpentine-Ironbark Forest ecological community are located in conservation reserves (see table below) (Environmental Resources Information Network, Department of the Environment and Water Resources (Commonwealth) 2007):


NameArea (ha)
Bargo State Conservation Area51.1
Blue Mountains National Park108.3
Burragorang State Conservation Area24.4
Dharawal Nature Reserve2.2
Dharawal State Conservation Area18.1
Dural Nature Reserve0.3
Lane Cove National Park16.5
Nattai National Park1.2
Newington Nature Reserve11.4
Thirlmere Lakes National Park16.7
Wallumatta Nature Reserve5.6
Wollemi National Park58.1
Total313.9

Only 25.6 ha (2.2% of the extant community) of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest on the Cumberland Plain was located in national parks in 2002. At that time, 111.2 ha (9.4% of extant) were also located in local government Special Use zones, 106.2 ha (9.0%) in local government Environment Protection zones and 168.6 ha (14.3%) in local government Open Space zones (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002a).

Keith and Benson (1988) noted that none of the westernmost occurrences of the community in the Katoomba region of the Blue Mountains were reserved, but were restricted to small remnants on private property. Remnants further north on the Culoul Range are located in Wollemi National Park (Ryan et al. 1996), while remnant patches in the Glenbrook area (WSW of Penrith) occur in the Blue Mountains National Park (Benson 1992).

Other parks and reserves containing Turpentine-Ironbark Forest

Other public lands reported to contain Turpentine-Ironbark Forest vegetation include the following (mostly council managed) parks and reserves:

  • Annangrove Park (Baulkham Hills Shire Council 2001)
  • Bell Park, Kogarah Council (Benson undated)
  • Boronia Park Reserve, Hunter's Hill (Benson undated)
  • Brett Park, Drummoyne (Hobcroft 2003)
  • Brush Farm Park (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2005b)
  • Burrows Park (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2005b)
  • Cox Park, Parramatta (Parramatta City Council 2002)
  • Darvall Park (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002a)
  • Denistone Park (Tozer 2003)
  • Edna May Hunt Reserve (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2005b)
  • Fagan Park, Carrs Bush (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002a; Hornsby Shire Council 2003, undated)
  • Galaringi Reserve, Parramatta (Parramatta City Council 2002)
  • Garigal National Park (see Benson & Howell 1994)*
  • James Henty Park, Hornsby (Hornsby Shire Council 2000)
  • Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (Benson & Howell 1994)
  • Ku-ring-gai Flying-fox Reserve (Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council 1999)
  • Lane Cove National Park (see Benson & Howell 1994)
  • Marion St Reserve (Bankstown City Council 2003)
  • Marramarra National Park (see Benson & Howell 1994; Brown 2001)
  • Meadowbanks Park, Ryde LGA (Oculus Environmental Planning 2001)
  • Menai Park (Council land) (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002a)
  • Mobbs Hill, Carlingford (Tozer 2003)
  • Newington Nature Reserve (formerly Silverwater Nature Reserve), Homebush (Sydney Olympic Park Authority 2003)
  • Paddy Pallin Reserve (Abell 2005)
  • Pennant Hills Park (see Benson & Howell 1994)
  • Pollard Reserve, Kirrawee (Australian Plant Society 2007)
  • Poulton Park (Kogarah Council undated)
  • Queen Elizabeth park, Concord (Lembit undated; Hobcroft 2003)
  • Reddy Park, Hornsby (Hornsby Shire Council 2003, undated)
  • Shipwrights Bay Reserve (Kogarah Council undated)
  • Skarratt Park (Blue Mountains City Council 2005)
  • Sophia Doyle Reserve (Upper Parramatta River Catchment Trust 2002)
  • Stewart Park, Ryde LGA (Oculus Environmental Planning 2001)
  • The Crest Reserve (Bankstown City Council 2003)
  • Tunnel Gully Reserve (Blue Mountains City Council 2005)
  • Wallumatta Nature Reserve (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 1999; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002a)
  • William Road Reserve, Riverwood (Hurstville City Council 2004)
  • Yaralla Bushland (Benson & Howell 1994).

* Smith and Smith (2005) consider the vegetation described as Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in Garigal National Park should be classified as Ash-Brown Stringybark Forest.

The Turpentine-Ironbark Forest present in the above areas would include remnants that are not part of the ecological community listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth). Such remnants would still have conservation values as biodiversity reservoirs and faunal corridors etc.

Conservation Actions

Linking remnants together

Benson (1992) noted the importance of protecting the remaining small remnants of depleted plant communities in the Penrith Map Sheet, including Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, identifying corridors to link them and enhancing them through natural regeneration and supplementary plantings. He also considered it important to identify and manage buffer zones to ensure they bear the brunt of intensive recreational use in urban areas rather than the better quality vegetation.

Weed removal

Techniques for the control of introduced herbaceous and woody weeds are described in the best practice guidelines Recovering Bushland on the Cumberland Plain (Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) 2005a). The information is relevant to many of the weed species listed earlier (see Threats) that are threats to Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. The guidelines reiterate the importance of using weed control techniques that achieve the desired management objectives with the least intervention practicable, and note that an integrated approach involving a number of techniques is usually necessary.

The removal of weeds in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest using bush regeneration techniques has been shown to be effective in controlling weed species and promoting the regeneration of native plants (e.g. Pallin 2000; Abell 2005). Such weeding over four years in priority areas of Paddy Pallin Reserve significantly reduced heavy weed infestations and resulted in 57% of the 67 native species at the site regenerating, including 11 species not previously recorded there (Abell 2005).

Experience at Paddy Pallin Reserve showed that a high initial weeding effort followed by a lower 'maintenance' level of effort (about 20 hours per quarter from skilled bush regeneration operators) would maintain the improved condition of the vegetation (Abell 2005). Abell (2005) also noted the importance of focussing weeding effort on areas with the most potential for regeneration (i.e. those with the greatest resilience) and tailoring weed removal activities to seasonal conditions to ensure maximum effectiveness in weed removal.

Although the native Pittosporum undulatum (Sweet Pittosporum) can reach weedy levels in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (see Threats), Howell (2003) cautions about the need for appropriate management of it. They cited an instance of where Sweet Pittosporum was removed from the understorey on private land by bulldozing, which resulted in the loss of other understorey components (other plant species and their associated fauna, lichens, rootstocks, soil-stored seed and micro-organisms in the soil) because of the perception the species is an 'environmental weed'. She also stressed the need, when removing Sweet Pittosporum, for both appropriate follow-up activities (to ensure other weed species do not become dominant) and to address other habitat factors such as fire frequency.

Buchanan (1989) found Sweet Pittosporum can be removed from the wetter Blue Gum High Forest on the Cumberland Plain Blue Gum High Forest by a combination of cutting and burning, with McDonald and colleagues (2002) reporting that 50–70% of unwanted Sweet Pittosporum plants in that forest type can be killed by a prescribed fire. If fire is used to help control Sweet Pittosporum, burning will not necessarily kill other weed species. For example, it is known that Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Ligustrum sinense (Small-leaved Privet) and Ochna serrulata (Ochna) are able to resprout vegetatively after fire in the northern Sydney area (see Thomson & Leishman 2005).

Prescribed fires in combination with other control techniques, including herbicides and biological control, are considered to offer an opportunity to remove the above-ground biomass of Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) in Cumberland Plain Woodlands (Willis et al. 2003), and may also be relevant to its control in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. Burning alone will not control this weed, as the plants produce vegetative regrowth after being burnt.

Fire

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service guidelines for fire management (fuel reduction burning) of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest indicate that there should be no fire more than once every 10 years in the community (New South Wales Rural Fire Service 2004). These guidelines also specify that mechanical forms of hazard reduction in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest cannot include slashing, trittering or tree removal. In addition, the 'Rules and Notes' specify that no part of an endangered ecological community is to be subjected to successive fires more frequently than the minimum fire interval, and that at least 50% of the endangered ecological community within each local government area "must exist in a state that has been burnt less frequently than the minimum fire interval" (New South Wales Rural Fire Service undated). These fire frequency specifications must take into account both wildfire and fuel reduction burns.

Brown (2001) notes that in Lane Cove National Park fire regimes for Ironbark-Turpentine vegetation is not less than five years or more than 30 years between fires.

Reliable records of historical burns, including those started by Aborigines, indicate that most fires in the Sydney region at the time of early European settlement occurred during spring and early summer (August to January), suggesting this period would be the most optimal time for prescribed burns in Cumberland Plain vegetation (McLoughlin 1998). In contrast, McLoughlin (1998) reported that prescribed burns carried out by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and Hornsby Shire Council in northern Sydney (areas where Turpentine-Ironbark Forest remnants are present) from 1980 to 1995 were conducted predominantly in autumn-winter. The consequences on the structure and species composition of the affected vegetation (compared with the impact of fires during the 'natural' spring-early summer fire season) are not known.

Mowing

James (1994) indicated there was significant potential for replenishment of the soil seed banks of grasses and herbs in the ground layer of Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (through flowering and seed set) within 12 months of changing from a high frequency to low frequency mowing regime.

In areas where mowing in Turpentine-Ironbark Forest is considered necessary, for example to reduce fuel loads near to local housing, James (1994) suggested that a mosaic mowing approach be used that incorporates different mowing frequencies and mowing height. James (1994) also suggested that mowing be carried out only once every two or three years (unless the fire risk was high) to enable significant tree and shrub regeneration in the community.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Turpentine-Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion in Community and Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed 2014-07-23T10:29:06EST.