It is intended that this Plan be implemented over a ten-year period



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3Addressing Threats


This Plan assessed threats in three ways. Firstly, threats to rainforest and related vegetation were listed, assessed and ranked. Secondly, different biological and geographic scales at which these threats operate were identified. Thirdly, geographic areas to form the focus of recovery action implementation were identified and mapped. In order to provide context to the actions in this Plan, the discussion of individual threats is presented in Section 4: Management Actions.

3.1Assessing and ranking threats to biodiversity


The approach to assess and rank threats adopted for this Plan was an adaptation of the Conservation Action Planning Process (Nature Conservancy 2007).

When considering the direct and indirect ways in which threats and threat activities affect biodiversity, it is useful to distinguish between the source of a stress upon biodiversity and the actual stress itself. For the purposes of this Plan, the sources of a stress are defined as the threatening processes and activities that cause stress on biodiversity. The stresses themselves are defined as the actual impacts caused by these threatening processes and activities. For this Plan, the four fundamental stresses on biodiversity have been identified as:



  • habitat loss

  • habitat modification

  • loss of individuals

  • loss of genetic integrity 1.

Threats affecting biodiversity and priority species and ecological communities were determined from a combination of expert opinion, published literature and available databases, including Unified Classification of Direct Threats (IUCN–CMP 2006) and Dataset on Threats to Biodiversity Listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994 (DEC 2006a).

The dataset on threats (DEC 2006a) included all key threatening processes listed under the EPBC Act, NSW TSC Act and NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994. Key threatening processes are processes that threaten, or may threaten, the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a species or ecological community. There are no provisions under Queensland legislation to list threatening processes.



Table 10 identifies the key threatening processes (or legislative equivalents) that are relevant to the Planning Area, and also indicates which of the listed processes has a relevant threat abatement plan or NSW statement of intent (as of September 2009). These plans detail appropriate actions and measures to ameliorate the impacts of the threat, and are referred to by this Plan in Section 4 and outlined in Appendix 1 (on the enclosed CD).

  1. Key threatening processes relevant to the Planning Area

TAP = Threat abatement plan approved or draft under consideration; SoI = Statement of intent approved; FM Act = NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994


Key threatening process (or equivalent)

EPBC

Act

NSW

TSC Act

FM Act

Climate change

Anthropogenic climate change





 

Habitat loss or change

Clearing of native vegetation





 

Eucalypt dieback associated with over-abundant psyllids and Bell Miners Manorina melanophrys









High frequency fire resulting in the disruption of life cycle processes in plants and animals and loss of vegetation structure and composition






 

Loss and/or degradation of sites used for hill-topping by butterflies






 

Loss of hollow-bearing trees






 

Removal of dead wood and dead trees






 

Weeds

Invasion and establishment of exotic vines and scramblers

 



 

Invasion of native plant communities by Bitou Bush and Boneseed Chrysanthemoides monilifera

 

TAP

 

Invasion of native plant communities by exotic perennial grasses

 



 

Invasion, establishment and spread of Lantana Lantana camara

 



 

Pests

Competition and grazing by the feral European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus

TAP






Competition and habitat degradation by feral Goats Capra hircus

TAP



 

Competition from feral Honeybee Apis mellifera

 



 

Herbivory and environmental degradation caused by feral Deer

 



 

Reduction of biodiversity due to Red Imported Fire Ants Solenopsis invicta





 

Introduction of the Large Earth Bumblebee Bombus terrestris

 



 

Invasion and establishment of the Cane Toad Bufo marinus





 

Invasion of the Yellow Crazy Ant Anoplolepis gracilipes

TAP



 

Predation by the Plague Minnow Gambusia holbrooki

 

TAP

 

Predation by the European Red Fox Vulpes vulpes

TAP

TAP

 

Predation by the feral Cat Felis catus

TAP



 

Predation and hybridisation by feral Dogs Canis lupus familiaris









Predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by feral Pig Sus scrofa

TAP



 

Diseases

Infection of frogs by amphibian chytrid causing the disease chytridiomycosis

TAP

SoI

 

Infection of native plants by Phytophthora cinnamomi

TAP

SoI

 

Psittacine circoviral (beak and feather) disease affecting endangered psittacine species and populations





 

Aquatic habitats

Alteration to the natural flow regimes of rivers and streams and their floodplains and wetlands

 






Degradation of native riparian vegetation along watercourses

 






Hook and line fishing in areas important for the survival of threatened fish species

 






Installation and operation of instream structures and other mechanisms that alter natural flow regimes of rivers and streams

 






Introduction of fish to fresh waters within a river catchment outside their natural range

 






Removal of large woody debris from rivers and streams

 




TAP

One hundred and eighty threat activities (i.e. 180 sources of the above four stresses) were identified as being active either in the past, present or future. These threats have been grouped into broad threat categories. Two over-arching threat categories (universal threats) were identified:

  • organisational-related impediments

  • anthropogenic climate change.

These two threat categories are treated separately because, although they are threats in their own right, both are considered over-arching threats that interact with and potentially exacerbate the other threat categories. The other ten broad threat categories identified were:

  1. habitat loss (human-induced)

  2. habitat degradation (human-induced)

  3. weed invasion and competition

  4. inappropriate fire regimes

  5. introduced pest animals

  6. Bell Miner associated dieback

  7. grazing and trampling by livestock

  8. human interference

  9. pathogens and disease

  10. demographic effects.

Each of these ten threats were ranked based on their overall contribution to the four threat stresses (habitat loss, modification, loss of individuals and genetic integrity) and their geographical extent, severity, and irreversibility across the Planning Area. In accordance with the ranking, categories are presented in decreasing order of severity, and therefore priority, in which they operate across the Planning Area. The objectives in Section 4: Management Actions are also ordered to reflect these priorities. Appendix 9 (on the enclosed CD) contains a full list of the threats assigned to each of the ten broad threat categories. It is important to note that many of these threat categories are frequently interconnected, and therefore often exacerbate each other.


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