Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999


National context and existing protection



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1.10National context and existing protection


The South East Coastal Plain Grassland is endemic to Victoria. Its geographic distribution encompasses several disjunct regional occurrences that are detailed in section 1.2 above.

Part of the national ecological community corresponds to the Plains Grassland (South Gippsland) Community that is listed as threatened in Victoria under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1998. The Victorian-listed community differs from the national ecological community in that the former only refers to occurrences in the Yarram and Western Port Bay regions, which were known at the time of the state listing (1994). The South East Coastal Plain Grassland ecological community takes note of occurrences that were since identified, notably an extension of range into western Victoria, on the Otway Plain. The national ecological community also cites key diagnostic features and condition thresholds.

Sites at Darriman Bushland Reserve and Pakenham Grassland Reserve are protected as reserves. The Parkside Aerodrome site near Yarram provides habitat for the nationally endangered Prasophyllum frenchii (maroon leek-orchid) and is managed for the conservation of that species. The nationally endangered Dianella amoena (matted flax-lily) is known or likely to occur at some sites.

Three other nationally threatened ecological communities also occur or extend into the South East Coastal Plain bioregion:

Gippsland Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis subsp. mediana) Grassy Woodland and Associated Native Grassland;

Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands (Freshwater) of the Temperate Lowland Plains; and

Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain.

They are discussed in more detail, including features that distinguish them from the South East Coastal Plain Grassland, in Appendix B.


2.Summary of threats


The key threats to the ecological community (FFG-SAC, 1994; Frood, 1994; Cook and Yugovic, 2003; DSE, 2004a and 2007) are summarised below:

Weed invasion, including encroachment of native shrubs.

Inappropriate biomass management regimes involving slashing, mowing, grazing and fire.

Inappropriate road and infrastructure maintenance works.

Fertiliser residues.

Changes to hydrology.

Fragmentation impacts.

Clearing.

A detailed description of key threats is at Appendix B.

3.Summary of eligibility for listing against EPBC Act criteria


Further details about how the ecological community was judged against the EPBC Act listing criteria can be found at Appendix C.

Criterion 1 – Decline in geographic distribution

The South East Coastal Plain Grassland has undergone a decline in extent of the ecological community in the order of 99.9%. The decline in geographic distribution of the ecological community is considered to be very severe. Therefore, the ecological community is eligible for listing as critically endangered under this criterion.



Criterion 2 – Small geographic distribution coupled with demonstrable threat

The extent of occurrence of the ecological community is indicative of a limited geographic distribution but the area of occupancy is indicative of a very restricted geographic distribution. All patches in the South Gippsland Plain distribution are less than 10 ha in size, which is consistent with a very restricted geographic distribution. While patch size data have not been obtained for the other parts of the range, these patches are also generally very small and believed to be consistent with a very restricted geographic distribution. The ecological community is subject to ongoing and demonstrable threats, as identified in Appendix B, that could cause it to be lost in the immediate future.

Therefore, the ecological community meets the relevant elements of Criterion 2 to make it eligible for listing as critically endangered.

Criterion 3 – Loss or decline of functionally important species

It is not possible to identify any single species of functional importance for the ecological community. While tussock grasses are a functionally important group of species in the South East Coastal Plain Grassland, there is no information indicating that these are in significant decline, and none of the species most prevalent in this ecological community is nationally threatened. Also, there are no quantitative data available to assess this ecological community under this criterion. Therefore, there is insufficient information to determine the eligibility of the ecological community.



Criterion 4 – Reduction in community integrity

Overall, the cumulative impacts from fragmentation, disturbance by human activities and loss of native diversity due to invasive herbs and shrubs have resulted in a severe reduction to integrity. The ecological community meets the relevant elements of Criterion 4 to make it eligible for listing as endangered.



Criterion 5 – Rate of continuing detrimental change

There are no quantitative data available to assess this ecological community under this criterion. Therefore, there is insufficient information to determine the eligibility of the ecological community for listing under this criterion.



Criterion 6 – Quantitative analysis showing probability of extinction

There are no quantitative data available to assess this ecological community under this criterion. Therefore, there is insufficient information to determine the eligibility of the ecological community for listing under this criterion.


4.Priority research and conservation actions

4.1Research and monitoring priorities


The following research priorities would inform future priority conservation actions for the South East Coastal Plain Grassland.

Conduct targeted flora and fauna survey mapping and site documentation to identify whether any additional patches of grassland occur in South Gippsland outside of the main known occurrences in the Yarram and Pakenham – Koo-Wee-Rup regions. In particular, locate and verify possible roadside remnants south of Koo-Wee-Rup and along the Bass Highway.

Implement management trials (adaptive experimental management) to determine best practice management methods for priority sites and, if necessary, adapt implementation of any existing site management plans.

Develop and implement a demographic population monitoring program for key grassland species.



  • Research the life histories, ecological roles and habitat requirements of key flora and fauna relevant to the ecological community.

  • Research the key ecological processes that contribute to long term resilience of patches.

  • Research methods to improve understorey diversity at low quality sites, including the most appropriate restoration techniques.

  • Research appropriate and integrated methods to manage weeds that affect the ecological community.

  • Assess the vulnerability and resilience of the ecological community to climate change and develop adaptive responses and appropriate recovery actions.

Kataloq: system -> files -> pages
pages -> Epbc act Listed Ecological Communities Mapping in the Lower Hunter prn 1213-0236
pages -> Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Values Study in the Cessnock Local Government Area and Surrounds
pages -> Wildlife Trade Operation proposal Harvest and export of native wildlife. Introduction
pages -> Draft banksia Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain – Draft description and threats
pages -> This summary has been produced by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water
pages -> This summary has been produced by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water
pages -> Appendix b – additional information about the ecological community
pages -> Focusing on the Landscape Biodiversity in Australia’s National Reserve System
pages -> Verticordia harveyi (Autumn Featherflower) Advice Page 1 of 4 Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee
pages -> Consultation Document on Listing Eligibility and Conservation Actions

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