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Edith Cowan University South West Campus

September 2007



Edith Cowan University

Flora & Vegetation Survey 

ECU South West Campus 




Onshore Environmental Consultants 


Flora & Vegetation Survey 

ECU South West Campus 




Onshore Environmental Consultants 
























Document Status 

Author Reviewer/s 

Approved for Issue 





Name Distributed 



Dr D. Brearley  Dr J. Bull 



Frank Collins 


Dr D. Brearley  Dr J. Bull 

14/11/07  D.Brearley 

Frank Collins 





























Cover photographs: a) Plot 2 EgEmCcBaAf - Hill Crests & Upper Hill Slopes (west), b) Priority 4 flora 

Caladenia speciosa, c) Plot 12 CcMpBl - Seasonally inundated dampland 





    The concepts and information contained in this document are the 

property of Onshore Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd.  Use or copying of this document in 

whole or in part without the written permission of Onshore Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd 

constitutes an infringement of copyright.   


DISCLAIMER: This report has been undertaken solely for Edith Cowan University.  No 

responsibility is accepted to any third party who may come into possession of this report in 

whatever manner and who may use or rely on the whole or any part of this report.  If any 

such third party attempts to rely on any information contained in this report such party 

should obtain independent advice in relation to such information.   


Onshore Environmental Consultants P/L 

ABN 41 095 837 120 

83 Norfolk St 

Dunsborough WA 6281 

pf 08 97 567 073 m 0427 339 842 


Flora & Vegetation Survey 

ECU South West Campus 




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Onshore Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd was commissioned by Edith Cowan 

Univeristy to report on issues relating to terrestrial flora and vegetation within native 

remnant vegetation at the South West Campus.   

A desktop search for flora of conservation significance previously collected from the 

survey locality was undertaken utilising the EPBC (Federal) and Department of 

Environment and Conservation (State) databases.  One plant taxon was identified 

from the Federal database, listed as ‘Vulnerable’.  Ten plant taxa were identified 

from the State database, including one Declared Rare Flora (DRF).   

A total of 250 plant taxa (including varieties and subspecies) from 58 families and 

171 genera were recorded from the survey area, including 47 alien taxa.  Species 

representation was greatest among the Asteraceae (21), Papilionaceae (20), 

Myrtaceae (20), Proteaceae (17), Poaceae (13), Orchidaceae (12), Anthericaceae 

(11), Cyperaceae (10) and Mimosaceae (10).   

One plant taxon (Caladenia speciosa P4) was of State conservation significance.  C. 

speciosa was collected from three separate locations on sandy flats between 

damplands to the west and lower dune slopes to the east.  No plant taxa were 

gazetted as Declared Rare Flora pursuant to subsection (2) of section 23F of the 

Wildlife Conservation Act (1950), and no plant taxa recorded were listed under the 

EPBC Act.   

Vegetation within the survey area consists of wetlands in the far west, a thin strip of 

‘sandy flats’ that support Corymbia calophylla, Banksia grandis and Banksia 

attenuata that rise into mid dune slopes and then upper slopes and hill crests 

(supporting tuart).  There are two vegetation associations on the ‘sandy flat’, partly 

due to prior tree clearing and disturbance from the old Rifle Range which has 

artificially created an open heathland.  The Tuart Woodland complexes have been 

separated into 'Tuart over mixed woodlands' and 'Tuart over mixed low forest 

dominated by peppie', which mainly occurs in deep dune swales in the far south and 

far north of the survey area.  On the east side of the dune system there is a localised 

area of hill slope vegetation supporting mixed low woodland, grading into the 

sandplains complex (jarrah-banksia).   

While tuart itself is not considered threatened, some of the vegetation communities 

supporting tuart are under-represented in conservation reserves, or not adequately 

protected on private lands.  Gibson et al. (1994) include vegetation of the survey 

area in Community type 21a ‘Central Banksia attenuata – Eucalyptus marginata 

woodlands’, which is described as sometimes supporting Eucalyptus gomphocephala 

as the dominant or codominant.  The complex occurs on both the Bassendean Dunes 

and the Spearwood system across the entire extent of the southern Swan Coastal 

Plain, and is determined by Gibson et al. (1994) to be ‘well reserved’ with a ‘low 

risk’ conservation status.  It is noted that a large proportion of the tuart complexes 

described at the ECU South West Campus support low visible disturbance 

understorey, particularly in southern parts.  However, tuart communities at the ECU 

South West Campus occur within the most common soil system represented along the 

Flora & Vegetation Survey 

ECU South West Campus 




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tuart belt (Spearwood) and within the most common rainfall zone (800-900 mm), and 

do not form part of any Threatened Ecological Community.  Future management 

considerations for remnant vegetation at the Campus should focus on maintaining 

vegetation condition, protecting the Priority 4 flora Caladenia speciosa, and 

maintaining connectivity between adjacent blocks of native vegetation at Hay Park 

(west side of SW Highway) and Manea Park (east side of College Grove).   

Flora & Vegetation Survey 

ECU South West Campus 




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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY_________________________________________________ i 


INTRODUCTION __________________________________________________ 1 



Preamble__________________________________________________________ 1




Existing Environment_______________________________________________ 1




Climate _________________________________________________________ 1




Landforms & Soils ________________________________________________ 1




Vegetation ______________________________________________________ 1


Figure 1


Regional location plan for the Edith Cowan University Bunbury Campus._____3



OBJECTIVES _____________________________________________________ 4 


METHODS _______________________________________________________ 4 



Field assessment___________________________________________________ 4




Assessment of conservation significance _____________________________ 5



RESULTS ________________________________________________________ 6 



Flora______________________________________________________________ 6


Table 1


Statistics for plant taxa recorded from the ECU South West Campus survey 

area. ________________________________________________________________6




Declared Rare and Priority Flora ____________________________________ 6


Table 2


Flora of conservation significance previously collected from the vicinity 

of the ECU South West Campus. ________________________________________ 7


Table 3


Location of Priority 4 flora Caladenia speciosa within the ECU South 

West Campus. ________________________________________________________ 7




Vegetation ________________________________________________________ 7


Figure 2


Vegetation map for the ECU South West Campus showing location of rare 

flora. ______________________________________________________________13


Figure 3


Vegetation condition map for the ECU South West Campus. _______________14




Conservation Status of Tuart Communities Represented______________ 15




Government of Western Australia 2003 ____________________________ 15




Ecoscape 2004 __________________________________________________ 15




Gibson et al. 1994 _______________________________________________ 16




Management Considerations to Maximise Biodiversity Conservation ___ 16




Protection of Rare Flora and Fauna________________________________ 16




Maintaining Connectivity _________________________________________ 17



STUDY TEAM ___________________________________________________ 17 


BIBLIOGRAPHY__________________________________________________ 18 



Vegetation classification used for the flora and vegetation survey (from 

Muir 1977). _________________________________________________________ 21




Vegetation condition rating as used in Perth’s Bushplan (Environmental 

Protection Authority, 1998). __________________________________________ 22




Conservation categories described under the EPBC Act. __________________ 22




Conservation Codes for Western Australian Flora (see Atkins 2007).________ 23




Total flora recorded within the ECU South West Campus survey area; 

September 2007.  * alien & naturalized_________________________________ 24




Site data sheets for the fourteen 10 m by 10 m plots formally assessed 

within the survey area._______________________________________________ 30


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1.1 Preamble 

The South West Campus of Edith Cowan University is situated in close proximity to 

the City of Bunbury (Figure 1), occurring within a 46 ha block of remnant Tuart 

Woodland (of which approximately 12 ha supports existing infrastructure).  As part of 

future planning initiatives, Onshore Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd was 

commissioned to undertake a terrestrial flora and vegetation survey of all remnant 

vegetation occurring within the Campus grounds.   

1.2 Existing 


1.2.1 Climate 

The Mediterranean climate of Bunbury is characterised by dry hot summers, and wet 

cool winters.  Annual rainfall averages 840 mm with highest falls received between 

the months of May and September (winter dominant).   


Landforms & Soils 

The survey area forms part of the Swan Coastal Plain and has a predominantly 

western aspect.  Soils are associated with two phases of the Spearwood Dunes (Qts) 

complex, which can be broadly described as siliceous yellow sands overlying Tamala 

Limestone (Churchward and McArthur 1980).  The ‘Spearwood S4c’ phase is 

associated with a seasonally wet dampland occurring on flat to gently undulating 

plains along the western fringe of the survey area.  Soils are deep yellow-brown or 

dark brown siliceous sands.  The ‘Spearwood S1b’ phase occurs on elevated dune 

ridges with slopes up to 15%.  Soils are deep siliceous yellow brown sands or pale 

sands with yellow-brown subsoil.   

1.2.3 Vegetation 

Beard (1981) described the limestone soils between Busselton and Bunbury as ‘Tuart 

Tall Woodland’.  Eucalyptus gomphocephala (tuart) is at the southern limit of its 

range within this phase, forming open stands between 30-40m tall.  The western 

fringe of this complex is represented as a single dominant stand with a well 

developed lower tree layer of Agonis flexuosa and Banksia spp. to about 15m.  Inland 

of the tall tuart complex Beard (1981) mapped a mixed woodland complex comprising 

a mosaic of Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah) and Corymbia  calophylla  (marri) 

woodland, Banksia attenuata and Banksia grandis low woodlandand Melaleuca spp. 

low woodland.   

Heddle et al. (1980) mapped vegetation of the survey area as ‘Karrakatta Complex - 

Central and South’.  This complex is associated with the Spearwood Dune System, 

which extends from Yanchep in the north to Capel in the south.  Vegetation is 

described as ‘Predominantly open forest of Eucalyptus gomphocephala - Eucalyptus 

marginata - Corymbia  calophylla, and woodland of Eucalyptus marginata - Banksia 


Gibson  et al. (1994) include vegetation of the survey area in Community type 21a 

‘Central Banksia attenuata – Eucalyptus marginata woodlands’, which is described as 

sometimes supporting Eucalyptus gomphocephala as the dominant or codominant.  

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The complex occurs on both the Bassendean Dunes and the Spearwood system, and is 

determined by Gibson et al. (1994) to be ‘well reserved’ and support a ‘low risk’ 

conservation status.   

A flora and vegetation of the actual survey area has previously been completed as 

part of an Environmental Management Plan for the ECU South West Campus (ATA 

Environmental 2006).  A total of 100 native plant species and 21 weed species were 

identified during this survey, with vegetation condition rated as ‘Good’ to ‘Very 

Good’.  Two Priority 4 species were recorded in the survey; Acacia flagelliformis (P4) 

and Caladenia speciosa (P4).   

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ECU South West Campus 





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Figure 1 

Regional location plan for the Edith Cowan University Bunbury Campus.   

Flora & Vegetation Survey 

ECU South West Campus 





Onshore Environmental Consultants 


The objectives of the flora and vegetation survey were to: 


Complete a desktop survey of Department of Environment & Conservation 

(DEC) and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 

databases, to determine the presence of rare flora previously collected or 

likely to occur within or nearby to the survey area; 


Describe and map vegetation types present within the survey area (addressing 

requirements of the Environmental Protection Authority 2004 Guidance 

Statement No 51); 


Identify the location of rare flora with Federal and/or State conservation 

significance within the survey area; and 


Submit a written report summarising outcomes for above tasks.   


3.1 Field 


Reporting is based on data recorded during a three day field survey completed on 10-

11 & 16 September 2007.  Field assessment coincided with peak flowering period, and 

a variety of annual and ephemeral life forms were recorded in season.   

Remnant vegetation in the study area was surveyed using methodology stated in 

Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Guidance No 51 (2004).  Prior to field work 

a variety of topographic, vegetation, and land system maps were used to provide 

preliminary vegetation classification of the site.  A series of transects within remnant 

vegetation was ground truthed and variations recorded by GPS and marked on an 

aerial photograph.  Temporary 10m x 10m quadrats were established using a compass 

and oriented due north.  Quadrats were strategically placed to record variation in 

vegetation structure and composition (Figure 2).  For each quadrat, the following 

information was recorded: 


GPS reading (WGS84) at the northwest corner of each quadrat; 


Digital photograph taken at the northwest corner of each quadrat; 


Topography & slope; 


Rock type, soil texture & soil colour, and surface layer description; 


Leaf litter cover & distribution; 


Wood litter cover & distribution; 


Vegetation condition using the Bush Forever rating (DEP 2000); 


Fire history (visual assessment); 


Disturbance information including details on dieback, grazing, access, erosion 

& weeds; 


Presence of Declared Rare or Priority Flora or other significant flora; 


Total flora list with record of individual species cover and height data; and 


A 10m wide area around the perimeter of each quadrat was also surveyed to 

record opportunistic flora additional to those observed within the plot.   

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The survey comprised a three day effort to identify flora, record identifiable changes 

in vegetation composition and structure, and assess vegetation condition.  During the 

field survey a classification was developed as a basis for mapping.  The resultant 

map, Figure 2, represents the ten major vegetation types subsequently described.  

Description of vegetation structure follows the height, life form and density classes 

of Muir (1977, Appendix 1).  This is largely a structural classification suitable for 

broader scale mapping, but taking all ecologically significant strata into account.  

Vegetation condition was assessed using a six-point rating as used in Perth’s Bushplan 

(DEP 2000, see Appendix 2).   

Voucher specimens were taken for selected species to verify identification that could 

not be confidently substantiated in the field.  Use was made of the Western 

Australian State Herbarium for confirmation of species identification.  Nomenclature 

follows Green (1985 & 1987), Paczkowska and Chapman (2000) and the Western 

Australian Herbarium.   


Assessment of conservation significance 

At a National level, flora is protected under the Commonwealth Environment 

Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).  The Act lists flora 

that are considered to be of conservation significance under one of six categories 

(Appendix 3).  A search of the EPBC database was undertaken to determine any flora 

of National conservation significance.  The search co-ordinates given were 

33.35411°S, 115.62867°E, 33.38143°S, 115.62867°E, 33.38143°S, 115.68057°E, 

33.3541°S, 115.68057°E.   

At a State level, native flora species are protected under the Wildlife Conservation 

Act 1950 - Wildlife Conservation (Rare Flora) Notice 2007.  A number of plant species 

are assigned an additional level of conservation significance based on a limited 

number of known populations and the perceived threats to these locations.  Species 

of the highest conservation significance are gazetted Declared Rare Flora (DRF) under 

subsection 2 of section 23F of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, while species 

which are believed to warrant a lesser level of protection are assigned to one of four 

Priority Flora categories (see Appendix 4).  The flora in many areas of Western 

Australia is poorly collected and hence, continually being reviewed by relevant 

government departments and academic institutions.  The Department of Environment 

and Conservation (DEC) regularly reviews and revises the schedule of Declared Rare 

and Priority Flora listings in Western Australia (Atkins 2007), and is responsible for 

collating and distributing this information.   

As part of the field survey, a search was undertaken by DEC for information on rare 

flora previously collected or described within, or in close proximity to, the survey 

area.  The database search was extended beyond the immediate survey limits to 

place the flora values into a regional context.  The search co-ordinates given were: 

NW corner 373250E 6308200N, NE corner 378000E 6308200N, SW corner 373250E 

6304325N and SE corner 378000E 6304325N.  The search investigated three 




The DEC Threatened (Declared Rare) Flora Data-base; 



The DEC Declared Rare and Priority Flora List - this list contains species that 

are declared rare (Conservation Codes R, X), poorly known (Conservation 

Codes 1, 2, 3), or require monitoring (Conservation Code 4); and  

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The Western Australian Herbarium Specimen Database for priority species 

opportunistically collected in the area of interest.   

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