Assessment of North Coast Floodplain TECs on NSW Crown Forest Estate

Operational map for River-flat Eucalypt Forest:

The operational map for River-flat Eucalypt Forest (RFEF) was constructed to resolve long-standing issues surrounding its identification, location and extent within the NSW State Forest estate covered by the coastal Integrated Forestry Operation Agreements. The map was constructed in two parts, with State Forests to the north of Sydney being mapped in a separate process to those to the south of Sydney. We did this to minimise the risk that relationships between regional vegetation communities and the TEC would be confounded or masked by geographical variation or other major ecological gradients, which might otherwise be a significant risk if we had treated the full latitudinal range of the TEC as a single study area. In total, we assessed 1,218,000 hectares of State Forest across coastal NSW. This consisted of 868,000 hectares of State Forest on the north coast and more than 350,000 hectares of State Forest on the south coast. In both study areas, the project’s Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) Reference Panel (the Panel) preceded the assessment process by reviewing the determination for RFEF and agreeing upon a set of diagnostic parameters for its identification. The Panel found that RFEF is primarily defined by floristic plot data and that it is mostly located on coastal floodplains and associated alluvial landforms. Following on from these conclusions, we started the mapping process by mapping the distribution of floodplains and alluvial soils and thus identifying possible areas of RFEF. For both the north and the south coast we used an existing map of coastal landforms and geology in combination with several fine-scale models of alluvial landform features to determine the likely extent of floodplains and alluvial soils within our study areas. We used aerial photograph interpretation (API) to assess the floristic and structural attributes of the vegetation cover found on our modelled alluvial environments, and thus delineated polygons likely to contain RFEF. We also used API to modify the boundaries of the modelled alluvial areas using a prescribed list of eucalypt, casuarina and melaleuca species in combination with the interpretation of landform elements relevant to alluvial and floodplain environments. We then compiled floristic plot data for all State Forest areas within our modelled alluvial landforms and API polygons. For both the north and the south coast the floristic plot data was sourced from both existing flora surveys held in the OEH VIS database and from targeted flora surveys conducted specifically for this project. We compared these plots with those previously assigned to flora communities listed in the determination of RFEF. Both dissimilarity-based methods and multivariate regression methods were used for the comparison. The results of the comparison were then used to assess the likelihood that the plots in State forests belonged to one or more of the communities listed in the RFEF determination. Following this, we developed a predictive statistical model of the probability of occurrence of RFEF using plot data and a selection of environmental and remote-sensing variables. For the north coast, we used a Random Forest model, while for the south coast we used a Boosted Regression Tree model. To create the operational map, we assigned every mapped API polygon to RFEF if appropriate based on the plot data, over-storey and understorey attributes, landform features and modelled probabilities underlying each API polygon. We mapped 3819 hectares of RFEF on the south coast and 198 hectares of RFEF on the north coast.

Operational map for Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest:

The operational map for Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest (SOFF) was constructed to resolve long-standing issues surrounding its identification, location and extent within the NSW State Forest estate covered by the coastal Integrated Forestry Operation Agreements. The map was constructed in two parts, with State Forests to the north of Sydney being mapped in a separate process to those to the south of Sydney. We did this to minimise the risk that relationships between regional vegetation communities and the TEC would be confounded or masked by geographical variation or other major ecological gradients, which might otherwise be a significant risk if we had treated the full latitudinal range of the TEC as a single study area. In total, we assessed 1,218,000 hectares of State Forest across coastal NSW. This consisted of 868,000 hectares of State Forest on the north coast and more than 350,000 hectares of State Forest on the south coast. In both study areas, the project’s Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) Reference Panel (the Panel) preceded the assessment process by reviewing the determination for SOFF and agreeing upon a set of diagnostic parameters for its identification. The Panel found that SOFF is primarily defined by floristic plot data and that it is mostly located on coastal floodplains and associated alluvial landforms. Following on from these conclusions, we started the mapping process by mapping the distribution of floodplains and alluvial soils and thus identifying possible areas of SOFF. For both the north and the south coast we used an existing map of coastal landforms and geology in combination with several fine-scale models of alluvial landform features to determine the likely extent of floodplains and alluvial soils within our study areas. We used aerial photograph interpretation (API) to assess floristic and structural attributes of the vegetation cover on our modelled alluvial environments, and thus delineated polygons likely to contain SOFF. We also used API to modify the boundaries of the modelled alluvial areas using a prescribed list of casuarina and melaleuca species in combination with the interpretation of landform elements relevant to alluvial and floodplain environments. We then compiled floristic plot data for all State Forest areas within our modelled alluvial landforms and API polygons. For both the north and the south coast the floristic plot data was sourced from both existing flora surveys held in the OEH VIS database and from targeted flora surveys conducted specifically for this project. We compared these plots with those previously assigned to flora communities listed in the determination of SOFF. Both dissimilarity-based methods and multivariate regression methods were used for the comparison. The results of the comparison were then used to assess the likelihood that the plots in State forests belonged to one or more of the communities listed in the SOFF determination. To create the operational map, we assigned every mapped API polygon to SOFF based on the plot data, over-storey and understorey attributes, landform features and model output underlying each API polygon. In total, we mapped approximately 272 hectares of SOFF across our full study area.

Operational map for Swamp Sclerophyll Forest:

The operational map for Swamp Sclerophyll Forest (SSF) was constructed to resolve long-standing issues surrounding its identification, location and extent within the NSW State Forest estate covered by the coastal Integrated Forestry Operation Agreements. The map was constructed in two parts, with State Forests to the north of Sydney being mapped in a separate process to those to the south of Sydney. We did this to minimise the risk that relationships between regional vegetation communities and the TEC would be confounded or masked by geographical variation or other major ecological gradients, which might otherwise be a significant risk if we had treated the full latitudinal range of the TEC as a single study area. In total, we assessed 1,218,000 hectares of State Forest across coastal NSW. This consisted of 868,000 hectares of State Forest on the north coast and more than 350,000 hectares of State Forest on the south coast. In both study areas, the project’s Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) Reference Panel (the Panel) preceded the assessment process by reviewing the determination for SSF and agreeing upon a set of diagnostic parameters for its identification. The Panel found that SSF is primarily defined by floristic plot data and that it is mostly located on coastal floodplains and associated alluvial landforms. Following on from these conclusions, we started the mapping process by mapping the distribution of floodplains and alluvial soils and thus identifying possible areas of SSF. For both the north and the south coast we used an existing map of coastal landforms and geology in combination with several fine-scale models of alluvial landform features to determine the likely extent of floodplains and alluvial soils within our study areas. We used aerial photograph interpretation (API) to assess the floristic and structural attributes of the vegetation cover on our modelled alluvial environments, and thus delineated polygons likely to contain SSF. We also used API to modify the boundaries of the modelled alluvial areas using a prescribed list of eucalypt, casuarina and melaleuca species in combination with the interpretation of landform elements relevant to alluvial and floodplain environments. We then compiled floristic plot data for all State Forest areas within our modelled alluvial landforms and API polygons. For both the north and the south coast the floristic plot data was sourced from both existing flora surveys held in the OEH VIS database and from targeted flora surveys conducted specifically for this project. We compared these plots with those previously assigned to flora communities listed in the determination of SSF. Both dissimilarity-based methods and multivariate regression methods were used for the comparison. The results of the comparison were then used to assess the likelihood that the plots in State forests belonged to one or more of the communities listed in the SSF determination. Following this, we developed a predictive statistical model of the probability of occurrence of SSF using plot data and a selection of environmental and remote-sensing variables. For the north coast, we used a Random Forest model, while for the south coast we used a Boosted Regression Tree model. To create the operational map, we assigned every mapped API polygon to SSF if appropriate based on the plot data, over-storey and understorey attributes, landform features and modelled probabilities underlying each API polygon. In total, we mapped approximately 1131 hectares of SSF across out study area.

Operational map for Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest:

The operational map for Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest (SCFF) was constructed to resolve long-standing issues surrounding its identification, location and extent within the NSW State Forest estate covered by the eastern Regional Forest Agreements. The project’s Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) Reference Panel (the Panel) reviewed the determination for SCFF in conjunction with the determinations of three other TECs associated with coastal floodplain environments. The Panel agreed that SCFF is primarily defined by floristic plot data and that it is mostly located on coastal floodplains and associated alluvial landforms. The operational map was constructed in several stages. Firstly, we identified candidate areas for SCFF by mapping the distribution of floodplains and alluvial soils. To do this we used an existing map of coastal landforms and geology in combination with several fine-scale models of alluvial landform features to determine the likely extent of floodplains and alluvial soils in our study area. Secondly, we compiled floristic plot data for State Forest areas within these alluvial landforms. The floristic plot data was sourced from both existing flora surveys held in the OEH VIS database and from targeted flora surveys conducted specifically for this project. We compared these plots with those assigned to previously defined communities listed in the determinations for SCFF. Both dissimilarity-based methods and multivariate regression methods were used for the comparison. The results of the comparison were then used to assess the likelihood that plots in State forests belonged to one or more of the communities listed in the determination. Thirdly, we used aerial photograph interpretation (API) to assess both floristic and structural attributes found on the modelled alluvial and related environments. We also used API to modify the boundaries of the modelled alluvial areas using a prescribed list of eucalypt, casuarina and melaleuca species in combination with the interpretation of landform elements relevant to alluvial and floodplain environments. Fourthly, we used plot data and a selection of environmental and remote-sensing variables to develop a Random Forest (RF) model of the probability of occurrence of SCFF. To create the operational map, we assigned every mapped API polygon to SCFF if appropriate based on the plot data, over-storey and understorey attributes, landform features and modelled probabilities underlying each API polygon. In total, we mapped approximately 11,050 hectares of Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest. The majority of the mapped SCFF was located between Grafton and Casino.

Operational TEC Mapping have been derived by API at a viewing scale between 1-4000 using ADS40 50 cm pixel imagery and 1 m derived LIDAR DEM grids for floodplain EECs.

Data and Resources

Metadata Summary What is metadata?

Field Value
Alternative Title North Coast Floodplain TEC survey, Classification and Mapping Completed for the NSW Environment Protection Authority
Metadata Date 31/10/2016
Date Created 01/10/2016
Edition Version 1
Purpose Native Forestry Regulation on State Forests
License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Update Frequency Data is updated irregulary
Keywords Threatened Ecological Community,Endangered Ecological Community,Vegetation,State Forest,Subtropical Coastal Floodplain Forest,EEC,TEC,Environment Protection Authority,EPA,River-flat Eucalypt Forest,Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest,Swamp Sclerophyll Forest
Field of Research Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Spatial

Dataset extent

Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Equivalent Scale 4000
Geospatial Topic Environment
Language English
Temporal Coverage From 01/10/2016
Datum GDA94 Geographic (Lat\Long)
Landing page https://datasets.seed.nsw.gov.au/dataset/assessment-of-floodplain-tecs-of-the-north-coast
Legal Disclaimer Read
Attribution Environment Protection Authority (EPA) asserts the right to be attributed as author of the original material in the following manner: "© State Government of NSW and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) 2016"

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