Lignum shrubland, Macquarie Marshes NSW (Photo: K. Brandis)
Structure and physiognomy
Composed of a canopy of low to tall shrubs with a height of 1 –10 m and projected foliage cover varying from less than 10% up to 70%.
Canopy density influences the structure of the ground layer.
Ground layer is highly variable depending on soil moisture and texture, potentially including sclerophyllous sedges and rushes to perennial and/or ephemeral forbs and graminoids.
Dominant shrub species may belong to genera such as Allocasuarina, Banksia, Bursaria, Dodonaea, Duma, Eremophila, Grevillea, Kunzea, Leucopogon, Persoonia, Thryptomene, Neofabricia and Nitraria.
Three subgroups are described.
Lignum shrublands are dominated by Duma florulenta (formerly Muehlenbeckia). Other shrubs present may include species of Chenopodium, Acacia and Atriplex. Frequently present graminoids are Eragrostis sororia, Eragrostis speciosa, Eragrostis lacunaria, Fimbristylis dichotomaand species of Aristida Astrebla, Dactyloctenium, Digitaria and Enteropogon. Forbs include Marsilea drummondii, Waltheria indica, Alternanthera nodiflora, Atriplex semibaccata, Atriplex spongiosa, Euphorbia drummondii, Dissocarpus biflorus and Sphaeromorphaea littoralis (Keith 2004; Neldner et al. 2014).
Melaleuca shrublands include a wide variety of Melaleuca species as dominant in the canopy depending on site characteristics and climate. Shrublands associated with mallee and other semi-arid systems may dominated by Melaleucabrevifolia and Melaleuca uncinata. Brackish or semi-saline environments may include shrublands dominated by Melaleuca halmaturorum or Melaleuca ericifolia.Coastal shrublands include Melaleuca huegelii in south-western Australia or Melaeuca armillaris in south-eastern Australia. Mire systems (MVG 21) in Tasmania and other parts of south-eastern Australia include dense shrublands dominated by Melaleuca squarrosa with a ground layer of sedges and ferns.
Other shrublands that includes a broad range of shrub species such as Allocasuarina, Banksia, Bursaria, Dodonaea, Eremophila, Grevillea, Kunzea, Leucopogon, Persoonia, Thryptomene, Neofabricia and Nitraria.
Distributed across a very wide range of environmental conditions within semi-arid rangelands to temperate coastal areas in the south-east and western areas of Australia.
Lignum shrublands and wetlands occur on inland floodplains and within broad drainage channels (Keith 2004; Neldner et al. 2014).
Melaleuca shrublands occur in widely contrasting environments, mostly within the temperate climate zone. These include semi-arid sandplains, coastal sand dunes, subsaline wetlands and freshwater mires.
leasehold land, protected areas, some other crown land, little scattered freehold land
protected areas, leasehold and freehold land, other crown land
Biodiversity including a large variety of species within the plant communities, particularly after seasonal rains.
Remnant populations of a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate species.
Lignum shrublands provide breeding habitat for a wide range of birds and mammals, including some rare and endangered species.
List of key management issues
Total grazing pressure management.
Feral animal control.
Preventing further fragmentation of remnant of native vegetation.
Maintenance of appropriate fire regimes.
As with other rangeland areas there are public policy issues of stewardship and land capability to support use, especially on leasehold lands.
Ongoing investment in development of rangelands monitoring systems remains a priority will provide increased opportunities for efficiencies in pastoral management and nature conservation investments within this MVG.
Australian Surveying and Land Information Group (1990) Atlas of Australian Resources. Volume 6 Vegetation. AUSMAP, Department of Administrative Services, Canberra, 64pp. & 2 maps.
Beadle N.C.W. (1981) The Vegetation of Australia. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 690pp.
Beard J.S., Beetson, G.R, Harvey J.M. Hopkins A.J.M and Shepherd D.P. (2013). The Vegetation of Western Australia at 1:3,000,000 Scale. Explanatory Memoir. Second Edition. Science Division, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia
Keith D. (2004) Ocean Shores to Desert Dunes. The native vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT. Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW), Hurstville.
National Land and Water Resources Audit (2001) Australian Native Vegetation Assessment 2001. National Land and Water Resources Audit, Canberra, 332pp.
Neldner, V.J., Niehus, R.E., Wilson, B.A., McDonald, W.J.F. and Ford, A.J. (2014). The Vegetation of Queensland. Descriptions of Broad Vegetation Groups. Version 1.1. Queensland Herbarium, Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts.
Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA), Version 6.1.
Land Tenure in Australia's Rangelands (1955 to 2000), National Land and Water Resources Audit.
National Vegetation Information System, Version 4.1.
1996/97 Land Use of Australia, Version 2.
Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database – CAPAD 2004 – Terrestrial.
See the Introduction to the MVG fact sheets for further background on this series.