Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla dominant and co-dominant) ecological community

Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list

The Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla dominant and co-dominant) ecological community occurs within Queensland and New South Wales. Acacia harpophylla (brigalow) is a distinctive silver-foliaged shrub or tree. It is commonly the dominant species in a range of open forests and woodlands; these are collectively referred to as brigalow woodlands.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Approved Conservation Advice for the Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla dominant and co-dominant) ecological community

    If climate change results in increasing temperatures and lower and more erratic rainfall it is probable that unplanned; high intensity fires will become a greater threat throughout the Brigalow Belt (Butler; 2007).

    Some of the increase in noisy miner abundance may be attributable to changes in climate and drought (Mac Nally et al.; 2009 Bennett et al.; 2013 cited in Maron et al; 2013).

    It is not uncommon to see distinct browse lines in brigalow vegetation; the height of which reflect the reach of the dominant herbivore and; below which; little foliage persists. 4.5 Climate change The broad environmental tolerance of Acacia harpophylla and its associated species gives them some capacity to cope with climate change (Butler; 2007).

    However; the rate of change is expected to be higher than previously experienced and future climate may differ from that which the Brigalow ecological community was subject to in the past.

    Furthermore; the landscapes within which the Brigalow ecological community faces climate change are radically different from those within which it endured preceding changes and this may compromise adaptability.

    Climate change may exacerbate existing threats such as fire; as well as slowing recovery. 5.

    Collapse of an avifauna climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation.

    It becomes a serious threat to remnant brigalow where fuel characteristics have been changed (e.g. by the presence of high biomass introduced grass pasture species such as buffel grass (Pennisetum ciliare syn.

    Introduced grasses; such as buffel grass; Rhodes grass and green panic grass; pose the greatest threat by drawing fires into the Brigalow ecological community and increasing fire severity (Butler; 2007).