The Warkworth Sands Woodland of the Hunter Valley is a mid to low woodland (occasionally forest), typically dominated by Angophora floribunda (roughbarked apple) in the canopy and Banksia integrifolia subsp. integrifolia (coast banksia) and/or Acacia filicifolia (fern-leaved wattle) in a sub-canopy; together with other small trees, shrubs and groundcover species that are typical of sandy soils in the Hunter Valley region.
Warkworth Sands Woodland of the Hunter Valley ecological community
Status: Critically Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Approved Conservation Advice (including listing advice) for the Warkworth Sands Woodland of the Hunter Valley ecological community
In addition to threatening the species that cannot adapt; climate change can exacerbate existing threats such as habitat loss; altered fire and hydrology regimes and the spread of invasive species. 2.1 Summary of Key Threatening Processes (KTPs) Key threatening processes identified under the NSW TSC Act and EPBC Act that are; or could be; affecting Warkworth Sands Woodland are Land clearance (EPBC Act) Clearing of native vegetation (NSW TSC Act) Alteration of habitat following subsidence due to longwall mining (NSW TSC Act) Novel biota and their impact on biodiversity (EPBC Act) Invasion of native plant communities by exotic perennial grasses (NSW TSC Act) Invasion and establishment of exotic vines and scramblers (NSW TSC Act) Invasion; establishment and spread of Lantana (Lantana camara) (NSW TSC Act) Competition and land degradation by rabbits (EPBC Act) Competition and grazing by the feral European Rabbit; Oryctolagus cuniculus (NSW TSC Act) Loss of hollow bearing trees (NSW TSC Act) Loss of terrestrial climatic habitat caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (EPBC Act) Anthropogenic climate change (NSW TSC Act).
This may be compounded by climate change.
D4 Climate change Climate change poses a serious long term threat to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with the potential to change the ecology of these environments through changes to species composition and function (Dunlop et al.; 2012).
The very restricted distribution of the ecological community greatly increases its vulnerability to the effects of a changing climate (for example; because movement of native species is limited).
They frequently have no place; over time; to migrate to as a result of landscape scale changes; such as those predicted to occur because of climate change. (Umwelt; 2011).
In addition to threatening species that cannot adapt; climate change could also exacerbate existing threats such as habitat loss and the spread of invasive species.
Further; the restorability of the ecological community is limited by the restricted area of occupancy of the ecological community; the very short range over which it occurs; the very specific substrate (aeolian sands) on which it occurs and the likely inability for the ecological community to migrate over time as an adaptation to probable climate change impacts.
Reduction in integrity through climate change As described in Appendix D (Description of Threats); climate change is likely to compromise the integrity of the ecological community both directly and by altering the survival rates of constituent species.
Communities with short ranges and specialist landscape and soil requirements; are naturally more susceptible to landscape scale changes and frequently have no other place to migrate to as a result of landscape scale changes; such as those predicted to occur as a result of climate change (Umwelt; 2011).
Climate change is also likely to interact with other threats; such as changed fire regimes or the invasion of weeds.
Despite the community being considered to have good potential for natural regeneration; there are a number of factors that may impede the success of a restoration program not least being the restricted area of occupancy of the ecological community the very short range over which it occurs the very specific substrate (aeolian sands) on which it occurs the decline in faunal elements and; the likely inability for the ecological community to migrate over time as an adaptation to probable climate change impacts.
This may be compounded by climate change.
Altered fire regimes and weed invasion also pose a threat (Peake; 2006 NSW Scientific Committee; 2011 Bell; 2012).
These include changed fire intensity; frequency; seasonality and extent of patchiness.
Indirect impacts include fuel spills; import of weed seed material; erosion; noise; dust and light (Beltana Highwall Mining; 2008).
It includes fire intensity; frequency; seasonality and extent of patchiness.
Perennial exotic grasses; such as those now infesting the ecological community; produce large amounts of plant matter which dries quickly and causes fuel loads to increase.