This project has been jointly funded by the New South Wales and Commonwealth Governments and managed through the Resource and Conservation Division, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, and the Forests Taskforce, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
This project has been overseen and the methodology has been developed through the Environment and Heritage Technical Committee which includes representatives from the NSW and Commonwealth Governments and stakeholder groups.
The project has been overseen and the methodology has been developed by Environment Australia. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service oversaw and developed the methodology for the identification and assessment of centres of endemism.
While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that this document is correct at the time of printing, the State of New South Wales, its agents and employees, and the Commonwealth of Australia, its agents and employees, do not assume any responsibility and shall have no liability, consequential or otherwise, of any kind, arising from the use of or reliance on any of the information contained in this document.
This report has been prepared for the joint Commonwealth/State Senior Officials Committee, which oversees the comprehensive regional assessments of forests in New South Wales.
The comprehensive regional assessments (CRAs) provide the scientific basis on which the State and Commonwealth governments will sign regional forest agreements (RFAs) for the major forests of New South Wales. These agreements will determine the future of the State’s forests, providing a balance between conservation and ecologically sustainable use of forest resources.
As defined in the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975, the national estate comprises:
those places, being components of the natural environment of Australia, or the cultural environment of Australia, that have aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance or other special value for future generations as well as for the present community.
This report was undertaken to document the methodology and rule-sets used to identify potential areas of natural national estate significance. The work was undertaken by Environment Australia (EA) and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in consultation with State Forests New South Wales (SFNSW).
The process of identifying potential national estate involved asking a series of expert panels to identify species, known areas or landscape features (such as rock outcrops for example) that met the requirements for national estate criteria. The outputs from these workshops were combined with the result of literature reviews and the experience of previous CRAs to create rule-sets. Where available, separate rule-sets were used for species based analysis and the identification of landscape features or areas. Rule-sets were then applied to data gathered during CRA assessments. The results of different rule-sets were cross-validated to generate the final set of layers. These are expressed in terms of relevant criteria. Areas identified in this report as having potential national estate value are indicative only and are not necessarily the delineated forested areas that will be listed in the Register of the National Estate.
The results of these analyses are presented here.
Note: All area calculations contained in this report are based on grid analysis and are therefore have a minimum resolution, in most cases 100 m (one hectare) for localised values and 500 m (25 hectares) for extensive values. Consequently, all area figures should be regarded as indicative only.
Executive Summary 5
List of Tables in the Text 9
List of Maps 10
1. INTRODUCTION 11
2. PROCESS 12
2.1 Criteria 12
2.2 Thresholds 13
2.3 Data 13
2.4 Methodology 14
3. Extensive natural values 16
National Estate Criterion A.2— ‘importance in maintaining existing processes or natural systems at the regional or national scale’, and 16
National Estate Criterion B.1— ‘importance for rare, endangered or uncommon flora, fauna, communities, ecosystems, natural landscapes or phenomena, or as a wilderness’. 16
3.1 Wilderness 16
3.2 Natural landscapes 20
3.3 Undisturbed catchments 22
3.4 Old-growth forest 25
4. Flora and Fauna Values 27
Localised natural flora and fauna values 27
Sub-Criterion A.1: Importance in the evolution of Australia’s natural history 27
4.1 Flora and fauna species endemic to region 28
4.2 Flora and fauna with disjunct populations 30
4.3 Flora and Fauna at the end of their distribution range 32
4.4 Flora and fauna refuges 34
4.5 Primitive, relictual, and phylogenetically distinct species 36
Sub-Criterion A.2: Importance in maintaining existing processes or natural systems at the regional or national scale 39
4.6 Migratory species 39
4.7 Important habitat 41
4.8 Remnant vegetation and rare old-growth forest 43
4.9 Vegetation succession 45
Sub-Criterion A.3: Importance in exhibiting unusual richness or diversity of flora 45
4.10 Flora and fauna species richness 45
4.11 Vegetation community richness 47
4.12 Habitat richness 48
Sub-Criterion B1: Importance for rare, endangered or uncommon flora, fauna, communities, ecosystems, natural landscapes or phenomena, or as a wilderness 49
4.13 Rare old-growth forest 50
4.14 Rare, threatened or uncommon flora and fauna species and their habitats 50
4.15 Rare, threatened or uncommon vegetation communities 52
Sub-Criterion D.1: Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of the range of landscapes, environments or ecosystems, the attributes of which identify them as being characteristic of their class. 53
4.16 Principal characteristics of class 53
5. Other natural values 54
5.1 Geological and geomorphological and soil values 54
6. Protecting natural heritage values and places in NSW forests 56
7. REFERENCES and Bibliography 57
8. Glossary 62
APPENDIX A – AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE COMMISSION CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTER OF THE NATIONAL ESTATE 71
APPENDIX B – Fauna and Flora Lists used in National Estate Assessments - 73
APPENDIX C – Summary of Landscape Values Identified by Experts 134
APPENDIX D – Summary of Areas Identified by Experts 136
APPENDIX E – List of Data Layers That Contributed to National Estate Analysis 138
APPENDIX F – Existing Protective Mechanisms for Natural National Estate Values in NSW 139
APPENDIX G – List of experts consulted in assessment of Natural National Estate Values in NSW 148
APPENDIX H – Sites Identified with Spatial Information for Geoheritage 150
APPENDIX I – Sites Identified with Spatial Information for other natural history sites 154