Native plants of Sydney Harbour National Park: historical records and species lists, and their value for conservation monitoring

  • Sydney Harbour National Park (lat 33° 53’S; long 151° 13’E), protects significant vegetation on the harbor foreshores close to Sydney City CBD; its floristic abundance and landscape beauty has been acknowledged since the writings of the First Fleet in 1788. Surprisingly, although historical plant collections were made as early as1802, and localised surveys have listed species for parts of the Park since the 1960s, a detailed survey of the flora of whole Park is still needed. This paper provides the first definitive list of the c.400 native flora species for Sydney Harbour National Park (total area 390 ha) showing occurrence on the seven terrestrial sub-regions or precincts (North Head, South Head, Dobroyd Head, Middle Head, Chowder Head, Bradleys Head and Nielsen Park). The list is based on historical species lists, records from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (formerly Dept of Environment, Climate Change and Water) Atlas, National Herbarium of New South Wales specimen details, and some additional fieldwork. 131 species have only been recorded from a single precinct site and many are not substantiated with a recent herbarium specimen (though there are historical specimens from the general area for many). Species reported in the sources but for which no current or historic specimen exists are listed separately as being of questionable/non-local status. About 85% of the 400 species are recorded as being from North Head, the largest precinct, though the smallest Chowder Head does not have the fewest species. As well as size, differences indicate the different flora of inner harbour sites; inner harbour Bradleys Head and Nielsen Park include 24% of the single record species. Rare and threatened species, and regionally important species are discussed in relation to current threats which include weed invasion, fire frequency, Phytophthora, Black rats and tourism pressures. Given the threats to the flora it is an appropriate time to take stock of the flora as a basic structural component of the biodiversity. What is now needed is a systematic survey (with quadrat-based methodology) to provide baseline data against which to compare state of Park trends with future resurvey. In the absence of such a survey this list at least will provide a reasonably definitive list of the species occurring in the Park regions at the beginning of the 21st Century. If only we had done this at the beginning of the 20th Century! Key words: Sydney Harbour, native plant species lists, First Fleet observations, conservation monitoring.

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Author:Doug Benson
Parent Title (English):Cunninghamia : a journal of plant ecology for eastern Australia
Publisher:Mount Annan Botanic Garden, The Administration Officer
Place of publication:Mount Annan, NSW
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2013/04/05
Year of first Publication:2011
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/04/05
Page Number:24
First Page:61
Last Page:84
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 58 Pflanzen (Botanik) / 580 Pflanzen (Botanik)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:Cunninghamia : A Journal of Plant Ecology for Eastern Australia / Cunninghamia : A Journal of Plant Ecology for Eastern Australia, Volume 12, Issue 1 (2011)
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht