Focusing on the Landscape Biodiversity in Australia’s National Reserve System Part B: Vascular Flora a report for Caring for Country



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Methods

The methods used in this paper are based on those used to undertake an analysis of the status 

of frogs in the PAs of Australian undertaken by Lemckert et al (2009).  Please refer to this 

paper for further details.

The 2006 CAPAD database lists 8780 IUCN criteria PAs (see Figure 1) that protect 

768,826,956 hectares (11.6%) of continental Australia, including Tasmania (see Error! 



Reference source not found.2).  This level of reservation provided the baseline for 

comparisons of the expected reservation levels for each group.

Records for the 50 most speciose families of Australian vascular flora were supplied by the 

Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 

through the Australian Natural Heritage Assessment Tool (ANHAT) database. This included 

data on species which have yet to be formally described. This database has been compiled 

from specimen and site records held in State, Territory and Commonwealth flora and fauna 

collections and wildlife atlases, and from the work of individual researchers. ANHAT is a 

custom-designed analysis tool built on Microsoft Access (Microsoft, 2003) and ArcGIS 

geographic information system (ESRI, 2005).

Records dated pre-1950 were excluded from the data sets, as earlier historical site records 

rarely have sufficient spatial accuracy for this type of analysis.  Furthermore, site records 

with a spatial error range >20 km were excluded and duplicate records removed.  Records 

within 500 m of each other were considered the same site and listed as a single spatial record.  

Due to time limitations, review of taxonomic and nomenclatural changes of the species in 

ANHAT was not performed. Time limitations also meant that names of undescribed species 

were not able to be put into the correct taxonomic format, so that in many cases informal 

names may appear italicised and/or not indicative of taxonomic rank.

Within each of the 50 flora families, any species with 30 or fewer records was noted and 

removed from further consideration.  Extinct species were listed where they occurred for 

each family, but were not considered further in the report.  Species with 30 or fewer records 

may have been rarely recorded because they are truly rare, difficult to identify, occur in 

remote locations or are very cryptic (e.g., subterranean orchids).  Many of these species 

probably have a combination of these factors acting to limit their records.  We removed them 

because we believe it is difficult to assess their relative state of reservation with reasonable 

accuracy.  For example, if a plant species has two site records and both fall in a reserve, it is 

not reasonable to assume that it is highly protected when most of its predicted range falls 

outside of reserves.  We also removed species that are now considered extinct.



18

Figure 1 Location of protected areas within the Australian Protected Area Network (taken 

from http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/nrs/science/locations.html).



Table 2 Area of IUCN category reserved lands within each state of Australia 

(http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/nrs/science/capad/2006/index.html)

Total Area (ha)

Reserve Area 

(ha)

Reserve 


Count

Area



Australia

768,826,956

89,528,859

8,780


11.6

ACT


235,813

129,040


42

54.7


NSW

80,121,268

6,755,798

736


8.4

NT

134,778,762



7,889,765

95

5.9



QLD

172,973,671

9,608,482

854


5.6

SA

98,422,137



25,115,119

1,845


25.5

TAS


6,840,133

2,721,392

940

39.8


VIC

22,754,364

3,832,094

2,784


16.8

WA

252,700,808



33,477,165

1,484


13.2

The site records of the remaining species were compared to Australia’s NRS (based on the 

2006 CAPAD database using the six IUCN recognized protected area categories to define 

reserves (http://www.iucn.org/about/union/commissions/wcpa/wcpa_overview/index.cfm).  



19

We determined three categories of information for each species: 1) how many site records 

fell within reserves; 2) in how many different reserves each species was recorded; and 3) in 

how many reserves greater than 1000 ha each species was recorded.  We also attempted to 

categorise their broad relative location within Australia and the types of habitats in which 

they occur, providing an opportunity to look for patterns amongst the better and less 

protected species.  The break up of these categories is presented in Tables 3and 5.  In 

many instances, some or all of this information was not found for a given species, at least in 

any simple form, and the categories could not be filled in.  However, there was data available 

for many species and this came from a wide range of sources, which are fully listed in the 

reference section at the end of this document.  However, the main sources of information for 

these 50 vascular plant families were:

PlantNET - The Plant Information Network System of Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney: 

plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

Australian Plant Name Index – APNI: www.cpbr.gov.au/apni/index.html

Flora of Australia Online: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/online-resources/flora/main/  

NSW Herbarium Collection: accessed through GBIF data portal

http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/47

Australian Antarctic Division Herbarium: accessed through GBIF data portal, 

http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/76

Australia's Virtual Herbarium Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria

State Herbarium of South Australia: 

www.environment.sa.gov.au/science/state-

herbarium/overview.html

Queensland Herbarium: 

www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/plants/queensland_herbarium/index.html

Australian National Herbarium, Canberra: 

www.cpbr.gov.au/cpbr/index.html

Tasmanian Herbarium: 

www.tmag.tas.gov.au/Herbarium/Herbarium2.htm

National Herbarium of Victoria: 

www.rbg.vic.gov.au/research_and_conservation/herbarium

National Herbarium of New South Wales: 

www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/science/systematics_research

Northern Territory Herbarium: 

http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/wildlife/plants/index.html

Western Australian Herbarium: http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/science-and-research/wa-

herbarium/index.html



20

Limitations of the information provided in this report are outlined below:

There was no facility to extract information either by family or genera to species level where 

the data could then be matched in a database and exported to the relevant tables.  

Geographical distribution and habitat requirements were, in most cases, done on a species-

by-species basis. This meant searching the websites listed above was very time consuming 

and not a practical way to extract information for thousands of species. The use of the Global 

Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), where data can be extracted based on particular 

criteria, e.g. kingdom, Country, Region, latitude/longitude, was of great assistance in 

determining geographical distributions.  However, it did not provide habitat information and 

the geographical distributions provided could have underestimated the distribution.  In all 

cases where habitat information is listed in a table, the data was extracted from various web 

based sources. In the tables where only geographical distribution (no vegetation type) is 

provided, the information was sourced from GBIF and the location information for a species 

may be incomplete.

Families where information for both geographical distribution and vegetation type were 

available and assessed were: Myrtaceae (57% complete), Fabaceae, Proteaceae, Orchidaceae, 

Mimosaceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Casuarinaceae, Aizoaceae and Asteliaceae.  The remaining 

families used only the data available from GBIF and could be assessed if greater time were 

available for this task. 

The “Area (km

2

)” column in the tables was calculated from the number of 10 km by 10 km 



grid cells in which a species occurs. The area may be disjunct or contiguous, and could 

understate or overstate the true area occupied by a species.

In some instances species with fewer than 30 records in the ANHAT database is an artefact 

of taxonomic and nomenclatural changes that have not been updated in ANHAT.  

Information on distribution or vegetation type for some species with greater than 30 records 

was not available in the websites due to these changes.  A taxonomic and nomenclatural 

review of the records held in ANHAT would remove some of these records from the report 

or could change the tables in which they are recorded.



21

Table 3  Vegetation type codes

Vegetation Type

Code

Alluvial Flats/Floodplain

AF

Alpine


Al

Arid


Ar

Boggy seeps

Bs

Casuarina thickets



Cas

Caves


Cave

Coastal Flats

CF

Cliffs


Cl

Clay soils/pan

Clay

Coastal


Co

Coastal Swamplands

CSw

Coastal Veg



CV

Dunes


D

Dune Fields

DF

Disturbed



Dis

Dry rainforest

DRF

Eucalypt


Euc 

Farmland


FL

Forest


For

Floodplains

Fp

Gibber


gib

Gorges


Gor

Grassland

GrL

Heath


He

Hummock Grass

HG

High altitude



Hgh 

Herb fields 

Hrb

Coastal heath lands in 



SW Australia

Kwongan


Litter

Lit


Limestone

LS

Mallee



Mal

Mangroves

Man

Under Melaleuca 



Mel

Montane


Mon

Montane woodland

MonW

Monsoon Forest



MsFor

Mulga


Mul

Open Country

Op

Plains


P

Paperbarks

Pap

Roadside


Rd

Rainforest  

RF

Rocky Habitats



RH

Riverine


Riv

Saline depressions

Sa

Saline


Sa

Sub Alpine Herbfield

SAHrb

Salt Lake 



SaL

Sandstone

Sand

Sandy Plains



SaP

Arid Semi

SAr

Salt Bush



SB

Scrub


Sc

Sedges


Sed

Shrublands

SL

Salt Marsh



SM

Spinifex


Sp

Sub Alpine

SuA

Thicket


Th

Urban


Urb

Vine forests

VFor

Waterways



wat

Wet areas (swamps, 

depressions, bogs, 

seepages, marshes)

Wet

Wet Forest



Wet For

Woodland


WL

Table 4  Codes for broad location distributions

Location


Description

ACT


Australian Capital Territory

NSW


New South Wales

NT

Northern Territory



QLD

Queensland

SA

South Australia



TAS

Tasmania


WA

Western Australia



Table 5a  Environment Protection and 

Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) 

threatened status codes.

Code

Threatened status



CE

Critically endangered

EN

Endangered



VU

Vulnerable

CD

Conservation dependant



NL

not listed under the EPBC Act

EX

Extinct


22

Table 5  Codes for more detailed location distributions

Location 

Code

Location


Description

W

West



Bound by 120

E longitude in the east and 30



o

latitude in the south and 20



o

S latitude in the north.

SW

South West



Bound by Northern Territory/Western Australian border 

(approx 129

o

E longitude) in the east and 30



latitude 

S in the north.

NW

North West



Bound by 20

o

S latitude in the south and Northern 



Territory/Western Australian border (approx 129

o



longitude) in the east.

WI

West Inland



Bound by 20

o

S latitude in the north and by 120



longitude in the west, 30



o

S latitude in the south and by 

Northern Territory/Western Australian border (approx 

129


o

E longitude) in the east.

CN

Central 


North

Bound by Northern Territory/Western Australian border 

(approx 129

o

E longitude) in the west, 141



o

longitude in the east (in line with NSW/South 



Australian border) in the east and 20

o

S latitude in the 



south.

CI

Central 



Inland

Bound by Northern Territory/Western Australian border 

(approx 129

E longitude) in the west, 141



o

E longitude 

in the east (NSW/South Australian border) in the east, 

approx 20

o

S latitude in the north and 30



o

S latitude in 

the south.

CS

Central 



South

Bound by Northern Territory/Western Australian border 

(approx 129

E longitude) in the west, 141



o

E longitude 

in the east (NSW/South Australian border) in the east 

and 30


o

S latitude in the south.

NE

North East



Bound by 141

o

E longitude in the west (in line with 



NSW/South Australian border) and 20

o

S latitude in the 



south.

E

East



Bound by 146

o

E longitude in the west and 20



o

latitude in the north and 34



o

S latitude (approx Sydney) 

in the south.

EI

East Inland



Bound by 141

o

E longitude in the west (in line with 



NSW/South Australian border) and 146

o

E longitude in 



the east and by 20

o

S latitude in the north and 34



o

latitude (approx Sydney) in the south.



SE

South-East

Bound by 141

o

E longitude in the west 



(Victorian/South Australian border) and 34

o

S latitude 



(approx Sydney) in the north.

TAS


Tas

Tasmania


TAS Is

TAS Is


Islands around Tasmania

23

Results and Discussion

The findings obtained for each of the 50 most speciose vascular plant families in 

Australia are presented separately.

Myrtaceae

The ANHAT database has 786448 records for 2253 species and subspecies of 

Myrtaceae. Due to time limitations, review of taxonomic and nomenclatural changes 

of the species in ANHAT was not performed. 

One species of Myrtaceae is considered extinct and therefore excluded from analysis. 

This species is presented in Table 6.



Table 6. Myrtaceae species considered extinct

Species


Common name

No. of 


records

Calothamnus accedens

15

One hundred and forty-six species account for approximately 50% of the total species 



records in ANHAT. These species are each represented by more than 1000 records, 

and, in the case of the Messmate (Eucalyptus obliqua), over 13000 records.



Table 7  Myrtaceae species that account for approximately 50% of the total species 

records in ANHAT.

Species

No. Records



% total 

records


Eucalyptus camphora

1137


0.1

Eucalyptus racemosa

1138


0.1

Acmena smithii

1157


0.1

Eucalyptus stellulata

1168


0.1

Melaleuca linariifolia

1168


0.1

Calytrix brownii

1174


0.1

Corymbia grandifolia

1175


0.1

Syzygium suborbiculare

1180


0.1

Corymbia setosa

1182


0.1

Syncarpia glomulifera

1183


0.1

Eucalyptus eugenioides

1198


0.1

Corymbia aparrerinja

1201


0.1

Corymbia bella

1212


0.1

Eucalyptus globulus

1213


0.1

24

Eucalyptus aromaphloia

1216


0.1

Babingtonia behrii

1232


0.1

Melaleuca gibbosa

1242


0.1

Leptospermum trinervium

1247


0.1

Neofabricia myrtifolia

1248


0.1

Leptospermum scoparium

1251


0.1

Lophostemon lactifluus

1277


0.1

Eucalyptus transcontinentalis 1279

0.1


Eucalyptus elata

1284


0.1

Syzygium angophoroides

1285


0.1

Eucalyptus viridis

1307


0.2

Eucalyptus leucophloia

1310


0.2

Eucalyptus botryoides

1315


0.2

Eucalyptus brevifolia

1316


0.2

Corymbia foelscheana

1319


0.2

Gossia bidwillii

1322


0.2

Melaleuca stenostachya

1335


0.2

Leptospermum grandifolium

1336


0.2

Melaleuca brevifolia

1339


0.2

Asteromyrtus symphyocarpa

1366


0.2

Eucalyptus concinna

1376


0.2

Eucalyptus phenax

1409


0.2

Leptospermum polygalifolium 1413

0.2


Corymbia polysciada

1420


0.2

Melaleuca argentea

1420


0.2

Eucalyptus moluccana

1423


0.2

Angophora leiocarpa

1424


0.2

Eucalyptus propinqua

1441


0.2

Eucalyptus phoenicea

1450


0.2

Melaleuca glomerata

1471


0.2

Eucalyptus croajingolensis

1511


0.2

Eucalyptus croajingolensis

1511


0.2

Melaleuca bracteata

1525


0.2

Eucalyptus gamophylla

1531


0.2

Melaleuca decussata

1531


0.2

Eucalyptus microcorys

1550


0.2

Eucalyptus bicostata

1567


0.2

Eucalyptus brachycalyx

1578


0.2

Corymbia erythrophloia

1607


0.2

Eucalyptus cephalocarpa

1612


0.2

Lophostemon grandiflorus

1613


0.2

Eucalyptus albens

1635


0.2

Eucalyptus platyphylla

1638


0.2

Eucalyptus siderophloia

1656


0.2

Leptospermum laevigatum

1679


0.2

Corymbia ferruginea

1686


0.2

Eucalyptus blakelyi

1692


0.2

Eucalyptus loxophleba

1712


0.2

Eucalyptus bridgesiana

1717


0.2

Leptospermum coriaceum

1799


0.2

25

Melaleuca quinquenervia

1807


0.2

Eucalyptus dalrympleana

1844


0.2

Eucalyptus cullenii

1856


0.2

Corymbia latifolia

1907


0.2

Eucalyptus muelleriana

1911


0.2

Eucalyptus consideniana

1923


0.2

Corymbia dichromophloia

1935


0.2

Eucalyptus populnea

1948


0.2

Corymbia bleeseri

1964


0.2

Xanthostemon paradoxus

1991


0.2

Eucalyptus fastigata

1996


0.2

Eucalyptus pruinosa

2000


0.2

Eucalyptus mannifera

2016


0.2

Eucalyptus odorata

2024


0.2

Leptospermum lanigerum

2039


0.2

Eucalyptus tectifica

2049


0.2

Eucalyptus calycogona

2052


0.2

Eucalyptus fibrosa

2060


0.2

Eucalyptus microtheca

2072


0.2

Eucalyptus chlorophylla

2078


0.2

Corymbia hylandii

2098


0.2

Melaleuca ericifolia

2120


0.2

Eucalyptus leptophleba

2189


0.3

Corymbia citriodora

2214


0.3

Corymbia trachyphloia

2222


0.3

Eucalyptus melanophloia

2264


0.3

Eucalyptus fasciculosa

2265


0.3

Eucalyptus intertexta

2265


0.3

Eucalyptus diversifolia

2328


0.3

Corymbia tessellaris

2439


0.3

Eucalyptus coolabah

2439


0.3

Eucalyptus delegatensis

2465


0.3

Eucalyptus rubida

2579


0.3

Eucalyptus acmenoides

2670


0.3

Calytrix exstipulata

2682


0.3

Eucalyptus exserta

2740


0.3

Melaleuca squarrosa

2746


0.3

Eucalyptus porosa

2830


0.3

Melaleuca cajuputi

2878


0.3

Lophostemon confertus

2988


0.4

Eucalyptus regnans

2991


0.4

Corymbia polycarpa

3039


0.4

Corymbia confertiflora

3097


0.4

Eucalyptus largiflorens

3133


0.4

Eucalyptus leptophylla

3254


0.4

Eucalyptus incrassata

3318


0.4

Lophostemon suaveolens

3343


0.4

Melaleuca uncinata

3380


0.4

Melaleuca leucadendra

3557


0.4

Melaleuca nervosa

3576


0.4

26

Eucalyptus dumosa

3692


0.4

Corymbia nesophila

3762


0.4

Eucalyptus goniocalyx

4047


0.5

Corymbia intermedia

4149


0.5

Eucalyptus oleosa

4253


0.5

Eucalyptus dives

4292


0.5

Corymbia terminalis

4436


0.5

Eucalyptus microcarpa

4503


0.5

Melaleuca lanceolata

4567


0.5

Eucalyptus miniata

4610


0.5

Eucalyptus macrorhyncha

4626


0.5

Eucalyptus gracilis

4740


0.6

Eucalyptus baxteri

4794


0.6

Eucalyptus melliodora

4866


0.6

Eucalyptus pauciflora

5277


0.6

Eucalyptus tereticornis

5350


0.6

Eucalyptus globoidea

5353


0.6

Leptospermum myrsinoides

5370


0.6

Eucalyptus ovata

5408


0.6

Eucalyptus leucoxylon

5484


0.7

Eucalyptus sieberi

5598


0.7

Corymbia clarksoniana

6137


0.7

Calytrix tetragona

6407


0.8

Eucalyptus socialis

6813


0.8

Eucalyptus cypellocarpa

7330


0.9

Leptospermum continentale

8647


1.0

Eucalyptus crebra

8698


1.0

Eucalyptus radiata

9130


1.1

Melaleuca viridiflora

9368


1.1

Eucalyptus viminalis

9687


1.2

Eucalyptus tetrodonta

9703


1.2

Eucalyptus camaldulensis

11185


1.3

Eucalyptus obliqua

13389


1.6

Total


416161

48.58


Four hundred and sixty-one species had 30 or fewer individual site records in the 

ANHAT database (Table 8). Of those species, 45 are listed as threatened (including 

25 species classified as endangered). These species have been excluded from analysis 

but are included here for reference. This paucity of records means that it is not 

possible to provide accurate broad locations for some of the species.  The species with 

information available are spread across Australia, however, there is an indication that 

a species in this category is more likely to be found in Western Australia than other 

parts of Australia.  In addition, and not surprisingly, these species tend to have only 

small recorded distributional areas, mostly less than 1000 km

2

.  Exclusion of these 



poorly recorded species eliminates 6068 records.

27

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