Recovery Action Plan for Grey Box community



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Plan for Grey Box Woodlands in the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges region

June 2013

(photo: A Prescott)

“The mission of every ecological restoration project is to re-establish a functional ecosystem of a designated type that contains sufficient biodiversity to continue its maturation by natural processes and to evolve over longer time spans in response to changing environmental conditions” — Society for Ecological Restoration

Contents


1. Introduction: 4

1.1. Purpose of this Plan 4

1.2. Description of Grey Box Woodlands in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Region 4

1.3. Distribution of Grey Box Woodlands 7

1.4. Threats to Grey Box Grassy Woodlands 9

1.5. Current Management Activities being undertaken in Grey Box Woodlands 10

1.5.1. Targeted Caring for our Country Investment 10

1.5.2. Local Councils 16

1.5.3. Non-Government Organisations and Community 17

1.5.4. Protected Areas on Public Land 18

1.5.5. Urban Biodiversity Unit 18

1.6. Grey Box Woodland State and Transition Model 20

1.7. Assigning State to Mapped Remnants 20

1.8. Management Requirements for Different Grey Box Woodland States 23

1.9. On-ground Management Actions for Grey Box Grassy Woodlands 26

1.9.1. Prevention of Anthropogenic Impacts 26

1.9.2. Woody and Herbaceous Weed Control 26

1.9.3. Grassy Weed Control 27

1.9.4. Slashing 27

1.9.5. Grazing Management 28

1.9.6. Nutrient Control and Removal 29

1.9.7. Supplementary Planting and Habitat Reconstruction 30

1.9.8. Fire Management 31

1.9.9. Improving/Retaining Habitat Values 34

1.10. Monitoring Success of Management Interventions at a Site 35

1.11. Identifying Regional Priorities 38

2. Strategic Directions 41

2.1. Assessing State of patches 41

2.1.1. Assessment Methods 41

2.1.2. Mapping and Assessing Patches 41

2.1.3. Monitoring and Evaluation at a Regional Scale 42

2.2. Regional Scale Management 42

3. Acknowledgements 43

4. References 44

5. Appendices 46

5.1. Appendix A 46

Threatened plant species known to occur in Grey Box Grassy Woodlands in the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges region 46

Grass species largely confined to box grassy woodlands 47

Herbaceous and shrub species largely confined to box grassy woodlands in the Mount Lofty Ranges 47

5.2. Appendix B 49

EPBC condition thresholds for Grey Box (E. microcarpa) Grassy Woodlands and Derived Native Grasslands 49

5.3. Appendix C 51

Dominant Invasive species found in Grey Box woodlands Jan 13 (based on Milne 2013): 51

5.4. Appendix D Grey Box Woodland State and Transition Model 53

5.4.1. State 1 - Remnant intact woodland 53

5.4.2. State 2 – Woodland impacted by inappropriate fire events 54

5.4.3. State 3a – Woodland with grazing impacts, but no / little added fertiliser & State 3b – Woodland with grazing impacts and with nutrient inputs 54

5.4.4. State 4 – Woodland impacted by pasture species understorey 55

5.4.5. State 5a – Woodland impacted by neglect – recoverable & State 5b – Woodland impacted by neglect after disturbance –recoverable? 56

5.4.6. State 5c – Woodland impacted by neglect / tree death and State 5d – Woodland impacted by neglect / tree death after disturbance with nutrients 57

5.4.7. State 6 – Woodland impacted by Phytophthora root fungus 58

5.4.8. State 7 – Woodland replaced by pasture, without trees 59

5.4.9. State 8 – Woodland lost through alienation 59

5.4.10. State 9 – Woodland reconstructed 60

5.4.11. State 10 – Woodland impacted by climate change 60

5.4.12. State 11 – Woodland best-option conservation surrogate 60

Review of the State and Transition Model 61

5.4.13. State 1b: Remnant Depauperate Woodland 62

5.5. Appendix E: Managing native vegetation in roadsides 64

5.6. Appendix F: Minimal Disturbance Weeding Techniques 66

5.7. Appendix G: Restoration of Grey Box Woodland Sites 71




1.Introduction:

1.1.Purpose of this Plan

Temperate grasslands and grassy woodlands are among the most under-represented ecosystems in Australia’s reserve system, and are recognised nationally as among the most threatened vegetation types. Grasslands and grassy woodlands have been disproportionately cleared when compared to other vegetation types, due to a combination of the ease of undertaking this clearance, the comparatively high fertility of the soils of these vegetation types compared to other Australian soils, and the fact they predominantly occur in moderate to high rainfall areas in an Australian context.


Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) grassy woodland was recognised as a threatened plant community in South Australia by Neagle (1996) and as a “very high priority” in the Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species and Ecological Communities of Adelaide and the Mt Lofty Ranges (Willson and Bignall 2009). The community was listed as nationally Endangered under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) in 2010. In the Mount Lofty Ranges region the pre-European extent of Grey Box woodlands is estimated to have been about 20 000 ha, with only about 2000 ha remaining (Paton, 2008).
The objective of this Plan is to summarise the current distribution, condition, threats and required management interventions for Grey Box remnants in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region. This will assist in the prioritisation of management activities both within sites as well as across the region, to ensure that recovery of these Grey Box remnants is planned and implemented as efficiently and effectively as possible.


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