Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion ecological community
Comment on Listing Assessment
About the nomination and assessment
Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest was first listed as an 'Endangered' ecological community under the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) on 1 April 2001. Since this time more information has become available on the ecological community, while methods for assessing ecological communities against EPBC criteria related to levels of threat have also been up-dated. Hence, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (the Committee) is reviewing the existing listing to improve information for decision-making. The revised name of the ecological community is ‘Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion ecological community’.
The listing review was placed on the 2013 Finalised Priority Assessment List (FPAL) by the Commonwealth Environment Minister. The assessment is due for completion by 31 July 2014.
Invitation to comment
It is a requirement under the EPBC Act for the Committee to undertake a period of public consultation as part of the assessment process. Therefore, the Department of the Environment (the Department), on behalf of the Committee, is seeking comments on the ‘Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion ecological community’ under assessment.
The Committee welcomes the views of experts, stakeholders and the general public on the draft Conservation Advice for the ecological community, as provided, and the proposal to list it as 'Critically Endangered' under the EPBC Act.
The draft Conservation Advice should be the focus of comments. Some questions to guide comments are provided below:
- Does the description clearly and accurately describe the ecological community? If not, how should it be amended?
- Are the lists of characteristic species accurate? If not, what should be added or removed?
- Are the key diagnostic characteristics sufficient to differentiate the ecological community from other similar ecological communities found in the region? If not, how should they be modified?
- Are the condition thresholds suitable for identifying patches of the ecological community that are of sufficient quality to warrant national protection? If not, how should they be modified?
- Do you consider the estimates of current and former extent presented to be valid and as accurate as possible, considering data availability? If not, please provide details.
- Are you aware of additional data that would refine or update these estimates?
- In your opinion, are the key threats currently affecting the ecological community, or threats likely to affect the community in the future adequately identified? If not, please provide details.
- Are you aware of data or other clear evidence of these threats and their likely impacts on the ecological community in the immediate, medium or long term future?
A Consultation Guide is also provided to assist with understanding the listing review of the Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest ecological community and listing of ecological communities under the EPBC Act.
All comments received will be forwarded to both the Committee and the Environment Minister. Information in the assessment, as well as other information received by the Department, will be used by the Committee to determine the threatened status and advise the Minister for the Environment on whether or not to amend the list of threatened ecological communities under the EPBC Act.
The public comment period closes on 11 July 2014.
If you wish to comment, please send your comments quoting the ecological community name to:
Ecological Communities Section
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Fax: (02) 6274 2214