This document constitutes the formal National Recovery Plan for White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland (referred to throughout this recovery plan as Box-Gum Grassy Woodland) and as such considers the conservation requirements of the ecological community across its known range. It identifies actions to be undertaken to ensure the long-term viability of the ecological community.
White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland is listed as a critically endangered ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The ecological community can occur either as woodland or derived native grassland (i.e. grassy woodland where the tree overstorey has been removed). It is characterised by a species-rich understorey of native tussock grasses, herbs and scattered shrubs (where shrub cover comprises less than 30% cover), and a dominance or prior dominance of White Box (Eucalyptus albens) and/or Yellow Box (E. melliodora) and/or Blakely's Red Gum (E. blakelyi) trees. In the Nandewar bioregion, Grey Box (E. microcarpa or E moluccana) may also be dominant or co-dominant. In the woodland state, tree cover is generally discontinuous and of medium height with canopies that are clearly separated.
To be considered part of the listed ecological community remnant areas must also:
- have a predominantly native understorey (i.e. more than 50% of the perennial vegetative groundlayer must comprise native species), and
- be 0.1 hectare (ha) or greater in size and contain 12 or more native understorey species (excluding grasses), including one or more identified important species (see Appendix 1);
be 2 ha or greater in size and have either natural regeneration of the overstorey species or an average of 20 or more mature trees per ha.
Box-Gum Grassy Woodland occurs along the western slopes and tablelands of the Great Dividing Range from southern Queensland through New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to Victoria. The ecological community once covered several million hectares in the eastern part of the wheat-sheep belt and tablelands and some coastal regions (e.g. Bega Valley of NSW). Due to the ecological community's occurrence on fertile soils it has been extensively cleared for agriculture and intact remnants, including both trees and unmodified understorey, are now extremely rare. Very few high quality remnants remain anywhere across its former range. Current estimates indicate that only 405,000 ha of the ecological community in various condition states remain (Australian Government 2007). Clearing and fragmentation for urban, rural residential, agricultural and infrastructure development remain on-going threats to this ecological community, while degradation resulting from inappropriate management and weed invasion by introduced perennial grasses continues to erode the conservation value of remnant areas.
The objective of this recovery plan is to promote the recovery and minimise the risk of extinction of the ecological community through:
- achieving no net loss in extent and condition of the ecological community throughout its geographic distribution;
- increasing protection of sites in good condition;
- increasing landscape function of the ecological community through management and restoration of degraded sites;
- increasing transitional areas around remnants and linkages between remnants; and
- bringing about enduring changes in participating land manager attitudes and behaviours towards environmental protection and sustainable land management practices to increase extent, integrity and function of Box-Gum Grassy Woodland.
This recovery plan will be implemented over a five-year period potentially using funding from the Australian Government and resources provided by state, territory and local government bodies, with the assistance of non-government/community organisations and private landholders.