As part of these deliberations, the Government is now seeking public comments on the listing of these communities. While socio-economic factors should not be taken into account in listing decisions, public comment periods can result in an avalanche of submissions from vested interest groups against protecting ecological communities ' this is particularly threatening in the case of the Coolibah ' Blackbox Woodlands, which had strong backlash when listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) ' and decisions can be delayed as they already have been for several years for each of these nominations, it is therefore essential that we use this opportunity to show the wealth of public and conservation group support for conserving our threatened native habitats.
The Coolibah ' Black Box Woodlands of the Darling Riverine Plains and Brigalow Belt South Bioregions nomination can be accessed here: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities/coolibah-black-box.html, with the public comment period closing on April 30, 2010.
Each of the Coolibah ' Black Box communities listed in the nomination have shown a measurable decline in geographic distribution. All three of the cited varieties in New South Wales have a substantial decline of over 70% of extent and/or range, and of the four varieties in Queensland three have only 10-30% of pre-clearing area remaining, with the fourth just over 30%. Such levels of decline meet the threshold for listing as endangered under the EPBC Act. Additionally, these woodlands provide habitat for an abundance of threatened animals and plants, including 39 listed fauna and 12 listed flora species.
The New England Peppermint (Eucalyptus nova anglica) Woodlands nomination can be accessed here: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities/new-england-peppermint.html, with the public comment period closing on April 23, 2010.
The New England Peppermint Woodlands are also home to a number of threatened species, with 32 being listed under the NSW TSC Act and / or Commonwealth EPBC Act. These woodlands have undergone such extensive clearing that it's estimated between 5-15% of the pre-European extent is all that remains, certainly meeting the criteria for listing as endangered under the EPBC Act (the level proposed on the public comment website), but potentially verging on critically endangered.
Further information on the listing of threatened ecological communities under the EPBC Act can be found at: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities.html.
Send your comments in support of the listing of both Coolibah ' Black Box Woodlands of the Darling Riverine Plains and Brigalow Belt South Bioregions, and New England Peppermint (Eucalyptus nova anglica) Woodlands as endangered ecological communities under the EPBC Act to Mr. Matthew White, Director, Ecological Communities Section, Department Department of Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601. Comments can also be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax on (02) 6274 2214. Ask that in addition to the priority actions identified in the conservation advice, that remnants of habitat of these communities that are essential for its long term recovery and survival are listed on the EPBC Register of Critical Habitat. Urge that Recovery Plans also be developed for these ecological communities.
Please send us copies of any responses you receive.