Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Hobart, 2011
Current status & reasons for listing
Eucalyptus ovata – Callitris oblonga Forest is listed as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) because:
- its geographic distribution is restricted and is coupled with ongoing demonstrable threat;
- it faces the loss or significant decline of a key species in the ecological community;
- its integrity is being substantially reduced across most of its geographic range.
Eucalyptus ovata – Callitris oblonga Forest occurs on alluvial flats and in habitats in and adjacent to riparian zones in Tasmania's Midlands and East. The most extensive stands occur on the St. Pauls and Apsley Rivers.
The community is characterised by:
- an overstorey of eucalypts, typically black gum (Eucalyptus ovata), but also with white gum (E. viminalis) or black peppermint (E. amygdalina) in some patches;
- a midstorey of south esk pine (Callitris oblonga subsp. oblonga); and
- a shrubby understorey, where prickly box (Bursaria spinosa), slender honeymyrtle (Melaleuca gibbosa) and silver wattle (Acacia dealbata) are common.
The Tasmanian endemic Callitris oblonga subsp. oblonga is one of only two conifers found in the drier regions of Tasmania, the other being Callitris rhomboidea (oyster bay pine). It grows to a height of 10 m, has a compact canopy of green, glaucous foliage, and female seed-bearing cones with oblong scales.
Eucalyptus ovata – Callitris oblonga Forest includes riparian forest dominated by eucalypts (usually Eucalyptus ovata, but also E. amygdalina and E. viminalis), riparian scrub, forest with grassy understoreys on poorly drained sites and forest on well-drained and rocky sites. This variation in the community reflects the heterogeneity of the near-stream environment. Harris and Kirkpatrick (1991a) have described a number of floristic communities that feature Callitris oblonga subsp. oblonga, including Eucalyptus ovata – Callitris oblonga – Melaleuca gibbosa shrubby woodland, a community of alluvial river flats, and Callitris oblonga – Callistemon pallidus tall open shrubland, a community of rocky (dolerite) riparian sites. The variation between community subtypes is often continuous.
Eucalyptus ovata forest and woodland are themselves of very high conservation value in Tasmania, being listed as threatened under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002 (NC Act). Eucalyptus ovata typically grows in wetter areas, such as poorly-drained flats and along rivers. Underlying soils are often fertile and this has contributed to the significant decline in this forest community as land clearing and drainage has taken place.