Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist in referral, environmental assessment and compliance issues, refer to the Listing Advice and/or Conservation Advice and Recovery Plan. The Listing and/or Conservation Advice define the national ecological community and may include Key Diagnostic Characteristics, Condition Thresholds, Priority Research and Conservation Actions and additional considerations.
In addition, for recovery planning, mitigation and conservation information, refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice.


EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Date Effective 04 Apr 2001
Listing and Conservation Advices For ecological communities listed from 2013 onwards, there is no separate listing advice. Instead, the advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee regarding the listing status of the ecological community and recommendation regarding a recovery plan are contained within the Conservation Advice.
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001o) [Listing Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, a recovery plan would contribute to the protection, conservation and management of the listed ecological community and would provide for the research and management actions necessary to stop the decline of, and support the recovery of, the listed ecological community so that the chances of long-term survival in nature are maximised (17/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans National recovery plan for the Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions ecological community (McDonald, W.J.F, 2010) [Recovery Plan]..
 
Federal Register of Legislative Instruments Inclusion of ecological communities in the list of threatened ecological communities under section 181 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (12/10/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007j) [Legislative Instrument].
Indicative Distribution Map(s) Map of Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions threatened ecological community (Environment Australia, 2003r) [Indicative Map].
Distribution Map Community Distribution Map

This map has been compiled from datasets with a range of scales and quality. Species or ecological community distributions included in this map are only indicative and not meant for local assessment. Planning or investment decisions at a local scale should seek some form of ground-truthing to confirm the existence of the species or ecological community at locations of interest. Such assessments should refer to the text of the Listing Advice, which is the legal entity protected under the EPBC Act.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The ecological community is known as 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions'. It has been abbreviated to 'SEVT ecological community' in this profile.


The term semi-evergreen vine thicket (SEVT) is widely used in the scientific literature when referring to the type of vegetation that comprises this ecological community. In Queensland, SEVT remnants are often referred to as bottle tree scrub or vine scrub (Queensland Department Environment and Heritage 1995).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The current conservation status of the Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions ecological community, under Australian and State Government legislation, is as follows:

National: Listed as an Endangered ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

New South Wales Listed as Endangered as 'Semi-evergreen vine thicket in the Brigalow Belt South and Nandewar bioregions' under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

Queensland: Four of the 10 Regional Ecosystems (REs) that comprise the listed ecological community in Queensland (see Description) are listed as Endangered under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (McDonald 2007):

  • RE 11.3.11-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on alluvial plains
  • RE 11.4.1-Semi-evergreen vine thicket ± Casuarina cristata on Cainozoic clay plains
  • RE 11.8.13-Semi-evergreen vine thicket and microphyll vine forest on Cainozoic igneous rocks
  • Re 11.11.18-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on old sedimentary rocks with varying degrees of metamorphism and folding.

Another two regional ecosystems that are part of the listed ecological community are listed as Of Concern under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (McDonald 2007):

  • RE 11.2.3-Microphyll vine forest ("beach scrub") on sandy beach ridges
  • RE 11.9.4-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic fine-grained sedimentary rocks.


Plants

The listed SEVT ecological community is known to contain 13 threatened plant species listed by the Commonwealth and/or Queensland and/or New South Wales governments, as shown in the table below (McDonald 2007). They include eight species that are vulnerable nationally.

Scientific nameCommon nameC'thQldNSWRegional ecosystem
Brachychiton sp. (Blackwell Range Fensham 971) -E-11.8.13
Cadellia pentastylisOolineVVV11.9.4
Callitris baileyiBailey's Cypress-RE11.8.3
Clematis fawcettiiStream ClematisVVV11.8.3
Croton magneticus VV-11.8.13
Denhamia parvifolia VV-11.9.4
Eucalyptus raveretianaBlack IronboxVV-11.3.11
Fontainea fugax -E-11.5.15
Pomaderris clivicola VV-11.5.15
Senna acclinis --E-
Sophora fraseri VVV11.8.3
Zieria sp. (Binjour P.I.Forster PIF14134) -E-11.5.15
Zieria verrucosa VV-11.5.15, 11.9.4

Animals

The listed SEVT ecological community is known to contain nine threatened animal species listed by the Commonwealth and/or Queensland and/or New South Wales governments, as shown in the table below (McDonald 2007). They include four species that are nationally vulnerable.


Scientific nameCommon nameC'thQldNSWRegional ecosystem
Alectura lathamiAustralian Brush-turkey--E*  
Burhinus grallariusBush Stone-curlew--E 
Calyptorhynchus lathamiGlossy Black-cockatoo-VV11.9.4
Chalinolobus picatusLittle Pied Bat-RV 
Macropus dorsalisBlack-striped Wallaby--E 
Nyctophilus timoriensisEastern Long-eared BatVVV 
Paradelma orientalisBrigalow Scaly-footVV- 
Petrogale penicillataBrush-tailed Rock-wallabyVVE 
Turnix melanogasterBlack-breasted Button-quailVVE 

* Applies only to the A. lathami population in the Nandewar and Brigalow Belt South Bioregion

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions' listed ecological community comprises semi-evergreen vine thickets (SEVT) in eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2001).

Semi-evergreen vine thicket (SEVT) is considered an extreme form of dry seasonal subtropical rainforest (McDonald 1996). It is generally characterised by the prominence of trees with microphyll sized leaves (i.e. leaves usually 2.5–7.6 cm long), the presence of Bottle Trees (Brachychiton spp.) as emergents from the vegetation, and the thickets occurring in areas with a subtropical, seasonally dry climate on soils of high to medium fertility (e.g. Webb 1959, 1968; Webb & Tracey 1981, 1994).

In Queensland, the listed ecological community comprises the following 10 regional ecosystems (REs) within the Brigalow Belt Bioregion (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2001):

  • RE 11.2.3-Microphyll vine forest ("beach scrub") on sandy beach ridges

  • RE 11.3.11-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on alluvial plains

  • RE 11.4.1-Semi-evergreen vine thicket ± Casuarina cristata on Cainozoic clay plains

  • RE 11.5.15-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic sand plains/remnant surfaces

  • RE 11.8.3-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic igneous rocks

  • RE 11.8.6-Macropteranthes leichhardtii thicket on Cainozoic igneous rocks

  • RE 11.8.13-Semi-evergreen vine thicket and microphyll vine forest on Cainozoic igneous rocks

  • RE 11.9.4-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic fine-grained sedimentary rocks

  • RE 11.9.8-Macropteranthes leichhardtii thicket on Cainozoic fine-grained sedimentary rocks

  • RE 11.11.18-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on old sedimentary rocks with varying degrees of metamorphism and folding.

These regional ecosystems include areas of low microphyll rainforest, notophyll vine forest, semi-deciduous notophyll rainforest and microphyll/notophyll vine forest (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2005). Notophyll sized leaves are usually 7.6–12.7 cm long (Webb 1959, 1968). Descriptions of the ten regional ecosystems are provided under Survey and Monitoring.

In New South Wales, the listed SEVT ecological community is equivalent to the Notelaea microcarpa-Ehretia membranifolia-Geijera parviflora vine thicket vegetation type described by Floyd (1990) and the Western Vine Thickets described by Keith (2004). A description of this vegetation type is provided under Survey and Monitoring.


Climate

Semi-evergreen vine thicket vegetation in the Brigalow Belt Bioregion is associated with summer predominant, 500–750 mm annual rainfall (Johnson 1997). SEVT generally occurs in areas with megatherm/mesotherm and mesotherm bioclimates which are characterised by an annual mean temperature of c. 20.5 ºC, mean annual rainfall of around 830 mm, and rainfall in the driest quarter of 91 mm (Nix 1991; Nix et al. 1992). Mean annual rainfall ranges from 500–900 mm in the northern parts of the ecological community's distribution (Fensham 1995) to 650–750 mm per annum from central areas of Queensland (Nix 1977) to northern New South Wales (Benson et al. 1996). In central parts of its distribution 60–70% of rain falls in summer (Nix 1977), and there is also a summer peak in northern New South Wales (Benson et al. 1996).

Landforms and soils

The listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland is most common on undulating plains on fine grained sedimentary rocks (frequently shale) and on basalt hills and plains (based on Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002a, b). Remnants occur less often on coastal dunes, Quaternary alluvium, Tertiary clay plains, old loamy and sandy plains, or hills and lowlands on metamorphic rocks (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002a, b). The ecological community is often associated with more elevated, freely drained sites (McDonald 1996).

In New South Wales, the listed SEVT ecological community occurs mainly on hills and flattish footslopes (Curran 2003), on deep, loamy, high nutrient basaltic soils (Benson et al. 1996) and sandy loams (Williams 1999).


Ecological processes

Remnants of the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland are generally considered to be floristically diverse, with species richness decreasing as rainfall decreases and/or becomes more seasonal (Fensham 1995; McDonald 1996). Annual rainfall and the mean temperature of the coldest quarter significantly affect community types (McDonald 1996). The thickets also become lower and more open in rocky situations and/or with decreasing rainfall (McDonald 1996).

Little detailed information is available on the reproduction of semi-evergreen vine thicket plants. In northern areas near Townsville in Queensland, Kahn and Lawrie (1987) reported that SEVT plant species appeared to flower and fruit in most 'reasonable' seasons, but that few seedlings and young plants seemed to establish in undisturbed thickets, although recovery of some species (either from seedlings or vegetative regrowth) after mechanical disturbance and burning could be strong. They indicated that bare basalt surfaces provided a particularly unfavourable habitat for seed establishment and suggested that good wet seasons may be needed for this (Kahn & Lawrie 1987).

In central and southern areas of the Brigalow Belt in Queensland, McDonald (1996) found that of 51 SEVT tree species for which data was available, 27 species germinate readily but 24 species need some form of treatment. Thirty-four of 79 tree species for which information was available were able to resprout vegetatively, e.g. by producing basal sprouts or shooting from lateral roots, with Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood) also regenerating by layering of branches. McDonald (1996) noted that many canopy and emergent tree species have wind dispersed fruit, while lower canopy and understorey species most commonly have bird dispersed fruit. He considered there were sufficient frugivorous bird species in vine thicket remnants in Queensland to maintain seed dispersal and hence the diversity of these plant species. He also noted that locally favourable sites associated with water courses were extremely significant for providing refugial niches for mesic plant species or species dependent on birds for seed dispersal (Kahn & Lawrie 1987).

In 'northern SEVT' areas in Queensland (see Description), obligate SEVT plant species (which comprise c. 50% of all plant species in the vegetation) are fire sensitive (Fensham 1995). Both Fensham (1996) and McDonald (1996) noted that in Queensland, fire may kill many SEVT canopy species, especially on the margins of the thickets. However some SEVT plant species are relatively fire tolerant. In northern areas, these include species in the genera Alphitonia, Alyxia, Atalaya, Breynia, Croton, Diospyros, Notelaea and Rapanea (Kahn & Lawrie 1987).

In drier vine thickets in central and southern areas of Queensland, McDonald (1996) noted that Alstonia constricta (Bitter Bark, Quinine Bush), Backhousia angustifolia (Narrow-leaved Backhousia), Carissa ovata (Blackberry, Currantbush, Kunker Berry), Ehretia membranifolia (Peach Bush, Weeping Koda) and Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood) were also able to regenerate vegetatively after fire. Vegetative regeneration following fire has also been observed for Alstonia constricta and Notelaea microcarpa var. microcarpa (Native Olive) in New South Wales (Curran 2003).


SEVT vegetation associations

The floristic composition of the listed SEVT ecological community varies from north to south and from east to west, although the communities form a continuum rather than discrete entities (Fensham 1995; McDonald 1996). The regional variation can be summarised in terms of the following three approximate geographic units (McDonald 2007):

  • Northern SEVT, relating approximately to the Brigalow Belt North bioregion in Queensland, and cutting off around the Tropic of Capricorn (23º25.5' S);
  • Central SEVT, relating to the Brigalow Belt South bioregion in Queensland, and
  • Southern SEVT, relating to the Brigalow Belt South and Nandewar bioregions in New South Wales.

Northern semi-evergreen vine thicket ('northern SEVT') (based on Fensham (1995) unless shown otherwise)

The semi-evergreen vine thickets in this area, also called dry rainforests, are floristically diverse and occur across a broad range of landforms and geological substrates. Almost 450 plant species have been recorded in the vegetation type within the northern SEVT and areas to the north outside the Brigalow Belt Bioregion. Nearly 50% of the plant species are restricted to semi-evergreen vine thicket (i.e. they are obligate SEVT species).

Although a large number of plant species occur within the vegetation, only a small number are always present. These include the trees Brachychiton australis (Bottle Tree, Broad-leaved Bottle Tree), Drypetes deplanchei (Grey Boxwood, Yellow Tulip), Diospyros humilis, Gyrocarpus americanus, Geijera salicifolia (Brush Wilga), Pouteria cotinifolia and Strychnos psilosperma (Strychnine) and the vines Cissus reniformis and Jasminum didymum. The tree Cadellia pentastylis (Ooline) is absent. Common emergent trees range from those that are fully deciduous (e.g. Brachychiton australis, Gyrocarpus americanus) to those that are semi-evergreen (e.g. Euroschinus falcata (Pink Poplar, Chinaman's Cedar, Ribbonwood, Maiden's Blush, Cudgerie), Pleiogynum timorense). Lower canopy species also show a great range in their deciduousness. Moss species may often be associated with the dry rainforest vegetation (Fensham & Streimann 1997).

Vine thickets on volcanics are characterised by Alectryon oleifolius (Boonaree), Grewia scabrella, Croton arnhemicus, Gyrocarpus americanus and Capparis lasiantha (Nipan, Split-jack) (McDonald 1996).

Central semi-evergreen vine thicket ('central SEVT') (based on Speck et al. (1968), Gunn & Nix (1977) and McDonald (1996, 2007) unless shown otherwise)

The semi-evergreen vine thickets in this area, also known as softwood scrub or bottle tree scrub, are also floristically diverse and heterogeneous, especially in the canopy layer (Story et al. 1967; Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977) and often also in the shrub layer (Gunn & Nix 1977; McDonald 1996). The floristic diversity is lower than recorded by Fensham (1995) for 'northern SEVT'. For example McDonald (1996) recorded 375 species in vine thickets mostly in the 'central SEVT' area. Usually any one patch of vine thicket contains 40 or more vascular plant species, although the number of tree species is highly variable, e.g. from one to 19 species (McDonald 1996). The proportion of obligate SEVT plant species appears to be lower than in 'northern SEVT', e.g. 27% in vine thickets in the south-west of the 'central SEVT' area (Neldner 1984).

Vine thickets in the drier inland areas are generally structurally simpler than those in sub-coastal areas, and may be reduced to a single tree layer. The density of trees and shrubs 3 m or more tall may range from c. 900 stems/ha to almost 4800 stems/ha (McDonald 1966).

Brachychiton rupestris (Bottle Tree, Narrow-leaved Bottle Tree, Queensland Bottle Tree) is virtually always present as an emergent. Other species that may be locally present as emergents include Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Brachychiton australis (Bottle Tree, Broad-leaved Bottle Tree) and Casuarina cristata (Belah), or less often Acacia fasciculifera, Archidendropsis thozetiana (Grey Boxwood, Southern Siris), Cadellia pentastylis (Ooline), Euroschinus falcata (Pink Poplar, Chinaman's Cedar, Ribbonwood, Maiden's Blush, Cudgerie), Flindersia australis (Crow's Ash), Lysiphyllum hookeri (Queensland Ebony, Hooker's Bauhinia), Terminalia porphyrocarpa (Bandicoot Plum) and Ventilago viminalis (Vinetree). Emergents generally range in height from 11±3 m to 16±3 m in moister areas but may reach 25 m, and contain a mixture of evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous species (McDonald 1996).

A wide range of other tree species may be present locally in the canopy. Tree species frequently present may include Backhousia angustifolia, B. kingii, Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton), Denhamia oleaster, Ehretia membranifolia (Peach Bush, Weeping Koda), Geijera parviflora (Wilga), Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood), Notelaea microcarpa (Small-fruited Mock Olive) and Pouteria cotinifolia var. pubescens (Yellow Lemon). The canopy trees range in height from 6±2 m to 8±3 m or less often 12±3 m (Gunn & Nix 1977; see also McDonald 1996). In the Central Highlands between Moura and Springsure Macropteranthes leichhardtii becomes dominant, and may form a mono-specific canopy layer (Gunn & Nix 1977; Nix et al. 1992; McDonald 1996).

A dense shrub understorey may be present although, in places where the canopy is very dense, shrubs may be absent (Gunn & Nix 1977). Species common in the shrub layer include Acalypha eremorum (Soft Acalypha), Alectryon diversifolius (Scrub Boonaree), Everistia vacciniifolia, Carissa ovata (Blackberry, Currantbush, Kunker Berry), Croton phebalioides, Exocarpos latifolius, Geijera parviflora, Pittosporum spinescens and Triflorensis ixoroides. Where present, the shrub layer is commonly 2±1 m high (Gunn & Nix 1977).

Species such as Brachychiton australis, Alphitonia excelsa, Ficus rubiginosa and Pavetta australiensis (Butterfly Bush) are often characteristic of vine thickets in the northern half of 'central SEVT' (McDonald 1996). In the southern part, the emergent trees Brachychiton ruprestris and B. populneus (Kurrajong) are often present as well as species such as Alectryon diversifolius, Apophyllum anomalum (Warrior Bush, Currant Bush), Alphitonia excelsa (Red Ash, Soap Bush, Soap Tree), Alstonia constricta (Bitter Bark, Quinine Bush), Canthium oleifolium, Capparis loranthifolia (Wild Pomegranate), Carissa ovata (Blackberry, Currantbush, Kunker Berry), Ehretia membranifolia, Geijera parviflora, Maytenus disperma, Notelaea microcarpa (Small-fruited Mock Olive) and Pittosporum spinescens (Nix et al. 1992; McDonald 1996).

Common vines/lianes present in the vegetation include Clematicissus opaca (formerly known as Cissus opaca), C. oblonga, Trophis scandens, Jasminum didymum, Marsdenia spp., Sarcostemma viminale subsp. brunonianum, Secamone elliptica, Parsonsia lanceolata and Tylophora spp. (Speck et al. 1968; McDonald 1996).

The herbaceous ground layer is usually sparse or may be absent. In some areas mosses may be prominent in the vegetation (Gunn & Nix 1977; Neldner 1984).

Southern semi-evergreen vine thicket ('southern SEVT') (based on Benson et al. (1996), McDonald (1996), Williams (1999) and Curran (2003) unless shown otherwise)

The semi-evergreen vine thickets in New South Wales are part of the Notelaea microcarpa-Ehretia membranifolia-Geijera parviflora vine thicket suballiance (suballiance #32) of Floyd (1990). They have also been called Mixed Stands (Beadle 1981) and Western Vine Thickets (Keith 2004). The vegetation (particularly in northern areas of its distribution) is similar to that in the southern part of the 'central SEVT' area in Queensland (Curran 2003; see also Nix et al. 1992).

Relative to the small size of the vine thicket patches, the vegetation is floristically rich in shrubs, small trees and vines (Williams 1999). The plant species diversity of the vine thickets (< 100 species recorded in the vegetation type; Benson et al. 1996) is, however, much lower than the floristic diversity of the vine thickets in Queensland. Vine thickets in New South Wales are also generally more open than those in Queensland (Floyd 1990), often comprising local thickets of densely spaced trees and shrubs frequently alternating with gaps in which trees and shrubs are absent or sparsely scattered, and in extreme cases occurring just as scattered individuals (Williams 2003). Vine thickets in New South Wales also contain fewer deciduous species (Benson et al. 1996) and probably contain fewer obligate SEVT species (Curran 2003) than those in Queensland.

The vine thickets occur mainly on hills on light clay soils derived from basalt (Benson et al. 1996) but also occur in areas with sandy loams derived from sediments (Williams 1999).

The vine thickets are dominated by a variety of low tree and shrub species, with the species composition varying from north to south, possibly due to rainfall differences (Benson et al. 1996). Characteristic canopy species include Elaeodendron australe var. integrifolium (Red Olive Plum), Ehretia membranifolia (Peach Bush), Geijera parviflora (Wilga), Notelaea microcarpa (Native Olive), Pouteria cotinifolia var. pubescens (Yellow Lemon) and Pittosporum spinescens (Wallaby Apple, Large-fruited Orange Thorn). The trees and tall shrubs are usually 2–10 m tall (Floyd 1990).

Emergent trees often associated with the vine thickets include Eucalyptus spp., Callitris glaucophylla (White Cypress Pine), Casuarina cristata (Belah) and Brachychiton populneus (Kurrajong). These trees are usually dominant in adjacent woodlands.

Vines frequently present include Parsonsia spp, Pandorea pandorana (Wonga Wonga Vine) and Jasminum didymum subsp. lineare (Desert Jasmine).

Cadellia pentastylis (Ooline) which is associated with vine thickets in Queensland may be locally dominant in vegetation in northern New South Wales and occurs in similar areas to vine thickets (Floyd 1990; Benson 1993; McDonald 1996). Ooline vegetation is not however included as part of the listed SEVT ecological community in New South Wales (based on New South Wales Scientific Committee (1999); see Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2001).


PhD studies

The listed SEVT ecological community has been studied as part of the following two PhD theses:

  • Spatial and temporal patterns in the dry seasonal subtropical rainforests of eastern Australia, with particular reference to the vine thickets of central and southern Queensland (McDonald 1996).
  • Rainforest, drought and soil type: Phytogeography and functional and evolutionary ecology of dry rainforest on the western slopes of New South Wales (Curran 2006).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Semi-evergreen vine thicket vegetation is closely related to dry rainforest. Its component plant communities show some characteristics of true rainforest but with less luxuriance (e.g. they lack tree ferns, palms etc and vascular epiphytes are usually absent) and are rich in species whose close relatives normally inhabit rainforest (Williams 2003). Bottle Trees (Brachychiton australis, B. rupestris) are frequent emergents (see Description) in vine thickets in Queensland, while the related Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus) is found in many stands in New South Wales (McDonald 2007). Although canopy leaves are predominantly microphyll sized (McDonald 1996), stenophylly (i.e. narrow leaves) and pendulous leaves are also characteristic of some tree species in southern areas (Williams 2003).

The thickets typically have an uneven canopy 4–9 m high with mixed evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous emergent tree species 9–18 m high, often with swollen stems (Webb 1978). Vines, twining or scrambling plants are prominent (Gunn & Nix 1977; Fensham 1995; McDonald 1996) and often smother the canopy where structural damage has occurred (Fensham 1995). Some tree and vine species are facultatively semi-deciduous, i.e. they lose some or most of their foliage during prolonged dry periods (Williams 1999).

There is considerable variation in the height and density of the canopy and the number of strata in SEVT vegetation (McDonald 1996). Regional variation in the listed SEVT ecological community is summarised under Description.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

National

Other coastal vine thickets that occur outside of the Brigalow Belt North bioregion are listed under the Littoral rainforest and coastal vine thickets of eastern Australia ecological community

Queensland

Five semi-evergreen vine thicket regional ecosystems (REs) present in the Brigalow Belt Bioregion are not included in the listed ecological community. These 'excluded' regional ecosystems may appear similar to those regional ecosystems that are a part of the listed community, but can be distinguished from the latter by the characteristics shown in the tables below.

Callitris spp. ± vine thicket on Cainozoic igneous rocks (RE 11.8.9) (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b)

Description of excluded regional ecosystem Predominant subregion RE occurs in
Callitris glaucophylla (White Cypress Pine) and/or C. baileyi (Scrub Cypress Pine) woodland with or without vine thicket species. Occurs on hills formed from Cainozoic basaltic rocks. Hot wildfires have killed the overstorey Callitris trees in some areas. 31, Eastern Darling Downs
RE 11.8.9 may be distinguished from others that are part of the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland by the dominance of Callitris trees. It may appear similar to listed vine thickets occurring on basalt where the Callitris has been killed by wildfire.  

Semi-evergreen vine thicket in sheltered habitats on Cainozoic medium to coarse-grained sedimentary rocks (RE 11.10.8) (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b)

Description of excluded regional ecosystem Predominant subregions RE occurs in
Semi-evergreen vine thicket and microphyll rainforest on Cainozoic to Proterozoic consolidated, medium to coarse-grained sediments that may be subject to local enrichment from adjacent rocks such as basalt as well as seepage. 6, Northern Bowen Basin 11, Isaac-Comet Downs 27, Barakula
RE 11.10.8 may be distinguished from others that are part of the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland by its occurrence in land zone 10 (sandstone ranges).  

Microphyll vine forest ± Araucaria cunninghamii on old sedimentary rocks with varying degrees of metamorphism and folding (RE 11.11.5) (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b)

Description of excluded regional ecosystem Predominant subregion RE occurs in
Microphyll rainforest (occasionally with Araucaria cunninghamii (Hoop Pine) emergents) and semi-evergreen vine thicket on Mesozoic to Proterozoic moderately to strongly deformed and metamorphosed sediments and interbedded volcanics. Hills and ranges, generally coastal. 2, Bogie River Hills 12, Nebo-Connors Range 14, Marlborough Plains 17, Boomer Range 18, Mount Morgan Ranges
RE 11.11.5 may be distinguished from others that are part of the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland by the predominance of microphyll rainforest and (where present) Araucaria cunninghamii emergents. Brachychiton rupestris (Bottle Tree, Narrow-leaved Bottle Tree, Queensland Bottle Tree) emergents are usually absent (Speck et al. 1968). The rainforest at higher altitude on topographic isolates such as Mount Aberdeen has close affinities with upland rainforest of the Central Queensland Coast bioregion. In moist microhabitats such as sheltered gullies, the rainforest tends to the notophyll type.  

Semi-evergreen vine thicket on serpentinite (RE 11.11.21) (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b)

Description of excluded regional ecosystem Predominant subregion RE occurs in
Semi-evergreen vine thicket on serpentinite. Species include Brachychiton rupestris (Bottle Tree, Narrow-leaved Bottle Tree, Queensland Bottle Tree), Austromyrtus bidwillii (Python Tree, Smooth-barked Ironwood), Notelaea longifolia, Cupaniopsis wadsworthii, Diospyros spp., Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton), Alyxia ruscifolia (Chainfruit), Turraea pubescens, Quassia bidwillii and includes the endemic Neoroepera buxifolia. Occurs on upper slopes, gullies, footslopes and lateritised hills with shallow to moderately deep stony red to brown clay loams and clays formed from serpentinite. 12, Nebo-Connors Range 14, Marlborough Plains
RE 11.11.21 may be distinguished from others that are part of the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland by its association with serpentinite. It is a rare ecosystem that occurs only in the Marlborough Plains subregion and the north of the Mount Morgan Ranges subregion on moderately weathered or lateritised serpentinite hills and mountains.  

Semi-evergreen vine thicket and microphyll vine forest on igneous rocks (RE 11.12.4) (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b)

Description of excluded regional ecosystem Predominant subregions RE occurs in
Semi-evergreen vine thicket and microphyll vine forest ± Araucaria cunninghamii (Hoop Pine) that may contain open patches of Acacia fasciculifera (Rosewood, Scrub Ironbark), Archidendropsis thozetiana (Grey Boxwood, Southern Siris), Pleiogynium timorense (Burdekin Plum, Tulip Plum) and various other species. Eucalyptus moluccana (Gum-topped Box, Grey Box) is often associated with lower slopes on andesites. Occurs on low hills, ranges and boulder strewn slopes formed from Mesozoic to Proterozoic igneous rocks including granite. 1, Townsville Plains 2, Bogie River Hills 12, Nebo-Connors Range 22, Banana-Auburn Ranges
RE 11.12.4 may be distinguished from others that are part of the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland by its occurrence in land zone 12 (hills and lowlands on granitic rocks other post Cainozoic igneous rocks) and the occurrence of Araucaria cunninghamii and Eucalyptus moluccana (when present).  

The listed SEVT ecological community grades into a number of other SEVT or similar vegetation types, as outlined below, that are not part of the listed ecological community.

In the Eastern Darling Downs subregion of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion, the listed SEVT ecological community is contiguous with similar vegetation in the South East Queensland Bioregion (McDonald 2007). Seven SEVT regional ecosystems occur in western and northern areas of the latter Bioregion, viz. RE 12.8.21, RE 12.8.22, RE 12.9/10.15, RE 12.11.4, RE 12.11.13, RE 12.12.17 and RE 12.12.18 (McDonald 2007).

Further north in sub-coastal areas of the Marlborough Plains subregion of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion, the microphyll/notophyll vine forest component of listed RE 11.8.13 is contiguous with similar regional ecosystems in the Central Queensland Coast Bioregion, viz. RE 8.12.16 and RE 8.12.28 (McDonald 2007).

A single very restricted SEVT community (RE 13.11.7) occurs within the Stanthorpe and Nandewar subregions of the Queensland portion of the New England Tableland Bioregion, and is similar to the listed SEVT ecological community in the New South Wales part of the Nandewar Bioregion (McDonald 2007).

In some areas within the Brigalow Belt Bioregion, the semi-evergreen vine thicket vegetation grades into other rainforest types both in relation to the degree of deciduousness of the trees and shrubs (Fensham 1995; McDonald 1996) and leaf size (McDonald 1996).

New South Wales

Patches of semi-evergreen vine thicket occur in the New England Tableland region on steep slopes and canyon areas in Guy Fawkes River National Park, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and nearby places, and in the upper Hunter Valley (Turner 1976; Floyd 1990; Williams 1999; Williams 2003). Similar communities occur south of Picton (Williams 1999) and in gorges of the Shoalhaven River, south of Sydney (Mills 1987). These outliers are located outside the Brigalow Belt South and Nandewar bioregions and thus are not part of the listed ecological community.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The SEVT ecological community extends from the Townsville area in Queensland to northern New South Wales. It is mostly located within the Brigalow Belt Bioregion. In Queensland the remnant vine thicket patches are mostly scattered from coastal dunes and river deltas in the vicinity of Townsville and Ayr through the northern and central parts of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion to its south-eastern parts between Jandowae and Killarney on the Queensland/New South Wales border (Queensland Herbarium 2002a).

In New South Wales, remnants usually occur as isolated patches scattered in other shrubby vegetation (Curran 2003) and are located on the North West Slopes east of Moree and north from the Liverpool Plains, with major occurrences in the vicinity of Gunnedah, Bingara and Narrabri (Benson et al. 1996; Williams 1999; Curran 2003; Keith 2004) and the region between Yetman, Graman and Crooble (Holmes 1979; Pulsford 1983).

An on-line map of 'Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions' is provided by Environmental Resources Information Network (2006).

The listed ecological community occurs in the Brigalow Belt North, Brigalow Belt South and Nandewar bioregions (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2001). Its occurrence in subregions within these bioregions is shown in the table below. In Queensland, more than 50% of remnants occur in the Arcadia, Buckland Basalts, Claude River Downs, Dawson River Downs, Northern Bowen Basin and Southern Downs subregions (McDonald 2007).

Brigalow Belt North subregions
Name (Sattler and Williams 1999)
Brigalow Belt South subregions
Name (Sattler and Williams 1999)
Nandewar
subregions
Queensland (McDonald 2007)
Anakie Inlier
Basalt Downs
Bogie River Hills
Cape River Hills
Isaac-Comet Downs
Marlborough Plains
Nebo-Connors Range
Northern Bowen Basin
South Drummond Basin
Townsville Plains
Wyarra Hills
Arcadia
Banana-Auburn Range
Barakula
Boomer Range
Buckland Basalts
Callide Creek Downs
Carnarvon Ranges
Claude River Downs
Dawson River Downs
Eastern Darling Downs
Inglewood Sandstones
Mount Morgan Ranges
Southern Downs
Taroom Downs
Weribone High
Woorabinda
 
New South Wales (Curran 2003)
  Liverpool Plains
Northern Basalts
Northern Outwash
Kaputar
Inverell Basalts
Northern Complex
Peel

In Queensland, the listed SEVT ecological community covered approximately 873 650 ha of land prior to European clearing activities (from Appendix 3 McDonald (2007), excluding SEVT occurrences in Broken River subregion, Einasleigh Uplands bioregion), occurring as discrete patches within other vegetation types, especially Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow) forest. In 2005 only about 141 500 ha of the listed ecological community in the Brigalow Belt Bioregion remained as scattered patches (from Appendix 3 of McDonald 2007), or about 16% of its pre-clearing area.

The approximate pre-European and current extents of the ten regional ecosystems comprising the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland are shown in the table below.


Regional Ecosystem Name Original extent (ha) (McDonald 2007) Current extent (ha) (McDonald 2007)
11.2.3 Microphyll vine forest ("beach scrub") on sandy beach ridges 2950 2480
11.3.11 Semi-evergreen vine thicket on alluvial plains 19 450 2420
11.4.1 Semi-evergreen vine thicket ± Casuarina cristata on Cainozoic clay plains 26 000 2060
11.5.15 Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic sand plains/remnant surfaces 43 700 10 555
11.8.3 Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic igneous rocks 80 500 26 590
11.8.6 Macropteranthes leichhardtii thicket on Cainozoic igneous rocks 29 000 15 535
11.8.13 Semi-evergreen vine thicket and microphyll vine forest on Cainozoic igneous rocks 52 300 6360
11.9.4 Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic fine-grained sedimentary rocks 540 000 58 895
11.9.8   Macropteranthes leichhardtii thicket on Cainozoic fine-grained sedimentary rocks 11 895
11.11.18 Semi-evergreen vine thicket on old sedimentary rocks with varying degrees of metamorphism and folding 49 500 4710

There is no accurate estimate of the extent of the listed SEVT ecological community in New South Wales (Curran 2003). Benson (in prep.) estimated the pre-European extent of SEVT and Cadellia pentastylis (Ooline) communities as c. 8000 ha. Today it is thought that several thousand hectares of SEVT remain in the Brigalow Belt South and Nandewar bioregions (based on Benson et al. 1996; unpublished data of Curran 2003; Keith 2004; DEC 2004 and RACD 2004, both cited in McDonald 2007).


The listed SEVT ecological community cannot be considered naturally rare or restricted as its pre-European extent probably exceeded 880 000 ha.


Patch sizes

In northern parts of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion in Queensland the size of individual patches for both listed and unlisted SEVT regional ecosystems prior to clearing ranged from up to 5 ha to more than 500 ha, with c. 45% of patches 5 ha or less in size, c. 25% of patches 6–20 ha in area, c. 20% of patches covering 21–100 ha and the remainder more than 100 ha (Fensham 1996). In the mid 1990s c. 40% of remaining patches in northern areas were 5 ha or smaller, and c. 20% of patches 6–20 ha in size (Fensham 1996).

Across the entire Brigalow Belt in Queensland, the Queensland Herbarium (2003) indicated that the size of remaining listed vine thicket remnants ranged from < 2 ha to > 1000 ha. Of the almost 4500 remnants recorded, 45% were 5 ha or smaller in size and 30% were 6–20 ha in area. Eighty seven per cent of patches were 50 ha or less in size, 6% of patches 51–100 ha in area and 7% of patches > 100 ha in area (Queensland Herbarium 2003).

Data from 2005 indicated that almost 4000 remnant patches of the listed SEVT ecological community remained in Queensland at that time. Of these, 62% were 10 ha or less in size, 36% had areas of 10–100 ha and only 3% had areas > 100 ha (Appendix 7 in McDonald 2007).

In New South Wales, studies have shown that although some large patches of vine thicket and associated vegetation have been reported (Benson et al. 1996), most 'pure' vine thicket patches are < 1 ha in area within the more extensive shrubby matrix and/or generally fragmented landscape in which they occur (Curran 2003).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

In light of the large number and small size of fragments of the listed SEVT ecological community (see Distribution), the current distribution of the community can be considered severely fragmented.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The following table provides, for each bioregional subregion in which there are major occurrences of listed SEVT regional ecosystems, an overview of studies that provide further information. The list of subregions and regional ecosystems present within them is not comprehensive, but only applies to the major occurrences of regional ecosystem remnants.

Subregions 1, 2 and 6 correspond with 'northern SEVT', subregions 10–12 correspond with northern and 'central SEVT', subregions 9, 14, 15, 17–20 and 22–25 correspond with 'central SEVT', and subregions 26, 27 and 31 correspond with central and southern 'central SEVT'. Northern and southern SEVT are outlined in Description.

Major regional and other studies relevant to each subregion, and predominant listed SEVT regional ecosystems within each subregion

Subregion (shown in Distribution) Study 1 Study 2 Study 3 Study 4 Study 5 Study 6 Study 7 Study 8 Other studies Predominant REs present (McDonald 2007)
1 *               Fensham (1995) 11.2.3, 11.3.11
2 +             # Fensham (1995) 11.8.3
11.8.13
11.9.4
11.11.18
6 + + +   +     # Fensham (1995) 11.5.15
11.8.3 11.8.13
11.9.4
9   *     *       Fensham (1995) 11.8.3
10   + +   *     # Fensham (1995) 11.8.3
11.8.6
11   + + + *     # Fensham (1995); Forster and Barton (1995) 11.3.11, 11.4.1, 11.9.4
12       + +     # Forster and Barton (1995) 11.3.11
11.8.3
11.8.13
11.11.18
14       + +     # Fensham (1995); Forster and Barton (1995) 11.2.3
15   *     *     #   11.8.3
11.8.6
11.9.8
17       * *     #   11.11.18
18       + +     # Fensham (1995); Forster and Barton (1995); Kent (1987) 11.5.15, 11.11.18
19       * *     #   11.8.3
11.8.13
11.9.4
20     * ? *     #   11.9.4
22       + +     # Kent (1987)? 11.8.13
11.9.4
23   + +   * ? + #   11.8.6
24   +   + + + + #   11.9.4
25       * *   x #   11.9.4
26       + + + + #   11.8.3, 11.9.4
27       + +   x? # Kent (1987) 11.5.15 11.9.4
31                 Fensham and Fairfax (1997); McDonald (1996); Vandersee (1975) 11.8.3
11.9.4

Notes

Key to symbols:

* = subregion located entirely within study region
+ = subregion partly located in study region
x = subregions mapped in the South Central Queensland by Neldner (Wilson 2002)
? = uncertain whether study region includes the subregion
# = study sites located in subregion

Key to studies:

1. Townsville-Bowen Area (Christian et al. 1953)
2. Nogoa-Belyando Area (Gunn et al. 1967)
3. Isaac-Comet Area (Story et al. 1967)
4. Dawson-Fitzroy Area (Speck et al. 1968)
5. Fitzroy Region (Gunn & Nix 1977); this study synthesises studies 2, 3 and 4 above.
6. Balonne-Maranoa Area (Galloway et al. 1974)
7. South Central Queensland (Neldner 1984)
8. McDonald (1996)

The following table shows, for each listed SEVT regional ecosystem, details of relevant information provided in the studies outlined above.

RE No.Author/s and dateRelevant land systems, land units, map units or other categories in study
11.2.3Forster and Barton (1995)Land System: Joskeleigh
 Christian et al. (1953)Land System: Littoral
11.3.11Christian et al. (1953)Land System: Ayr
  Fensham (1995) 
 Forster and Barton (1995)Land System: Moore
11.4.1Fensham (1995) 
 Fensham and Fairfax (1997)Map unit 1 (in part)
 Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Units: 30, 92, 93, 101
 Speck et al. (1968)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Dakenba (1?), Highworth (1), Kiddell (1, 2?, 3?), Thomby (4), Wandoan (6)
 Story et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Racecourse (1)
11.5.15Fensham (1995) 
 Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Unit: 14
 Kent (1987)Map Unit: Cz1
 Story et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Junee (5)
11.8.3Fensham (1995) 
 Fensham and Fairfax (1997)Map unit 1 (in part)
 Galloway et al. (1974)Land Unit: 9 (in part)
 Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Units: 48, 49, 101?, 106
 Gunn et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Percy (1, in part)
 Neldner (1984)Map unit 1, Floristic Association 1 (in part)
 Speck et al.(1968)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Grevillea (1), Lawgi (2)
 Story et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Britton (2)
 Vandersee (1975)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Westbrook (4, 6, 7)
11.8.6Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Units: 48, 106
 Gunn et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Kareela (2)
 McDonald (1996)Vinethicket Site-group: 8 (in part)
 Story et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Bedourie (2)
11.8.13Forster and Barton (1995) Land Systems: Barmoya, Rossmoya
 Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Units: 48, 49
 Speck et al. (1968)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Grevillea (1)
 Story et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Racecourse (1)
11.9.4Galloway et al. (1974)Land Unit 9 (in part)
 Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Units 91, 92, 93, 95, 101
 Gunn et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Wharton (3, 4)
 McDonald (1996)Vinethicket Site-group: 4, 5 (both in part)
 Neldner (1984) Map unit 1, Floristic Association 1 (in part)
 Speck et al. (1968)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Eurombah (1–5, 7, 9), Thomby (2), Wandoan (1–4)
 Story et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Arcadia (1)
 Vandersee (1975)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Emu Vale (5, 7)
11.9.8Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Units: 48, 49, 91, 93, 95
 Gunn et al. (1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Cungelella (1, 2), Kareela (2), Skye (4?), Wharton (2)
 McDonald (1996)Vinethicket Site-group: 8 (in part)
 Story et al. 1967)Land System name (Land Unit no.): Bedourie (3)
11.11.18Gunn and Nix (1977)Land Units: 49, 95, 106
 Speck et al. (1968) Land System name (Land Unit no.): Banana (1, 2), Highworth (1), Hillmore (2), Malakoff (1, 2, 4), Mourangie (5), Rosewood (3)

The following table shows further information on SEVT in New South Wales.

Author/s and dateRelevant land systems, land units, map units or other categories in study.
Benson et al. (1996)Vegetation community 2
Holmes (1979) 
McDonald (1996)Bioregional community type: BG9, BG10
Nix et al. (1992)Group 2.2
Pulsford (1983) 


Survey methods for SEVT

Vegetation remnants mapped by Queensland Herbarium-definition and levels of disturbance

Under the Queensland Vegetation Management Act 1999 remnant vegetation is defined as 'vegetation where the dominant canopy has > 70% of the height and > 50% of the cover relative to the undisturbed height and cover of that stratum and is dominated by species characteristic of the vegetation's undisturbed canopy' (Neldner et al. 2005). Only vegetation that falls within this definition is mapped as a remnant regional ecosystem. Mapped regional ecosystems thus include 'vegetation that has not been cleared or has been lightly thinned or vegetation that has been cleared or heavily thinned but substantially regrown' (Wilson et al. 2002; Neldner et al. 2005).

The latest Queensland Environmental Protection Authority maps should always be consulted to determine the most accurate distribution of each SEVT regional ecosystem that is a component of the listed SEVT ecological community.

Vegetation remnants mapped by Queensland Herbarium-patch size

The minimum size limits of remnant vegetation that can be mapped are > 5 ha in area and greater than 75 m wide for linear features, except for coastal areas where the thresholds are > 2 ha in area or greater than 35 m wide for linear features (Neldner et al. 2005). Smaller remnants of semi-evergreen vine thickets (see Distribution) thus generally will not be shown in the distribution maps for regional ecosystems (unless more detailed mapping has been carried out in particular areas for other purposes).

Species composition

Semi-evergreen vine thickets in Queensland are floristically diverse and although the composition of individual remnants varies from north to south and from east to west, communities form a continuum rather than discrete entities (see Description). The plant species composition of any remnant can only be verified through field survey by appropriate botanical experts.

To determine whether a vine thicket remnant is part of a listed regional ecosystem in Queensland its location should be checked against the distribution maps of the Queensland Environmental Protection Authority and/or against geology, soil or land system maps. In New South Wales, reference should be made to the Final Determination of the New South Wales Scientific Committee (1999) and other relevant publications.


Component descriptions

Descriptions of the specific components of the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland and New South Wales are provided below. Descriptions of each regional ecosystem (Queensland) and vegetation type (New South Wales) have been developed using information from a number of sources; the descriptions are not intended to describe accurately any individual SEVT remnant.

Queensland (regional ecosystems)

RE 11.2.3-Microphyll vine forest ("beach scrub") on sandy beach ridges (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is low microphyll rainforest. The height, density and floristic composition of the vegetation shows large variation, but there are usually several storeys of trees and shrubs, and a sparse ground cover (Christian et al. 1953).

It occurs on Quaternary coastal dunes and beaches. The sand dunes have become stabilised and often contain narrow linear depressions (Christian et al. 1953). The sandy soils are undifferentiated, but there may be some mottling in the subsoil (Christian et al. 1953).

RE 11.3.11-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on alluvial plains (Queensland Environmental Protection (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is predominantly semi-evergreen vine thicket or semi-deciduous notophyll rainforest, but in coastal regions also includes small areas of notophyll vine forest.

It occurs on Cainozoic alluvial plains. In the Ayr and Home Hill areas it is associated with gently sloping higher country associated with river deltas on sandy soils (Christian et al. 1953).

RE 11.4.1-Semi-evergreen vine thicket ± Casuarina cristata on Cainozoic clay plains (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is semi-evergreen vine thicket ranging from 'northern SEVT' to 'central SEVT'. In central areas the trees Alstonia constricta (Bitter Bark), Alphitonia excelsa (Red Ash, Soap Bush, Soap Tree), Atalaya hemiglauca (Whitewood), Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton) and Geijera parviflora (Wilga) may also be prominent in the canopy layer with many other species (Gunn & Nix 1977). The canopy varies in height from 6±2 m to 8±3 m, and the emergent layer from 11±3 m to 15±5 m (Gunn & Nix 1977). A moderately dense to dense shrub layer 2±1 m high may also be present in places (Gunn & Nix 1977).

In western 'central SEVT' areas, the trees Terminalia oblongata (Yellowwood), Everistia vacciniifolia and Erythroxylum australe are commonly present (Story et al. 1967). In the eastern parts of 'central SEVT' Casuarina cristata (Belah) trees may be emergent from the semi-evergreen vine thicket in some areas, with Brachychiton rupestris (Narrow-leaved Bottle Tree, Queensland Bottle Tree) rare or absent (Speck et al. 1968).

The vine thickets occur on Cainozoic clay plains including those formed from extensively weathered Tertiary basalt. In central areas, the plains are usually level to gently undulating or rolling and the vegetation associated with crests and upper slopes, or less often the middle and lower slopes (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977). Slopes are usually < 5% (Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977) but in places may be steeper (Gunn & Nix 1977).

The soils range from deep texture contrast soils to clays and clay loams, to moderately deep to deep cracking clays (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977).

RE 11.5.15-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic sand plains/remnant surfaces (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is semi-evergreen vine thicket ranging from 'northern SEVT' to 'central SEVT' in which Alphitonia excelsa (Red Ash, Soap Bush, Soap Tree), Alstonia constricta (Bitter Bark), Denhamia oleaster, Excoecaria dallachyana (Blind-your-eye, Brush Poison Tree, Scrub Poison Tree) and Geijera parviflora (Wilga) may be prominent in the canopy layer with many other species, and Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Brachychton rupestris (Bottle Tree, Narrow-leaved Bottle Tree, Queensland Bottle Tree) and Flindersia australis (Crow's Ash, Teak) common emergents (Gunn & Nix 1977). A species-rich shrub layer 2±1 m may also be present (Gunn & Nix 1977).

The vine thickets usually occur on remnant Tertiary surfaces and sometimes also on eroded scarp slopes and or areas of duricrust. The soils are moderately deep to deep red and yellow earths or texture contrast soils (Story et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977).

RE 11.8.3-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic igneous rocks (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is semi-evergreen vine thicket which may have emergent Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Casuarina cristata (Belah) and Eucalyptus spp. It includes the 'northern SEVT' and 'central SEVT' and similar vegetation further south (Vandersee 1975; Fensham & Fairfax 1997). Acacia harpophylla and/or Casuarina cristata may be common in southern parts of the central area (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977) and further south (Vandersee 1975). In western parts of the central area, Eucalyptus orgadophila (Mountain Coolibah) and Casuarina cristata occur as emergents in drier sites (Neldner 1984). Eucalyptus orgadophila may also be a prominent emergent in the south (Vandersee 1975). Other Eucalyptus species, Flindersia australis (Crow's Ash, Teak) and Araucaria cunninghamii (Hoop Pine) may be local emergents in more humid areas in the eastern parts of the central area (Gunn & Nix 1977).

Emergent trees range in height from 14±3 m to 16±5 m (or rarely to 25 m, Neldner 1984), over canopy trees from 8±2 m to 12±3 m hight (Gunn & Nix 1977). A floristically rich shrub layer may be present or absent (Gunn & Nix 1977).

The thickets are associated with Cainozoic igneous rocks (basalt), and are restricted to steep hillsides. Slopes commonly range from 10–20%, but may be as high as 80% (Vandersee 1975; Gunn & Nix 1977). Soils are frequently shallow to very shallow clay loams and light to medium clays (Speck et al. 1968; Vandersee 1975; Gunn & Nix 1977; Neldner 1984), sometimes with stony surfaces (Gunn & Nix 1977).

RE 11.8.6-Macropteranthes leichhardtii thicket on Cainozoic igneous rocks (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood) thicket in the 'central SEVT' area. M. leichhardtii may sometimes form an almost mono-specific canopy layer 6±2 m tall (Gunn & Nix 1977), or occur with other typical SEVT species such as Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton), Denhamia oleaster, Geijera parviflora (Wilga) and Terminalia oblongata (Yellowwood) (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977) forming a canopy 8±2 m tall (Gunn & Nix 1977). The trees Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Brachychiton rupestris and B. australis (Bottle Trees) and Geijera parviflora (Wilga) may be present locally as emergents 15±3 m tall (Gunn et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977). A shrub stratum may be present or absent (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977).

The thickets occur on Cainozoic igneous rocks (basalt) on steep hills. Habitats include steep rocky slopes bounding bluffs of benches (with slopes to 80%, Gunn et al. 1967), benched slopes, and areas below scarps (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977).

The soils are usually shallow to very shallow, gravelly, stony or rocky soils, with basalt boulders present on the surface in some places (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977).

Semi-evergreen vine thicket and microphyll vine forest on Cainozoic igneous rocks (RE 11.8.13) (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is predominantly 'central SEVT' with tree species such as Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton), Denhamia oleaster, Geijera parviflora (Wilga), Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood) and many others in the canopy layer (Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977), and Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow) and Brachychiton rupestris (Bottle Tree, Narrow-leaved Bottle Tree, Queensland Bottle Tree) as scattered emergents in places (Gunn & Nix 1977). The canopy trees are usually 8±2 m tall, and the emergent trees 14±3 m tall (Gunn & Nix 1977).

In the south-east part of the 'northern SEVT' area microphyll/notophyll vine forest forms part of this regional ecosystem (see Forster & Barton 1995).

The vine thickets occur on Cainozoic igneous rocks (basalt) in lowland areas on gently undulating plains, rises and low hills. The slopes are generally < 5% (Story et al. 1967), and the soils shallow to moderately deep clay loams, uniform or gradational soils, or light to medium clays (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977).

Semi-evergreen vine thicket on Cainozoic fine-grained sedimentary rocks (RE 11.9.4) (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is predominantly 'central SEVT' and includes similar vegetation further south (Vandersee 1975). Emergent tree species include Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Brachychiton rupestris and B. australis (Bottle Trees), Cadellia pentastylis (Ooline), Casuarina cristata (Belah) and Eucalyptus populnea (Poplar Box, Bimble Box). E. populnea and Cadellia pentastylis are more common in the central and western parts of the 'central SEVT' area (Neldner 1984; Story et al. 1967). Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Eucalyptus orgadophila (Mountain Coolibah) and Lysiphyllum carronii (Ebony Tree) may also be more prominent emergents in southern parts of the 'central SEVT' area (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977).

Tree species often present in the canopy include Alectryon pubescens, Alstonia constricta (Bitter Bark), Atalaya hemiglauca (Whitewood), Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton), Denhamia oleaster, Geijera parviflora (Wilga), Lysiphyllum carronii and many other species (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Speck et al. 1968; Galloway et al. 1974; Gunn & Nix 1977; McDonald 1996). Apophyllum anomalum (Warrior Bush, Currant Bush), Capparis loranthifolia (Wild Pomegranate) and Geijera parviflora are often more common inland and Backhousia angustifolia (Narrow-leaved Backhousia) and Geijera salicifolia (Brush Wilga) more common in eastern areas (McDonald 1996). Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood) is absent from the vegetation. The canopy trees range from 6±2 m to 8±3 m tall, and the emergent trees from 11±3 to 14±4 m or more tall (Gunn & Nix 1977; Neldner 1984).

The vine thickets occur on Cainozoic to Proterozoic consolidated, fine-grained sediments on undulating rises or crests and slopes of steep hills. The substrate is frequently derived from shale (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Speck et al. 1968; Neldner 1984), although it is sometimes associated with areas that have been subject to basalt enrichment. Slopes may be 5–40% in central areas (Gunn & Nix 1977) and 8–30% or more in southern areas (Vandersee 1975).

Soils are frequently shallow to moderately deep, light, medium or heavy clays, loams or clay loams and occasionally texture contrast soils, or moderately deep to deep cracking clays (Story et al. 1967; Speck et al. 1968; Galloway et al. 1974; Vandersee 1975; Neldner 1984).

RE 11.9.8-Macropteranthes leichhardtii thicket on Cainozoic fine-grained sedimentary rocks (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

The regional ecosystem is thicket in the 'central SEVT' area in which Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood) achieves high levels of dominance. Other tree species may be present, including Alectryon diversifolius (Scrub Boonaree), Alstonia constricta (Bitter Bark), Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton), C. phebalioides, Denhamia oleaster, Geijera parviflora (Wilga) and Ventilago viminalis (Supplejack, Vinetree) in the canopy and Brachychiton rupestris and B. australis (Bottle Trees), Geijera parviflora and occasionally Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow) as emergents (Gunn et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977; McDonald 1996). The canopy layer is usually 8±2 m tall, rarely to 12 m, and the emergent layer 15±3 m or more tall (Gunn & Nix 1977; McDonald 1996).

The thickets are associated with Cainozoic to Proterozoic consolidated, fine-grained sediments. These sediments are frequently formed from shale (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977). The topography is commonly lowlands with slopes to 15%, but includes low ridges and escarpments where the slopes may be to 40% or locally to 80% (Gunn et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977).

The soils include shallow to moderately deep texture contrast soils, occasionally cracking clays, and shallow loams and clays on ridges and escarpments (Gunn et al. 1967; Story et al. 1967; Gunn & Nix 1977).

RE 11.11.18-Semi-evergreen vine thicket on old sedimentary rocks with varying degrees of metamorphism and folding (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2002b) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

This regional ecosystem is semi-evergreen vine thicket in the 'central SEVT' area. A large number of tree species occur in the canopy layer, including Croton insularis (Native Cascarilla Bark, Queensland Cascarilla, Silver Croton), Denhamia oleaster, Macropteranthes leichhardtii (Bonewood) and Owenia acidula (Emu Apple) (Gunn & Nix 1977; Speck et al. 1968). Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow), Brachychiton ruprestris and B. australis (Bottle Trees) and Lysiphyllum carronii (Ebony Tree) may occur as scattered emergents (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977). The canopy is usually 8±3 m tall, and the emergents 14±3 m tall (Gunn & Nix 1977).

The vine thickets occur on undulating plains and rises formed on Mesozoic to Proterozoic moderately to strongly deformed and metamorphosed sediments and interbedded volcanics. The slopes are usually < 5% (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977). The soils are usually shallow to moderately deep, loams, clay loams, light to medium clays or occasionally cracking clays (Speck et al. 1968; Gunn & Nix 1977).

New South Wales (vegetation suballiance)

Notelaea microcarpa-Ehretia membranifolia-Geijera parviflora vine thicket (based on Benson et al. (1996), McDonald (1996), Williams (1999), Curran (2003) and McDonald (2007) with supplementary information as shown in individual references)

The most characteristic tree species of the vine thicket canopy are Ehretia membranifolia (Peach Bush), Elaeodendron australe var. integrifolium (Red Olive Plum), Geijera parviflora (Wilga) and Notelaea microcarpa (Native Olive). In northern areas (north from Yallaroi), trees such as Pouteria cotinifolia var. pubescens (Yellow Lemon) and Pittosporum spinescens (Wallaby Apple, Large-fruited Orange Thorn) may also be locally dominant. Tree species dominant in adjacent woodlands often occur as emergents above the vine thicket canopy (Floyd 1990; Williams 1999). They include Eucalyptus melanophloia (Silver Leaf-ironbark), E. albens (White Box), Callitris glaucophylla (White Cypress Pine), Casuarina cristata (Belah) and Brachychiton populneus (Kurrajong).

Other characteristic tree and shrub species include Alstonia constricta (Quinine Bush, Bitter Bark), Alphitonia excelsa (Red Ash), Alectryon oleifolius (Western Rosewood, Bonaree), A. subdentatus, Capparis mitchellii (Wild Orange, Native Orange), Croton phebalioides, Hovea longipes, Maytenus cunninghamii (Yellow-berry Bush), Psydrax odorata subsp. australiana and Ventilago viminalis (Supple Jack).

Characteristic understorey shrubs include Beyeria viscosa, Breynia oblongifolia (Coffee Bush), Carissa ovata (Currant Bush) and Spartothamnella juncea. Vine species often present include Parsonsia eucalyptophylla (Gargaloo), Pandorea pandorana (Wonga Wonga Vine) and Jasminum didymum subsp. lineare (Desert Jasmine), or less frequently Parsonsia lanceolata and Clematis microphylla (Small-leaved Clematis).

The vine thickets occur mainly on hills in the southern parts of their distribution, and also on flattish footslopes in northern areas (Curran 2003). They are usually associated with deep, loamy, high nutrient basaltic soils (Benson et al. 1996) but also occur on sandy loams (Williams 1999).

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Past threats

Over most of its range the listed SEVT ecological community was extensively cleared between 1960 and 1990 by pulling and burning as part of major agricultural development schemes for cropping, grazing and/or pasture in Queensland (McDonald 1996; Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b) and for grazing and cropping in New South Wales (Benson 1989). In northern parts of the Brigalow Belt Bioregion, almost 70% of semi-evergreen vine thicket vegetation is thought to have been converted to pasture (Fensham 1996). Vine thickets were favoured over Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow) forests for clearing because they produced little regrowth (McDonald 1996). In areas such as the Central Highlands of Queensland, where Macropus dorsalis (Black-striped Wallaby) had a substantial grazing impact on pastures (Baxter et al. 2001), semi-evergreen vine thicket vegetation was also cleared to remove shelter for wallaby populations (McDonald 2007).

Current threats

The high level of fragmentation (see Distribution and Functionality), lack of connectivity between fragments, continued clearing, inappropriate fire regimes, invasion by introduced pasture species and increased grazing by domestic stock and native animals are all considered to be general threats to SEVT remnants (Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage 1995; Benson et al. 1996; McDonald 1996; New South Wales Scientific Committee 1999; Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2001; Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b; Curran 2003). RE 11.2.3, which occurs in coastal areas in Queensland, is also considered to be threatened by coastal development (Queensland Environmental Protection Agency 2002b).

Clearing

Clearing of vegetation remnants > 2 ha in area for agricultural or pastoral purposes ceased in Queensland in 2006 under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Queensland) (McDonald 2007). However, clearing for construction of roads and clearing of fencelines and firebreaks, as well as broadscale clearing for mining, are still permitted. These activities may result in further loss and/or fragmentation of remnant patches of the listed SEVT ecological community as well as increased susceptibility to invasion by shrubs and grasses which in turn increase the risk of fire damage (McDonald 2007).

McDonald notes that just less than 3000 ha of the listed SEVT ecological community is held under mining leases or mining development leases, while an additional 33 000 ha is under exploration permits. RE 11.8.13 is the most at risk from exploration and mining activities (McDonald 2007).

Coastal development

Remnants of the listed semi-evergreen vine thicket vegetation located on coastal beach ridges in Queensland (RE 11.2.3) are under threat from the impact of weeds and clearing for coastal development (McDonald 2007). McDonald (2007) notes that about half the remnant area (1200 ha) of this regional ecosystem is held under freehold tenure, with 480 ha in Livingstone Shire (one of the most-rapidly growing areas in Queensland) and 630 ha in Bowen Shire (where the demand for residential land in coastal areas is increasing).

Fire

Although considered a general threat, studies over a wide geographic area have found little evidence of fire damage within undisturbed semi-evergreen vine thickets in either Queensland (Fensham 1996; McDonald 1996) or New South Wales (Curran 2003).

In Queensland, the remnants are often, but not always, located in areas protected from fire by the topography and/or substrate (e.g. see Fensham 1995) or because their sparse ground layer and relatively moist microclimate are thought to preclude entry of wildfire into the vegetation (Kahn & Lawrie 1987; Fensham 1995).

Fire is considered to be a high threat where fuel characteristics have been changed, e.g. by the presence of introduced grass pasture species such as Pennisetum ciliare (Buffel Grass, previously known as Cenchrus ciliaris) or Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis (Green Panic) in areas adjacent to thickets (Fensham 1996; McDonald 1996) or where thickets have been invaded by Lantara camara (Lantana) (Fensham et al. 1994; Fensham 1996). McDonald (1996) indicated that repeated fires and the slow rate of regeneration in vine thicket vegetation were causing rapid attrition of roadside SEVT remnants and many hill slope fragments in Queensland. In New South Wales, where there is less emphasis on sown pastures, build-up of fuel in adjacent areas or weed disturbance within thickets appear to be less of a problem (Curran 2003).

Grazing-Domestic stock

In 'northern SEVT' areas in Queensland, Fensham (1996) found little or no evidence of damage from cattle in most vine thicket remnants, although Kahn and Lawrie (1987) noted that cattle grazing can open up the understorey layer. In contrast, extensive trampling damage and associated invasion by pasture grasses has been recorded in vine thickets in central and southern Queensland (McDonald 1996). In New South Wales Curran (2003) found evidence of severe overgrazing by sheep or cattle in some vine thicket patches, although these mostly appeared to be more open thickets in marginal areas or patches that had been disturbed.

Exclusion of domestic livestock may not necessarily lead to recovery of the ground stratum and/or regeneration of canopy species in semi-evergreen vine thickets where Macropus dorsalis (Black-striped Wallaby) is present (McDonald 2007; see also below).

Grazing-Native herbivores

In Queensland, many areas of remnant or regrowth vine thicket carry large numbers of native macropods, especially Macropus dorsalis (Black-striped Wallaby) because of the availability of crops and planted pastures, and the loss or removal of predators, particularly dingoes (McDonald 2007). In 'central SEVT' areas of Queensland, browsing of understorey trees and shrubs by macropods such as the Black-striped Wallaby was reported to be preventing the regeneration of some SEVT species (McDonald 1996). At the Brigalow Research Station, densities of the Black-striped Wallaby were estimated to be up to 10 per hectare (White et al. 2003 cited in McDonald 2007). Although the wallabies fed predominantly on grass, browsing during dry periods resulted in them taking significant amounts of trees, shrubs and vines (White et al. 2003 cited in McDonald 2007).

Grazing-Pigs

In 'northern SEVT' areas in Queensland Fensham (1996) found little or no evidence of damage from pigs in most vine thicket remnants. Fensham and colleagues (1994) noted that where pigs did occur, their digging appeared to kill some trees by severing their roots; this also resulted in the canopy layer becoming more open. Damage caused by pigs does not appear to be common in vine thickets in New South Wales, and where present mostly appears to affect only ground layer species (Curran 2003).

Disturbance and weeds

Various forms of disturbance of semi-evergreen vine thickets are thought to promote invasion by weeds. For example McDonald (1996) considered that trampling by cattle, and death of canopy trees from fire, both promoted invasion by introduced pasture grass species. Fensham (1996) reported a positive correlation between the presence of pigs and Lantana camara (Lantana) in northern areas in Queensland, and indicated that pigs appeared to facilitate the weed's invasion. Fensham et al. (1994) found that Lantana infestations of vine thickets to the north of the Brigalow Belt were generally greatest where light levels had been increased due to damage to the canopy layer from tree deaths caused by pigs.

Fensham (1996) also noted that mechanical disturbance in vine thickets from strip clearing for fences or for mineral exploration facilitated colonisation by weeds such as L. camara and Cryptostegia grandiflora (Rubber Vine) which in turn can reduce the diversity of native species (see 'Weeds' below). Such disturbance may also result in edge effects including increased light levels and altered moisture regimes, which may limit the regeneration of some plant species (Curran 2003).

Weeds

The major weed species considered to pose a threat to semi-evergreen vine thickets in Queensland, because they facilitate the incursion of fire into SEVT, are the pasture species Pennisetum ciliare (Buffel Grass, previously known as Cenchrus ciliaris) and Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis (Green Panic) and the pasture weed Parthenium hysterophorus (Parthenium) (Fensham 1996; McDonald 1996). Other introduced species such as the shrubs Lantana camara (Lantana) and Opuntia tomentosa (Velvet Tree Pear), vines Cryptostegia grandiflora (Rubber Vine) and Solanum seaforthianum (Brazilian Nightshade) and herb Rivina humilis (Coral Berry) have also been recorded in vine thickets in Queensland (Fensham 1996; McDonald 1996). The Velvet Tree Pear is the most widespread introduced species in the listed SEVT ecological community in Queensland (McDonald 1996).

In New South Wales, Opuntia stricta var. stricta (Prickly Pear) is the most common introduced plant recorded in listed vine thickets (Benson et al. 1996), although the shrub Lycium ferocissimum (African Boxthorn) and grass Hyparrhenia hirta (Coolatai Grass) may be locally common in some places (Curran 2003).

Of the above weed species, only Lantana camara and Cryptostegia grandiflora are considered to pose a serious threat (Fensham 1996; McDonald 1996). These two species are ranked numbers 4 and 5 (respectively) of the top 20 weeds of national significance (Thorp & Lynch 2000), with dry rainforest being considered one of the prime habitats for C. grandiflora (Humphries et al. 1991). Studies in 'northern SEVT' areas of Queensland have shown that the species richness of mature plants in semi-evergreen vine thickets decreases as the density of Lantana camara increases, even though the density of saplings, seedlings and the soil seed bank are similar in areas with heavy and light infestations (Fensham et al. 1994). Both L. camara and C. grandiflora can cause broad-scale displacement of native plants, while Lantana also promotes the spread of fire into vine thickets (Fensham et al. 1994; Fensham 1996).

In northern areas Lantana camara does not appear to occur in inland areas with < 600 mm mean annual rainfall and is usually associated with eastern vine thickets (Fensham 1996) in moister sub-coastal areas (McDonald 1996). Cryptostegia grandiflora, which is present in 'central SEVT' and in inland and eastern parts of the 'northern SEVT', is most prolific around vine thicket margins or where the overstorey canopy is open because of the rocky substrate (Fensham 1996; McDonald 1996). Fensham (1996) noted C. grandiflora was absent from vine thickets between 20º45'S and 22º15'S.

Weeds such as Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis (Green Panic), Rivina humilis (Coral Berry) and Ageratum conyzoides grow freely in relatively shady situations, and are considered capable of invading apparently undisturbed SEVT vegetation (McDonald 2007).

Emerging threats

McDonald (2007) noted that the increasing temperatures and lower and more erratic rainfall predicted with global warming are likely to lead to unplanned, high-intensity fires becoming a greater threat to semi-evergreen vine thicket throughout the Brigalow Belt and Nandewar bioregions, especially the more fragmented remnants occupying more marginal habitats.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

The national recovery plan for the listed SEVT ecological community (McDonald 2007) will provide the main framework for the community's recovery. The main objective proposed is "to maintain and conserve the environmental values of the semi-evergreen vine thicket ecological community (SEVT EC) over the long term, by minimising the loss of both remnant and regrowth SEVT and improving their condition and management" (McDonald 2007).

Specific objectives proposed in the national recovery plan (McDonald 2007) are:

  • to identify and evaluate the extent, biodiversity value and condition of listed semi-evergreen vine thicket remnants and regrowth areas
  • to establish a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of the listed semi-evergreen vine thicket areas across the Brigalow Belt and Nandewar bioregions, protected either by reservation or conservation agreements
  • to ensure 'best practice' management is applied to sites containing semi-evergreen vine thicket
  • to encourage the involvement of landholders and the community in the conservation and management of semi-evergreen vine thicket
  • to enhance the ability of government and non-government organisations at all levels (national to local) to recognise and incorporate semi-evergreen vine thicket ecological community conservation issues into all planning processes.

Semi-evergreen vine thickets occur naturally as discrete patches associated with other vegetation types (see Distribution). Surviving fragments outside protected areas are frequently located in agricultural landscapes (e.g. see Fensham 1996) where the risk of weed invasion, fire incursion or clearing for fences may be high. It is thus important to manage semi-evergreen vine thickets on a whole-of-landscape basis (Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage 1995). Fensham (1996) noted this should include 'integrated management of feral animals, exotic plant species and fire in the matrix of vegetation types that contain dry rainforest as well as the rainforest patches themselves'.

The main recovery actions proposed in the national recovery plan (McDonald 2007) include the following.

Improving the knowledge base:

  • refine mapping of remnants in Queensland and complete mapping of remnants in New South Wales
  • evaluate methodologies for assessing the condition of remnants and establish benchmark sites for each component regional ecosystem
  • survey poorly known species, especially fungi, herpetofauna and invertebrates
  • identify key ecosystem components and processes and determine their response to common management practices.

Conservation:

  • increase the extent and representativeness of the listed semi-evergreen vine thicket ecological community within the conservation estate
  • encourage landholders to enter into conservation agreements over semi-evergreen vine thickets.

Weeds:

  • determine the extent and condition of areas affected by invasive plant species, particularly weeds of national significance
  • undertake studies of the impact on the SEVT ecological community of invasive shade-tolerant grasses and other ground stratum species such as Rivina humilis and Ageratum spp.

Pest animals:

  • develop and implement a pest management program to control feral animals in remnants
  • develop strategies to manage the impact of native macropods, particularly Macropus dorsalis (Black-striped Wallaby) where it is abundant in Queensland, on pastures and crops as well as the remnant SEVT and other vegetation used as shelter.

Other on-ground management:

  • in liaison with landholders and other natural resource managers, develop appropriate burning practices and other procedures to minimize fire damage to remnant areas of SEVT on private and public lands
  • through exclosure trials, determine the impact of grazing animals, both domestic and native, on remnant areas of SEVT, and develop guidelines and recommendations for fencing
  • encourage landholders through appropriate incentive programs to protect and foster regrowth semi-evergreen vine thicket and associated vegetation in buffer areas around and in corridors linking remnant SEVT
  • research and develop the use of semi-evergreen vine thicket species for landscape rehabilitation in areas where SEVT would naturally have occurred prior to clearing, and encourage mines, main roads and others to use native species in plantings.

Community involvement:

  • establish a Semi-evergreen Vine Thicket Conservation Management Network
  • consult with traditional owner groups to determine the level of indigenous knowledge of and association with the SEVT ecological community
  • consult with and involve traditional owners when conducting works in the SEVT ecological community and
  • develop and implement an education program to increase the awareness of government and non-government organisations regarding SEVT conservation, and their responsibilities for SEVT protection and management.


Queensland

Remnants of the listed SEVT ecological community totalling about 30,980 ha in area are located within 28 protected areas in Queensland (see table below), i.e. about 22% of the community in Queensland. About 92% of the reserved area is located in five national parks (NPs), i.e. Bunya Mountains NP, Carnarvon NP, Dipperu NP, Expedition NP and Palmgrove NP (see table).

Fensham (1996) noted that SEVT remnants located in protected areas do not represent a cross-section of the original diversity of the communities in Queensland, and off-reserve conservation measures are important for those types not represented in the reserve estate (RE 11.11.18) or poorly represented there (e.g. RE 11.8.13).


Reserve name SEVT Area
(ha)
Reserve name SEVT Area
(ha)
Abbott Bay Resources Reserve 16 MacKenzie Island Conservation Park 10
Bania Forest Reserve 76 Magnetic Island National Park 16
Bowling Green Bay National Park 19 Minerva Hills National Park 62
Bunya Mountains National Park 1,938 Mount Dumaresq Conservation Park 70
Cape Upstart National Park 96 Mount Leura Conservation Park 115
Capricorn Coast National Park 10 Mount Scoria Conservation Park 11
Carnarvon National Park 14,096 Nuga Nuga National Park 398
Dipperu National Park (Scientific) 1,841 Palmgrove National Park (Scientific) 6,251
Expedition Resources Reserve 389 Peak Range National Park 309
Expedition National Park 4,463 Precipice National Park 170
Gurgeena Conservation Park 36 Reinke Scrub Conservation Park 30
Highworth Bend Conservation Park 19 Rundle Range National Park 33
Homevale National Park 140 Shoalwater Bay Conservation Park 164
Isla Gorge National Park 190 Stony Country Resources Reserve 14

Fensham and Streimann (1997) noted that protection of the moss flora associated with semi-evergreen vine thickets in northern areas in Queensland would be best facilitated by the preservation of a large vine thicket patch rather than preserving several small patches, and ensuring protection of the SEVT habitat across the spectrum of geological substrates on which the community occurs.

New South Wales

In New South Wales remnants of the listed SEVT ecological community occur in only two protected areas, viz. 200 ha in Planchonella Nature Reserve (Curran 2003; Hunter 2002), and several small patches in Mt Kaputar National Park (McDonald 2007).


Specific activities considered important for the management of SEVT thickets include:

  • maintaining the size and integrity of vine thicket patches, as Fensham (1996) reported a positive correlation between native species richness and patch area, with small patches generally having fewer species than large patches;
  • controlling fire and pigs in northern areas of SEVT to prevent vine thickets being opened up and invaded by Lantana camara (Fensham 1996; Fensham et al. 1994); and
  • trying to prevent Cryptostegia grandiflora (Rubber Vine) from invading new SEVT areas (Fensham 1996).

In Queensland, fire management may require maintaining other native vegetation types adjacent to or surrounding vine thicket patches. For example, Acacia harpophylla (Brigalow) and A. shirleyi (Lancewood) forests appear to provide natural buffers that prevent fire incursion into vine thicket vegetation (Kahn and Lawrie 1987; Fensham 1995; McDonald 1996), especially when present downslope of the thickets (McDonald 1996).

In 'northern SEVT' areas in Queensland, Fensham (1996) concluded that conservation of semi-evergreen vine thickets in pastoral country was compatible with the cattle grazing industry provided no further remnants were cleared. In New South Wales, however, Benson and colleagues (1996) considered stock should be excluded from vine thickets, as heavy grazing and trampling may limit the regeneration of a range of plant species.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

Occurrence on Commonwealth-owned land

Some semi-evergreen vine thicket vegetation is thought to occur in the Shoalwater Bay Military Training area located near Rockhampton.

For the legal definition of the ecological community please refer to the listing advice and other documents under Legal Status and Documents.

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Environmental Resources Information Network (2006) Map of Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, viewed 16 April 2008, http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities/maps/pubs/brigalow-nandewar-vine-thickets-map.pdf.

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Fensham, RJ and Fairfax, RJ (1997) The use of the land survey record to reconstruct pre-European vegetation patterns in the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia. Journal of Biogeography 24: 827-36.

Fensham, RJ, Fairfax, RJ and Cannell, RJ (1994) The invasion of Lantana camara L. in Forty Mile Scrub National park, north Queensland. Australian Journal of Ecology 19: 297-305.

Fensham, RJ and Streimann, H (1997) Broad landscape relations of the moss flora from inland dry rainforest in north Queensland, Australia. The Bryologist 100: 56-64.

Floyd, AG (1990) Australian rainforests in New South Wales. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney, volume 2, pp 106-8.

Forster, BA and Barton, AL (1995) Land systems of the Capricorn coast. Maps at 1:250 000 scale, Department of Primary Industries, Central Region, Rockhampton.

Galloway, RW, Gunn, RH, Pedley, L, Cocks, KD and Kalma, JD (1974) Lands of the Balonne-Maranoa Area, Queensland. Land Research Series No. 34, CSIRO, Melbourne.

Gunn, RH, Galloway, RW, Pedley, L and Fitzpatrick, EA (1967) Lands of the Nogoa-Belyando Area, Queensland. Land Research Series No. 18, CSIRO, Melbourne.

Gunn, RH and Nix, HA, (1977) Land units of the Fitzroy Region, Queensland. Land Research Series No. 39, CSIRO, Australia.

Holmes, G (1979) Preliminary survey of vegetation remnants and associated avifauna on basaltic soils on the North Western Slopes of NSW. Unpublished report for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.

Humphries, SE, Groves, RH, Mitchell, DD, Hallegraeff, GM and Clark, J (1991) Plant Invasions. Kowari, 2. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.

Hunter, JT (2002) A preliminary overview of what is reserved in the Inverell and Yallaroi Shires, North Western Slopes, NSW. Cunninghamia 7(4): 671-681.

Johnson, RW (1997) The impact of clearing on brigalow communities and consequences for conservation. In P Hale and D Lamb (eds), Conservation outside nature reserves, Centre for Conservation Biology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, pp 359-63.

Kahn, TP and Lawrie, BC (1987) Vine thickets of the inland Townsville region. In The rainforest legacy, Australian national rainforests study, volume 1, Special Australian Heritage Publication Series No 7(1): 159-99.

Keith, D (2004) Ocean shores to desert dunes: the vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT. Department of Environment and Conservation, Hurstville, pp 48-49.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions in Community and Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed 2014-09-02T07:30:25EST.