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We examine the nature and extent of listings of endangered ecological communities (EECs) under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act), including the role of endangered ecological communities in conservation from the landscape to species level. We ask how well the implementation of the TSC Act is working for ecological communities in relation to the key ecological issues of habitat loss and fragmentation, conservation of remnants, and conservation of ecological processes and disturbance regimes. To do this we use examples of endangered ecological communities from the Sydney Basin. Some 60 endangered ecological communities have been listed under the TSC Act since its inception and the rate of listing is likely to continue for some time yet. Most listings have been in coastal NSW, in particular in the Sydney Basin, with only a few in western NSW. This essentially reflects our current knowledge of vegetation associations in NSW and the fact that the majority of nominations have come from people who live in Sydney. In the Sydney Basin, for both the Duffys Forest EEC and the 12 EECs making up the Cumberland Plain, there has been extensive mapping of remnants and this has significantly increased both the awareness and acceptance of conservation issues relating to these communities. However, continued habitat loss and fragmentation of remnants is undermining their long-term viability. Any attempt to balance losses with reconstruction of ecological communities is not likely to contribute to their maintenance due to the time lags in reconstruction and importantly, our current lack of understanding of how to achieve restoration of complex ecological communities. Greater success is occurring in ameliorating threats to remnants of EECs, in particular weed control and minimising disturbance, especially through support from local councils and volunteer groups. However, both the number of remnants and their proximity to urban areas will influence the ability to ameliorate threats in remnants due to resource constraints. The recognition that persistence of these EECs is also dependent upon allowing appropriate disturbance regimes is occurring in relation to fire management, with implementation success based on the degree of understanding of how fire affects flora and fauna. This consideration will need to be extended to maintenance of species interactions, ecological processes and other disturbance regimes if viable endangered ecological communities are to be maintained. Based on this experience in the Sydney Basin, we would argue that the listing of threatened ecological communities in other parts of NSW is a useful conservation mechanism to raise awareness of conservation issues. Implementing recovery and the ongoing viability of such communities will be more dependent on developing an understanding of the processes that affect species persistence and interactions within communities and engaging support for conservation from local human communities.

Auld, T. D. and Denham, A. J. 2001. The impact of seed predation by mammals on post-fire seed accumulation in the endangered shrub Grevillea caleyi (Proteaceae). Biological Conservation 97; 377-385.
Benson, D. and Howell, J. 1994. The natural vegetation of the Sydney 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 3(4); 677-787.
Doherty, M. 2000. The conservation value of regrowth native plant communities: a review. Report to NSW Scientific Committee. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/PDFs/Regrowth_of_native_plants.pdf. Accessed 8th April 2004.
Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Trust. 2000. Bringing the bush back to western Sydney. Best practice guidelines for bush regeneration of the Cumberland Plain.
Leishman, M. 1990. Suburban development and resultant changes in the phosphorus status of soils in the area of Ku-ring-gai, Sydney. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 112; 15-25.
NPWS. 2001 Grevillea caleyi R. Br. (Proteaceae) Draft Recovery Plan for public comment. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
NPWS. 2002. Biodiversity Strategy Case Study. Cumberland Plain Subregion, Sydney Basin Bioregion NSW SB8: Cumberland. A report to the National Land and Water Resources Audit.
NSW Scientific Committee. 1999. Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest ecological community. NSW Scientific Committee Endangered Ecological Community Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Elderslie+banksia+scrub+forest+community+endangered+ecological+community+listing. Accessed 8th April 2004.
NSW Scientific Committee. 2000. High frequency fire resulting in the disruption of life cycle processes in plants and animals and loss of vegetation structure and composition.
NSW Scientific Committee. Key Threatening Process Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Ecological+consequences+of+high+frequency+fires+key+threatening+process+declaration. Accessed 8th April 2004.
NSW Scientific Committee. 2001. Clearing of native vegetation. NSW Scientific Committee Key Threatening Process Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Clearing+of+native+vegetation+key+threatening+process+declaration. Accessed 8th April 2004.
NSW Scientific Committee. 2002. Duffys Forest ecological community in the Sydney Basin Bioregion. NSW Scientific Committee Endangered Ecological Community Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Duffys+Forest+vegetation+community+in+the+Sydney+Basin+Bioregion+endangered+ecological+community+listing. Accessed 8th April 2004.
Regan, H. M., Auld, T. D., Keith, D. A. and Burgman, M. A. 2003. The effects of fire and predators on the long-term persistence of an endangered shrub, Grevillea caleyi.Biological Conservation 109; 73-83.
Regan, H. M. and Auld, T. D. 2004. Using population viability analysis for management of an endangered Australian shrub, Grevillea caleyi. In Species Conservation and Management: Case Studies, edited by H. R. Akçakaya, M. A. Burgman, O. Kindvall, C. Wood, P. Sjogren-Gulve, J. Hatfield, and M. McCarthy. Oxford University Press.
Scott, J., Marshall, A. and Auld, T. D. 1995. Conservation research statement and recovery plan for Grevillea caleyi. ANCA Endangered Species Project No. 456.
Sheringham, P. R. and Sanders, J. M. 1993. Vegetation survey of Garigal National Park and surrounding Crown Lands. A report for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Smith, P. and Smith, J. 2000. Survey of the Duffys Forest Vegetation Community. Unpublished Report to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Warringah Council.
Thomas, J. and Benson, D. H. 1985. Vegetation survey of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. National Herbarium of New South Wales, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Tozer, M. 2003. The native vegetation of the Cumberland Plain, western Sydney: systematic classification and field identification of communities. Cunninghamia 8; 1-75.
Wilkins, S. Keith, D. A. and Adam, P. 2003. Measuring success: evaluating the restoration of a terrestrial plant community on the Cumberland Plain, Sydney, Australia. Restoration Ecology 11; 489-503.
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References

Auld, T. D. and Denham, A. J. 2001. The impact of seed predation by mammals on post-fire seed accumulation in the endangered shrub Grevillea caleyi (Proteaceae). Biological Conservation 97; 377-385.
Benson, D. and Howell, J. 1994. The natural vegetation of the Sydney 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 3(4); 677-787.
Doherty, M. 2000. The conservation value of regrowth native plant communities: a review. Report to NSW Scientific Committee. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/PDFs/Regrowth_of_native_plants.pdf. Accessed 8th April 2004.
Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Trust. 2000. Bringing the bush back to western Sydney. Best practice guidelines for bush regeneration of the Cumberland Plain.
Leishman, M. 1990. Suburban development and resultant changes in the phosphorus status of soils in the area of Ku-ring-gai, Sydney. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 112; 15-25.
NPWS. 2001 Grevillea caleyi R. Br. (Proteaceae) Draft Recovery Plan for public comment. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
NPWS. 2002. Biodiversity Strategy Case Study. Cumberland Plain Subregion, Sydney Basin Bioregion NSW SB8: Cumberland. A report to the National Land and Water Resources Audit.
NSW Scientific Committee. 1999. Elderslie Banksia Scrub Forest ecological community. NSW Scientific Committee Endangered Ecological Community Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Elderslie+banksia+scrub+forest+community+endangered+ecological+community+listing. Accessed 8th April 2004.
NSW Scientific Committee. 2000. High frequency fire resulting in the disruption of life cycle processes in plants and animals and loss of vegetation structure and composition.
NSW Scientific Committee. Key Threatening Process Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Ecological+consequences+of+high+frequency+fires+key+threatening+process+declaration. Accessed 8th April 2004.
NSW Scientific Committee. 2001. Clearing of native vegetation. NSW Scientific Committee Key Threatening Process Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Clearing+of+native+vegetation+key+threatening+process+declaration. Accessed 8th April 2004.
NSW Scientific Committee. 2002. Duffys Forest ecological community in the Sydney Basin Bioregion. NSW Scientific Committee Endangered Ecological Community Final Determination. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Duffys+Forest+vegetation+community+in+the+Sydney+Basin+Bioregion+endangered+ecological+community+listing. Accessed 8th April 2004.
Regan, H. M., Auld, T. D., Keith, D. A. and Burgman, M. A. 2003. The effects of fire and predators on the long-term persistence of an endangered shrub, Grevillea caleyi.Biological Conservation 109; 73-83.
Regan, H. M. and Auld, T. D. 2004. Using population viability analysis for management of an endangered Australian shrub, Grevillea caleyi. In Species Conservation and Management: Case Studies, edited by H. R. Akçakaya, M. A. Burgman, O. Kindvall, C. Wood, P. Sjogren-Gulve, J. Hatfield, and M. McCarthy. Oxford University Press.
Scott, J., Marshall, A. and Auld, T. D. 1995. Conservation research statement and recovery plan for Grevillea caleyi. ANCA Endangered Species Project No. 456.
Sheringham, P. R. and Sanders, J. M. 1993. Vegetation survey of Garigal National Park and surrounding Crown Lands. A report for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Smith, P. and Smith, J. 2000. Survey of the Duffys Forest Vegetation Community. Unpublished Report to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Warringah Council.
Thomas, J. and Benson, D. H. 1985. Vegetation survey of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. National Herbarium of New South Wales, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Tozer, M. 2003. The native vegetation of the Cumberland Plain, western Sydney: systematic classification and field identification of communities. Cunninghamia 8; 1-75.
Wilkins, S. Keith, D. A. and Adam, P. 2003. Measuring success: evaluating the restoration of a terrestrial plant community on the Cumberland Plain, Sydney, Australia. Restoration Ecology 11; 489-503.
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