The Robertson Rainforest ecological community is a type of warm to cool temperate rainforest. It has a restricted distribution in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, generally occurring on soils derived from basalt and basanite on the gently undulating Robertson Plateau and surrounds at altitudes between 500 and 800 metres above sea level.
Robertson Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
Status: Critically Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Conservation Advice (incorporating listing advice) for Robertson Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
Also; environmental variables; such as climate (and the ecological community s response to them); fluctuate or change over time.
Overall; fire impacts will be exacerbated by other threats such as urban development; weeds and climate change (as covered in Section 4.5).
Fire exclusion and rapid detection and suppression of fires are essential to maintain the ecological and biological integrity of the community. 4.5 Climate change Climate change poses a serious long term threat to terrestrial ecosystems with the potential to change the ecology of these environments through changes to species composition and community structure and function including changes in timing and amount of precipitation and increased drying winds; and increased storm events (Dunlop et al. 2012 NSW OEH 2017a).
In addition to threatening species that cannot adapt; climate change could also exacerbate existing threats such as habitat loss; altered fire regimes and the spread of invasive species and disease (DoE 2015).
While the ecological community is likely to be negatively impacted by the effects of climate change; in a regional context it is likely to increasingly play an important role in supporting ecological adaptation by providing refuge for species displaced from their preferred habitat.
The deliberate removal of the understory beneath the tree canopy (underscrubbing) to open areas up (e.g. to stock and or enhance grazing; or to create lawns in per urban areas); can also cause a lot of damage to the ecological community. 4.4 Altered fire regimes Destruction or degradation of remnants by wildfire is an ongoing threat to the ecological community (NSW OEH 2017a).
The Robertson rainforest is sensitive to fire and can take many years if not decades to recover composition and structure; or show a range of transitional stages.