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The depletion of native vegetation on the Cumberland Plain has been well documented. In 1995, Cumberland Plain Woodland was the first ecological community listed as endangered under the NSW Threatened Species Act (1995) and has subsequently been elevated to the status of critically endangered. Cumberland Plain Woodland comprises part of the Coastal Valley Grassy Woodlands distributed through coastal NSW and south-east Queensland. This paper examines the ecological significance of the Cumberland Plain Woodland in this broader context using quantitative survey data that have been amassed since the 1980s. The results show that Coastal Valley Grassy Woodlands in different regions of NSW are floristically distinct and support large numbers of endemic species. Similarities among regional variants relate to a relatively small group of widespread and abundant species which contribute strongly to the essential character of this vegetation type, but represent only a small percentage of total floristic diversity. Significant variation and endemism are also evident at a local scale within regions. Within NSW, the Cumberland Plain occupies a unique ecological niche defined by temperature and rainfall, and supports species and assemblages not replicated in other parts of the state. Continued clearing of Cumberland Plain Woodland will inevitably result in the loss of these ecological values.

Bannerman, S.M. and Hazelton, P.A. (1990) Soil landscapes of the Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet (Soil Conservation Service of NSW: Sydney).
Bedward, M., Ellis, M. and Gleeson, P. 2006. Yet Another Vegetation Survey Database. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service: Hurstville.
Belbin, L. 1991. The analysis of pattern in bio-survey data, in: Cost effective surveys and data analysis (C.R. Margules and M.P Austin Eds) pp. 176-190. CSIRO, Australia.
Belbin, L. 1994 PATN. Pattern Analysis Package. (CSIRO: Canberra).
Benson, D.H. 1992. The natural vegetation of the Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(4): 541-596.
Benson, D.H. & Howell, J. 1994a. The natural vegetation of the Sydney 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 3(4): 677-1004.
Benson, D.H. & Keith, D.A. 1990. The natural vegetation of the Wallerawang 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(2): 305-335.
Davis, C. 1936. Plant ecology of the Bulli district I: Stratigraphy, physiography and climate; general description of plant communities and interpretation. Proceedings of the Linnean Society New South Wales 61, 285-297.
Faith, D.P. 1991. Effective pattern analysis methods for nature conservation. In C.R. Margules & M.P. Austin (eds). Nature Conservation: Cost Effective Surveys and Data Analysis, pp. 47-53 (CSIRO: Australia).
Fisher, M., Ryan, K. & Lembit, R. 1995. The natural vegetation of the Burragorang 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 4(2): 143-215.
Gellie, N.J.H. 2005. Native Vegetation of the Southern Forests: Southeast Highlands, Australian Alps, South-west Slopes, and SE Corner bioregions. Cunninghamia 9(2): 219-254.
Harden, G.J. (ed) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 & 2002 Flora of New South Wales: Volumes 1-4. (University of NSW Press: Kensington).
Keith, D. 2004 Ocean Shores to Desert Dunes: The native vegetation of NSW and the ACT. (Department of Environment and Conservation: NSW).
Keith, D.A. & Benson, D.H. 1988. The natural vegetation of the Katoomba 1:100,000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(1): 107-144.
Keith, D.A. & Bedward, M. 1999. Native vegetation of the South East Forests region, Eden, New South Wales. Cunninghamia 6(1): 1-218.
NPWS 2000. Vegetation Survey, Classification and Mapping: Lower Hunter and Central Coast Region. A project undertaken for The Lower Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environment Management Strategy. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
NSW DEC 2004 Flora Online. Botanic Gardens Trust. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.gov.au.
Pidgeon, I. M. 1937. The ecology of the Central Coastal area of New South Wales. 1. The environment and general features of the vegetation. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 62: 315-340.
Pidgeon, I.M. 1941. The ecology of the central coastal area of New South Wales. IV. Forest types on soils from Hawkesbury Sandstone and Wianamatta Shale. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 66: 113-137.
Poore, M.E.D. 1955. The use of phytosociological methods in ecological investigations: I. The Braun-Blanquet system. Journal of Ecology 43: 226-244.
Ryan, K., Fisher, M. & Schaeper, L. 1996. The natural vegetation of the St Albans 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 4(3): 433-482. (includes 1:100 000 map)
Tindall, D., Pennay, C, Tozer, M. Turner, K. & Keith, D. 2004 Native vegetation map report series. No. 4. (Department of Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources: NSW).
Tozer, M. 2003. The native vegetation of the Cumberland Plain, western Sydney: systematic classification and field identification of communities. Cunninghamia 8(1): 1-75.
Whittaker R.H. 1978. Approaches to classifying vegetation. In: Classification of plant communities. R.H Whittaker (ed.) Junk Publishers; The Hague.
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References

Bannerman, S.M. and Hazelton, P.A. (1990) Soil landscapes of the Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet (Soil Conservation Service of NSW: Sydney).
Bedward, M., Ellis, M. and Gleeson, P. 2006. Yet Another Vegetation Survey Database. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service: Hurstville.
Belbin, L. 1991. The analysis of pattern in bio-survey data, in: Cost effective surveys and data analysis (C.R. Margules and M.P Austin Eds) pp. 176-190. CSIRO, Australia.
Belbin, L. 1994 PATN. Pattern Analysis Package. (CSIRO: Canberra).
Benson, D.H. 1992. The natural vegetation of the Penrith 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(4): 541-596.
Benson, D.H. & Howell, J. 1994a. The natural vegetation of the Sydney 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 3(4): 677-1004.
Benson, D.H. & Keith, D.A. 1990. The natural vegetation of the Wallerawang 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(2): 305-335.
Davis, C. 1936. Plant ecology of the Bulli district I: Stratigraphy, physiography and climate; general description of plant communities and interpretation. Proceedings of the Linnean Society New South Wales 61, 285-297.
Faith, D.P. 1991. Effective pattern analysis methods for nature conservation. In C.R. Margules & M.P. Austin (eds). Nature Conservation: Cost Effective Surveys and Data Analysis, pp. 47-53 (CSIRO: Australia).
Fisher, M., Ryan, K. & Lembit, R. 1995. The natural vegetation of the Burragorang 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 4(2): 143-215.
Gellie, N.J.H. 2005. Native Vegetation of the Southern Forests: Southeast Highlands, Australian Alps, South-west Slopes, and SE Corner bioregions. Cunninghamia 9(2): 219-254.
Harden, G.J. (ed) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 & 2002 Flora of New South Wales: Volumes 1-4. (University of NSW Press: Kensington).
Keith, D. 2004 Ocean Shores to Desert Dunes: The native vegetation of NSW and the ACT. (Department of Environment and Conservation: NSW).
Keith, D.A. & Benson, D.H. 1988. The natural vegetation of the Katoomba 1:100,000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 2(1): 107-144.
Keith, D.A. & Bedward, M. 1999. Native vegetation of the South East Forests region, Eden, New South Wales. Cunninghamia 6(1): 1-218.
NPWS 2000. Vegetation Survey, Classification and Mapping: Lower Hunter and Central Coast Region. A project undertaken for The Lower Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environment Management Strategy. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
NSW DEC 2004 Flora Online. Botanic Gardens Trust. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.gov.au.
Pidgeon, I. M. 1937. The ecology of the Central Coastal area of New South Wales. 1. The environment and general features of the vegetation. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 62: 315-340.
Pidgeon, I.M. 1941. The ecology of the central coastal area of New South Wales. IV. Forest types on soils from Hawkesbury Sandstone and Wianamatta Shale. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 66: 113-137.
Poore, M.E.D. 1955. The use of phytosociological methods in ecological investigations: I. The Braun-Blanquet system. Journal of Ecology 43: 226-244.
Ryan, K., Fisher, M. & Schaeper, L. 1996. The natural vegetation of the St Albans 1:100 000 map sheet. Cunninghamia 4(3): 433-482. (includes 1:100 000 map)
Tindall, D., Pennay, C, Tozer, M. Turner, K. & Keith, D. 2004 Native vegetation map report series. No. 4. (Department of Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources: NSW).
Tozer, M. 2003. The native vegetation of the Cumberland Plain, western Sydney: systematic classification and field identification of communities. Cunninghamia 8(1): 1-75.
Whittaker R.H. 1978. Approaches to classifying vegetation. In: Classification of plant communities. R.H Whittaker (ed.) Junk Publishers; The Hague.
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