1.1.7.2 Terrestrial species and communities


The Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important ecological communities, flora, fauna and heritage places that are identified in the Act as of national environmental significance. Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 regulate the protection of wildlife and protected areas and places within the bioregion. The bioregion includes parts of two natural resource management regions: South East Queensland Catchments and North Coast Local Land Services. A regional plan has been developed for both areas to target ecological sustainability priorities in the next two decades (DERM, 2009; Northern Rivers CMA, 2013; RDA-Northern Rivers, 2013; SEQ Catchments, 2013).

The Clarence-Moreton bioregion consists of five IBRA subregions (Figure 29, Table 16, and Table 17) and is listed as a National Biodiversity Hotspot.

The bioregion consists of:

  • moist volcanic soils derived from basalts supporting subtropical and warm temperate rainforests, or wet sclerophyll forests. Dominant plants include black booyong (Argyrodendron actinophyllum), white booyong (Argyrodendron trifoliolatum), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), bangalow palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana), climbing palm (Calamus muelleri), rough tree fern (Cyathea australis), Australian cedar (Toona australis), teak (Flindersia australis), white mahogany (Eucalyptus acmenoides), small-fruited grey gum (Eucalyptus propinqua), tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys) and Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna)
  • low hills and slopes derived from sedimentary materials to form sandy loams supporting dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands with grassy or shrubby understorey. Dominant species include red bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera), pink bloodwood (C. intermedia), Baileys stringbark (Eucalyptus baileyi), blackbutt (E. pilularis), scribbly gum (Eucalyptus signata), bastard white mahogany (E. umbra), turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), fern-leaved banksia (Banksia oblongifolia), hairpin banksia (B. spinulosa var. collina), Leptospermum polygalifolium, flaky-barked teatree (L. trinervium), grass tree (Xanthorrhoea latifolia), wiry panic (Entolasia stricta) and blady grass (Imperata cylindrica var. major)
  • sedimentary and alluvial soils on relatively flat river plains. Most of this area has been cleared for grazing and intensive agriculture.

There are 202 flora species found in the north coast of New South Wales listed in the schedules of the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Of these, 108 are endangered, 89 are vulnerable and 5 are considered extinct in the bioregion (National Land and Water Resources Audit, 2002). There are 157 fauna species recorded in the north coast New South Wales and these are listed in the schedules of the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act (National Land and Water Resources Audit, 2002). Of these, 36 are listed as endangered and 121 are listed as vulnerable (Table 18 and Table 19).

There are 88 animal species and 165 plant species listed as rare or threatened in the south-east Queensland region. Rare or threatened species includes those listed as extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or conservation dependent under either the Nature Conservation Act (Queensland) or the EPBC Act (DEHP, 2013g) (Table 18 and Table 19).

High level plant and animal endemism exists in the Clarence-Moreton region with many plants reaching southern or northern limit of their distributions. This includes Zieria prostrata and Elaeocarpus sp. Rocky Creek. Z. prostrata is restricted to Moonee Beach Nature Reserve and is listed as endangered in both the NSW TSC Act and the EPBC Act (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1998). Eleocarpus. sp Rocky Creek is found in only four locations on the southern edge of the Mount Warning caldera and is also listed as endangered in both the NSW TSC Act and the EPBC Act (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2003).

The subtropical habitats of the north coast New South Wales and south-east Queensland are rich in bird diversity, with many endemic species and species with restricted distributions, especially in rainforest habitats where there are also several threatened species. The rainforest areas of the Scenic Rim/Richmond/Tweed part of the bioregion is important for the logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii), paradise riflebird (Ptiloris paradiseus), the Albert's lyrebird (Menura alberti), rufous scrub-bird (Atrichornis rufescens), the Coxen's fig-parrot (Cyclopsitta dipthalma coxeni) and northern species of eastern bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus) (Birdlife International, 2013; National Land and Water Resources Audit, 2002). The Loveridge's frog (Philoria loveridgei), pouched frog (Assa darlingtoni) and Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi) are also endemic to this rainforest area (ARC, 2013).

The threatened species and ecological communities in the bioregion have been exposed to numerous threatening processes (WetlandCare Australia, 2013) including:

  • land clearing for agriculture and urban development, leading to habitat fragmentation and removal
  • modified hydrological regimes and water extraction
  • erosion and sedimentation
  • invasive species impacts
  • acid sulfate soils
  • poor water quality and pollution
  • impacts from industry, such as forestry, dredging and mining.

Figure 29

Figure 29 Clarence-Moreton bioregion with relevant natural resource management and Interim Biogeographic Regionalisations for Australia subregion boundaries

Table 16 Brief description of the south-east Queensland Interim Biogeographic Regionalisations for Australia subregions occurring in the Clarence-Moreton bioregion


IBRA subregion

Landform

Biodiversity values

Clarence Lowlands (CL)

Low stepped hills and plains, with hillier areas in west and south. Beach, dune and lagoon barrier systems and estuarine fills along the main streams.

Dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands of spotted gum (Corymbia maculate), grey gum (Eucalyptus punctata), blackbutt, (E. pilularis), red bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera) and white mahogany (Eucalyptus acmenoides) in the hills. Numerous wetlands.

Clarence Sandstones (CS)

Low to steep stony hillsides on sandstone to the steep gorges and rocky escarpments and outcrops.

Dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands of spotted gum (Corymbia maculate), grey gum (Eucalyptus punctata) blackbutt (E. pilularis), bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera and C. intermedia), needlebark (Eucaptus planchoniana), stringybark (E. Caliginosa), ironbark (E. crebra) and white mahogany (E acmenoides). Areas of listed old growth forests.

Woodenbong (W)

Hilly, basalt ridges and plateau remnants; outer sections of Mount Warning caldera slopes.

Rainforests on basalt as for Richmond-Tweed, including Antarctic beech (Nothofagus moorei). Wet and dry sclerophyll, including New England blackbutt (Eucalyptus campanulata), red bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera) and tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys) on sedimentary rocks.

Scenic Rim (SR)

(now listed as Richmond-Tweed (R-T) in the New South Wales section)

Dissected volcanic caldera with central plug of Mount Warning. Basement rocks exposed around the plug and an outer rim of volcanic flows with well-developed radial drainage pattern. Steep slopes and relief of 1100 m.

Subtropical and warm temperate rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests including; black booyong (Argyrodendron actinophyllum), white booyong (A. trifoliolatum), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), bangalow palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana), rough tree fern (Cyathea australis), Australian cedar (Toona ciliate), teak (Tectona grandis), white mahogany (Eucalyptus acmenoides, small-fruited grey gum (E. propinqua), tallowwood (E. microcorys) and Sydney blue gum (E. saligna). Contains World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

Moreton Basin (MB)

Flat alluvial plains and low hills and ranges leading up to the steep escarpment of the Great Dividing Range.

Much of the area has been cleared for agriculture and rural landscapes. Some large tracts of dry sclerophyll open forests and woodlands scattered throughout with spotted gum (Corymbia maculate), lemon-scented gum (C. citriodora) and narrow-leaved ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) and occasionally Queensland peppermint (E. exserta) and grey box (E. microcarpa) present in scattered patches or low densities. The understorey is usually grassy.

Source data: (i) NSW Environment and Heritage (2011), (ii) NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2012) and (iii) SEWPaC (2013).

Table 17 State legislated threatened ecological communities within the Clarence-Moreton bioregion grouped by Interim Biogeographic Regionalisations for Australia subregions


Community

IBRA subregion

Commonwealth status

Description

CL

CS

W

SR

RT

MB

Freshwater wetlands on coastal floodplains

Not listed

Coastal area subject to periodic flooding and standing water in low lying areas on alluvial flats dominated by herbaceous plants depending on water regime.

Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest

Not listed

Subtropical tall open forest occupying central and marginal sections of floodplain, dominated by forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), grey ironbark (E. siderophloia), pink bloodwood (Corymbia intermedia) and, north of the Macleay floodplain, swamp turpentine (Lophostemon suaveolens).

Coastal Cypress Pine forest

Not listed

Closed to open canopy of coastal cypress pine (Callitris columellaris), which may sometimes be mixed with eucalypts such as pink bloodwood (Corymbia intermedia), blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) or scribbly gum (E. signata), wattles including Salwood (Acacia disparrima subsp. disparrima) and also black she-oak (Allocasuarina littoralis), coast banksia (Banksia integrifolia subsp. integrifolia) or old-man banksia (B. serrata) and/or rainforest trees. The understorey of shrubs, sedges and herbs is typically open to sparse.

Coastal Saltmarsh

Not listed

Coastal saltmarsh occurs in the intertidal zone on estuary and lagoon shores intermittently open to the sea and include plants like Baumea juncea, sea rush (Juncus krausii subsp. australiensis), samphire (Sarcocornia quinqueflora subsp. quinqueflora), marine couch (Sporobolus virginicus), streaked arrowgrass (Triglochin striata), knobby club-rush (Ficinia nodosa), creeping brookweed (Samolus repens), swamp weed (Selliera radicans), seablite (Suaeda australis) and prickly couch (Zoysia macrantha).

Grey Box-Grey Gum Wet Sclerophyll Forest

Not listed

Tall open tree canopy of eucalypts grey box (Eucalyptus moluccana) and small-fruited grey gum (Eucalyptus propinqua) and, less commonly Eucalyptus biturbinata, grey ironbark (Eucalyptus siderophloia) and hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii). Structurally complex understorey including rainforest trees and shrubs, vines, ferns and herbs.

Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thickets

Critically Endangered

Closed canopy of trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, ferns and epiphytes with some Araucaria, Eucalyptus or Banksia emergents possible. Ground stratum is sparse. Located as disjunct and isolated stands close to the coast or near an estuary.

Lowland Rainforest

Critically Endangered

Closed canopy subtropical rainforest. High diversity and species richness between regions and stands. Canopy comprised of a range of tree species however a particular species may dominate e.g. palm forest, usually dominated by bangalow palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) or cabbage palm (Livistona australis); and riparian areas dominated by Syzygium floribundum (syn. Waterhousea floribunda) (weeping satinash/weeping lilly pilly). Canopy and subcanopy species (including emergents) can include hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), figs (Ficus spp.), white booyong (Argyrodendron trifoliolatum/Heritiera trifoliolata), black bean (Castanospermum australe), white walnut (Cryptocarya obovata, pepperberry), giant stinging tree (Dendrocnide excelsa), native tamarind (Diploglottis australis), rosewood (Dysoxylum fraserianum), red bean (Dysoxylum mollissimum), green tamarind (Elattostachys nervosa), hairy walnut (Endiandra pubens), bumpy ash (Flindersia schottiana, cudgerie, silver ash), white beech (Gmelina leichhardtii), bolly gum (Neolitsea australiensis), white bolly gum (Neolitsea dealbata), maidens blush (Sloanea australis), yellow carabeen (Sloanea woollsii), red cedar (Toona ciliata), and epiphytes such as Platycerium spp. and birds nest fern (Asplenium australasicum).

Lowland Rainforest on Floodplain

Critically Endangered

Stands can form a dense canopy with a rich diversity of plants and animals with riparian areas dominated by weeping satinash/weeping lilly pilly (Syzygium floribundum syn. Waterhousea floribunda). Typical tree species in the community include hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), figs (Ficus macrophylla, F. obliqua and F. watkinsiana), black booyong (Heritiera actinophylla), white booyong (Heritiera trifoliolata), giant stinging tree (Dendrocnide excelsa), palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana and Livistona australis), silky oak (Grevillea robusta), black bean (Castanospermum australe) and brush cherry (Syzygium australe).

Montane Peatlands and Swamps of the New England Tableland

Endangered

Dense groundcover of sedges, grasses and forbs, except where a dense cover of tall shrubs casts deep shade. The community typically has an open to very sparse layer of shrubs, 1 to 5 m tall, (eg. Baeckea gunniana, B. utilis, Callistemon pityoides, Leptospermum spp.). Species of Epacris and Hakea microcarpa are also common shrubs. Soft-leaved species of Carex spp and Poa spp typically make up most of the groundcover biomass, Forbs growing amongst the sedges include Drosera spp., Geranium neglectum, Gratiola spp., Mitrasacme serpyllifolia, Ranunculus spp. and Viola spp. Hummocks of Sphagnum moss may occur.

Swamp Sclerophyll Forest on Coastal Floodplains

Not listed

Open to dense stand of eucalypts and paperbarks. The most widespread and abundant dominant trees include swamp mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta), broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia). Other species associated with this community include swamp oak (Casuarina glauca), red mahogany (Eucalyptus resinifera), forest red gum (E. tereticornis), pink bloodwood (Corymbia intermedia), swamp box (Lophostemon suaveolens)

White Box Yellow Box Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland

Critically Endangered

Can occur either as woodland or derived native grassland (i.e. grassy woodland where the tree overstorey has been removed). Characterised by species-rich understorey of native tussock grasses, herbs and scattered shrubs (where shrub cover comprises less than 30% cover), and a dominance or prior dominance of white box (Eucalyptus albens) and/or yellow box (E. melliodora) and/or Blakely's red gum (E. blakelyi) trees.

White Gum Moist Forest

Not listed

Tall moist open forest scattered in sheltered positions on foothills and ranges. Dominant species is Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii) with flooded gum (E. grandis), Sydney blue gum (E. saligna), tallowwood (E. microcorys), brush box (Lophostemon confertus)

Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla dominant and sub-dominant)

Endangered

Acacia harpophylla open forest on sedimentary rocks. Can appear with Casuarina cristata and vine thicket species

Swamp Tea-tree (Melaleuca irbyana) Forest

Critically Endangered

Occurs as an open forest or thicket or scattered under open forest or woodland of narrow-leaved ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra), silver-leaved ironbark (E. melanophloia), grey box (E.moluccana), forest red gum (E. tereticornis) and spotted gum (Corymbia citriodora).

Source data: (i) www.ehp.qld.gov.au/ecosystems/biodiversity/regional-ecosystems/, (ii) www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/ and (iii) www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities/.

Table 18 Threatened terrestrial species of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion


IBRA subregion

Type

Endangered

Vulnerable

Total

Clarence Lowlands

Fauna

Flora

8

10

21

2

29

12

Clarence Sandstones

Fauna

Flora

9

29

54

22

63

51

Richmond-Tweed

Fauna

Flora

17

37

15

32

37

Woodenbong

Fauna

Flora

7

18

16

8

23

26

South-east Queensland

Fauna

Flora

24

48

51

95

75

143

Table 19 Species listed as threatened in the various IBRA subregions of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion


Class

IBRA subregion

Species

Threatened species

Threatened species

CL

CS

W

SR

RT

MB

State

EPBC

Bird

(only endangered shown)

Little tern (Sternula albifrons)

E,P

C,J,K

Curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

E,P

C,J,K

Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus)

E,P

E

Eastern bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus)

E,P

E

Australian painted snipe (Rostratula australis)

E,P

E

Black-Necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)

E,P

Bush stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius)

E,P

Pied oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris)

E,P

Swift parrot (Lathamus discolour)

E,P

E

Regent honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia)

E E

Coxen's fig-parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni)

E E

Red goshawk (Erythrotriorchis radiates)

E V

Mammal

Hastings river mouse (Pseudomys oralis)

E,P

E

Brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata)

E,P

V

Black-striped wallaby (Macropus dorsalis)

E,P

Spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

V,P

E

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

V,P

V

Grey-Headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

V,P

V

Large-Eared pied bat (Chalinolobus dwyeri)

V,P

V

Long-Nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus)

V,P

V

Brush-Tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa)

V,P

Common planigale (Planigale maculata)

V,P

Yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis)

V,P

Squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis)

V,P

Rufous bettong (Aepyprymnus rufescens)

V,P

Parma wallaby (Macropus parma)

V,P

Common blossom-bat (Syconycteris australis)

V,P

Yellow-bellied sheathtail-bat (Saccolaimus flaviventris)

V,P

Beccari's freetail-bat (Mormopterus beccarii)

V,P

Eastern freetail-bat (Mormopterus norfolkensis)

V,P

Hoary wattled bat (Chalinolobus nigrogriseus)

V,P

Eastern false pipistrelle (Falsistrellus tasmaniensis)

V,P

Golden-tipped bat (Kerivoula papuensis)

V,P

Little bentwing-bat (Miniopterus australis)

V

Eastern bentwing-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis)

V,P

Southern myotis (Myotis macropus)

V,P

Greater broad-nosed bat (Scoteanax rueppellii)

V,P

Eastern cave bat (Vespadelus troughtoni)

V,P

Eastern chestnut mouse (Pseudomys gracilicaudatus)

V,P

Eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus)

V,P

Eastern tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene robinsoni)

V,P

Eastern long-eared bat (Nyctophilus bifax)

V,P

Red-Legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica)

V

V

Plains rat (Pseudomys australis)

V

V

Long-Nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus)

V

V

Water mouse (Xeromys myoides)

V

V

Reptile

Long-Legged worm-skink (Anomalopus mackayi)

E

V

Grey snake (Hemiaspis damelii)

E

Collared delma (Delma torquata)

V

V

Three-Toed snake-tooth skink (Coeranoscincus reticulatus)

V,P

V

White-Crowned snake (Cacophis harriettae)

V,P

Pale-Headed snake (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus)

V,P

Stephens’ banded snake (Hoplocephalus stephensii)

V

E

Insect

Richmond birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia)

V

Giant dragonfly (Petalura gigantea)

E

Coastal petaltail (Petalura litorea)

E

Atlas rainforest ground-beetle (Nurus atlas)

E

Shorter rainforest ground-beetle (Nurus brevis)

E

Australian fritillary (Argyreus hyperbius inconstans)

E

Bulloak jewel (Hypochrysops piceata)

E

Illidge’s ant-blue (Acrodipsas illidgei)

V

Pale imperial hairstreak (Jalmenus eubulus)

V

Plants

(only nationally endangered)

Dwarf heath casuarina (Allocasuarina defungens)

E,P

E

Hairy melichrus (Melichrus hirsutus)

E,P

E

Rupp’s wattle (Acacia ruppii)

E,P

E

Nightcap plectranthus (Plectranthus nitidus)

E,P

E

Creek triplarina (Triplarina imbricata)

E,P

E

Scented acronychia (Acronychia littoralis)

E,P

E

Moonee quassia (Quassia sp. Mooney Creek)

E,P

E

Native jute (Corchorus cunninghamii)

E,P

E

White-flowered wax plant (Cynanchum elegans)

E,P

E

Ripple-leaf muttonwood (Myrsine richmondensis)

E,P

E

Southern ochrosia (Ochrosia moorei)

E,P

E

Cryptic forest twiner (Tylophora woollsii)

E,P

E

Isoglossa (Isoglossa eranthemoides)

E,P

E

Smooth davidson’s plum (Davidsonia johnsonii)

E,P

E

Red-fruited ebony (Diospyros mabacea)

E,P

E

Crystal creek walnut (Endiandra floydii)

E,P

E

(Amyema plicatula)

E,P

E

Sweet myrtle (Gossia fragrantissima)

E,P

E

Peach myrtle (Uromyrtus australis)

E,P

E

Spiny gardenia (Randia moorei)

E,P

E

Small-leaved tamarind (Diploglottis campbellii)

E,P

E

Narrow-leaf melichrus (Melichrus sp. Gibberagee)

E,P

E

Nightcap oak (Eidothea hardeniana)

CE

Davidson's plum (Davidsonia jerseyana)

E

Southern swamp orchid (Phaius australis)

E

Lady tankerville’s swamp orchid (Phaius tancarvilleae)

E

Banyabba shiny-barked gum (Eucalyptus pachycalyx subsp. banyabba)

E,P

E

Beadle’s grevillea (Grevillea beadleana)

E,P

E

Mason’s grevillea (Grevillea masonii)

E,P

E

Minyon quandong (Elaeocarpus sp. Rocky Creek)

E,P

E

Hairy quandong (Elaeocarpus williamsianus)

E,P

E

(Notelaea ipsviciensis)

E

CE

(Phebalium distans)

E

CE

(Cossinia australiana)

E

E

(Planchonella eerwah)

E

E

(Plectranthus habrophyllus)

E

E

(Gossia gonoclada)

E

E

(Leucopogon sp. Coolmunda D.Halford Q1635)

E

E

Swamp daisy (Olearia hygrophila)

E

E

Gastropod

Mitchell’s rainforest snail (Thersites mitchellae)

E

CE

Amphibian

Green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea)

E

V

Stuttering frog (Mixophyes balbus)

E

V

Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi)

E

E

Mountain frog (Philoria kundagungan)

E

Loveridge’s frog (Philoria loveridgei)

E

(Philoria richmondensis)

E

Giant barred frog (Mixophyes iterates)

E

E

Wallum sedgefrog (Litoria olongburensis)

V

V

Wallum rocketfrog (Litoria freycineti)

V

Cascade treefrog (Litoria pearsoniana)

V

Tusked frog (Adelotus brevis)

V

Fish

Oxleyan pygmy perch (Nannoperca oxleyana)

E

E

Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii)

V

Eastern freshwater cod (Maccullochella ikei)

E

E

Purple-spotted gudgeon (Mogurnda adspersa)

E

Australian lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri)

V

E = Endangered; CE = Critically Endangered; V = Vulnerable; P = Protected; C =China Australia Migratory Bird Agreement; J = Japan Australia Migratory Bird Agreement; K = Republic of Korea Australia Migratory Bird Agreement

Because of large numbers of species, the table only shows the endangered species for birds and the nationally endangered for plants.

Source data: (i) New South Wales Bionet (NSW Environment and Heritage, 2013)www.bionet.nsw.gov.au/, (ii) Qld Wildlife Online (Qld DEHP, 2013)www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/wildlife-online/ and (iii) Department of the Environment (2013a) www.environment.gov.au/node/19448.

Last updated:
23 March 2016
Thumbnail images of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion

Product Finalisation date

28 May 2014