Eco Logical Australia was commissioned by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to undertake vegetation survey, analysis and mapping of Gundabooka National Park and State Conservation Area.
Gundabooka National Park and State Conservation Area is of special significance to the Aboriginal people of western NSW and is the traditional lands of the Ngemba and Paakandji people who have strong cultural links to the area. The Gundabooka Range was a vital resource for Aboriginal people during dry periods, with creeks in the range being one of the few locations on the Cobar Peneplain that provide water during times of drought.
Gundabooka National Park and State Conservation Area are located in north western New South Wales 50 km south west of Bourke and just south of the Darling River, covering an area of 90,473 hectares within the Cobar Peneplain and Darling Riverine Plains bioregions. Prior to gazettal in 1996, Gundabooka National Park consisted of three pastoral stations: Belah, Ben Lomond and Mulgowan Stations. In 2006 the nearby Yanda Station was gazetted and became the Gundabooka State Conservation Area.
This project reviews and expands upon existing data and mapping and aligns vegetation communities with the current state-wide Plant Community Type classification through the collection of strategic data on floristic and structural diversity.
Existing vegetation surveys and mapping were reviewed and supplemented with over 240 rapid data points. Vegetation community mapping was undertaken at a scale of between 1:5,000 and 1:25,000 using a range of datasets. Development of vegetation community linework and attribution of Plant Community Types was undertaken in three dimensions using high resolution stereo ADS40 imagery. The final mapped product is considered accurate at a 1:25,000 scale.
A total of 410 species from 76 plant families were recorded, of which 8% were exotic (one being a priority weed). Four threatened plant species are now known to occur, with new localities identified for Pterostylis cobarensis and Lepidium monoplocoides.
A total of 35 unique vegetation communities (totalling 89,210 hectares) were mapped and described. These 35 vegetation communities are equivalent to 25 Plant Community Types. The vast majority of vegetation falls within the Semi-Arid Woodlands and Arid Shrublands Vegetation Formations. One Threatened Ecological Community, namely Coolibah-Black Box Woodland was mapped across three Plant Community Types on the floodplains of the Darling River.
A range of management considerations are discussed including: grazing pressure from feral animals; erosion and loss of topsoil; inappropriate fire regimes; priority and environmental weeds; historical clearing and land degradation; and extensive Eucalypt dieback.