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)





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



Invasion and establishment of exotic vines and scramblers



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




Invasion of native plant communities by exotic perennial grasses



Invasion, establishment and spread of Lantana Lantana camara




Competition and grazing by the feral European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus


Competition and habitat degradation by feral Goats Capra hircus



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



Predation by the Plague Minnow Gambusia holbrooki




Predation by the European Red Fox Vulpes vulpes




Predation by the feral Cat Felis catus



Predation and hybridisation by feral Dogs Canis lupus familiaris

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




Infection of frogs by amphibian chytrid causing the disease chytridiomycosis




Infection of native plants by Phytophthora cinnamomi




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



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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