Assessment of Swamp Sclerophyll Forest on Coastal Floodplains TEC on NSW Crown Forest Estate (South Coast Region)

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 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
Language English
Alternative Title Swamp Sclerophyll Forest: Survey, Classification and Mapping Completed for the NSW Environment Protection Authority
Edition Version 1
Purpose Native Forestry Regulation on State Forests
Frequency of change Irregular
Keywords Threatened Ecological Community,Endangered Ecological Community,Vegetation,State Forest,Swamp Sclerophyll Forest,EEC,TEC,Environment Protection Authority,EPA
Field of Research (optional) Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Metadata Date 2016-01-11
Date of Asset Creation 2016-10-01
License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Equivalent Scale 4000
Vector representation
Record 1
Object type
Object count
Geospatial Topic Biota

Dataset extent

Temporal Coverage From 2016-01-10
Datum GDA94 Geographic (Lat\Long)
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) 2024"