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TitleSemi-everygreen vine thickets of Brigalow Belt
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National recovery plan for the “Semi-evergreen vine
thickets of the Brigalow Belt (North and South) and

Nandewar Bioregions” ecological community

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National recovery plan for the “Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the Brigalow Belt
(North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions” ecological community

Cover: The narrow-leaved bottle tree Brachychiton rupestris is a characteristic emergent tree
throughout most of the geographical extent of the semi-evergreen vine thicket community. In
many areas, it is now found as isolated trees in otherwise cleared landscapes. This is a
particularly fine specimen in the upper Burnett district near Monto.

© The State of Queensland, Department of Environment and Resource Management 2010

Copyright protects this publication. Except for the purposes permitted by the Copyright Act,
reproduction by whatever means is prohibited without the prior written knowledge of the
Department of Environment and Resource Management. Inquiries should be addressed to PO
Box 15155, CITY EAST, QLD 4002.

Copies may be obtained from the:
Executive Director
Sustainable Communities and Landscapes
Department of Environment and Resource Management
PO Box 15155
City East Qld 4002

The Australian Government, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Resource
Management, facilitates the publication of recovery plans to detail the actions needed for the
conservation of threatened native wildlife.

The attainment of objectives and the provision of funds may be subject to budgetary and other
constraints affecting the parties involved, and may also be constrained by the need to address
other conservation priorities. Approved recovery actions may be subject to modification due to
changes in knowledge and changes in conservation status.

Publication reference:
McDonald, W.J.F. 2010. National recovery plan for the “Semi-evergreen vine thickets of the
Brigalow Belt (North and South) and Nandewar Bioregions” ecological community. Report to
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Queensland
Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane.

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3.3 The integrity and connectivity of vine thicket fragments are improved by encouraging
the regeneration of native woody species in buffer zones surrounding and linking the

3.4 Monitoring is established for selected populations of threatened species across the
SEVT EC and these populations are extant in 2012.

3.5 Feral animal management plans are developed and implemented for key areas of the
SEVT EC on public and private lands. Feral animal populations are controlled in
important SEVT remnants.

3.6 Guidelines for appropriate fire frequency and burning regimes are developed for use
by land managers.

Action 3.1 Liaise with landholders and other natural resource managers to develop
appropriate burning practices and other procedures to minimise fire damage to
remnant areas of SEVT on private and public lands .

This may include construction of firebreaks, use of low-intensity, cool season fuel reduction
burns, use of strategic aerial ignition to “break-up” the impact of planned burns and defend
against wildfires and encouragement of buffer areas of re-growth vegetation (SEVT or other
low-fuel communities such as brigalow Acacia harpophylla).

Many vine thicket remnants are located adjacent to and upslope of dense pastures dominated
by buffel grass Pennisetum ciliare. It is important to work with landholders to ensure that
burning of these pastures is undertaken in ways that minimize as much as possible damage to
the remnants. In particular, burning should be undertaken under relatively cool conditions with
high soil moisture and ensuring that fires burn downslope rather than upslope.

Areas of vine thicket within a woodland or forest matrix are generally protected from fire by
their structure and microclimate and/or position in the landscape, but it may be necessary to
reduce fuel loads in surrounding fire-prone communities to minimise the risk of wildfires
entering the vine thickets under extreme weather conditions.

Development of guidelines for appropriate burning regimes will assist land managers to design
and implement appropriate site management plans. Research into the response of SEVT to
fire intensity and fire interval is required to support such guidelines.

Potential contributors: DERM, NSW DECCW, Universities, NRM regional bodies (Qld),
CMAs (NSW), and Qld & NSW Rural Fire Services.

Estimated cost: $80,000 (conducted in conjunction with A2.2)

Action 3.2 Determine through exclosure trials the impact of grazing on remnant areas
of SEVT. Develop guidelines and recommendations for fencing.

Native and feral animals and domestic livestock, predominantly cattle, impact upon vine
thicket vegetation in a number of ways; through grazing (often selectively) of the ground
stratum, through trampling and other mechanical damage to shrubs, vines, etc. (opening up of
the community), formation of tracks, leading to soil erosion and introduction of weed species in
their droppings and on their coats. Vine thickets are used as shade and shelter (e.g. during
the winter months) and those in close proximity to water, e.g. along creek lines, may be
subjected to very heavy use and damage, particularly during protracted drought periods. In
New South Wales, Benson et al. (1996) considered stock should be excluded from vine
thickets as heavy grazing and trampling may limit the regeneration of a range of plant species.

It is desirable that the more significant remnant vine thickets be fenced to exclude stock,
native and feral herbivores. This may need to be combined with provision of alternative

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watering points for domestic stock, e.g. bores or earth tanks. These should be located at a
sufficient distance that stock are less likely to seek out the vine thicket(s) for shade.

Potential contributors: DERM, NSW DECCW, NRM regional bodies (Qld), CMAs (NSW).

Estimated cost: $100,000

Action 3.3 Develop and implement a pest management program to control feral animals
in SEVT remnants.

Large numbers of feral stock (scrubber cattle and brumbies) cause considerable damage in
some conservation reserves and there needs to be an assessment of this impact, fencing of
the more critical sites and strategies for feral animal removal.

The control of pigs in northern areas is considered important to prevent the vine thickets being
opened up and invaded by Lantana camara (Fensham 1996; Fensham et al. 1994).
Development of a pest management plan will involve estimating the size of feral animal
populations in Qld and NSW reserve systems, and key remnants on other land tenures.
Appropriate control measures should then be implemented to remove feral animals, including
escaped stock, pigs and goats.

Potential contributors: DERM, NSW DECCW, NRM regional bodies (Qld), CMAs (NSW).

Estimated cost: $100,000 (conducted in conjunction with Action 3.2)

Action 3.4 Develop strategies to minimise adverse impacts of native macropods,
particularly the black-striped wallaby Macropus dorsalis where it is overabundant in
Queensland, on remnant SEVT and other vegetation used as shelter.

While the black-striped wallaby is considered overabundant in Qld, it is listed as ‘Endangered’
under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

There is an urgent need to carry out exclosure studies to assess the impact of M. dorsalis and
other macropods on vine thickets and associated vegetation used as shelter and to determine
the capacity of the community to regenerate.

In Queensland, extensive use is made of barrier fences to exclude black-striped wallabies
from crops and pasture. Fencing of remnants leads, at least in the short term, to even greater
pressure on the shelter vegetation and complete fencing may lead to localised extinction in all
but the largest fragments.

The type of fencing (electric or mesh) and if the latter, the size of the mesh, are also important,
especially in terms of their possible impact on other wildlife, e.g. echidnas and reptiles such as
bearded dragons. Some form of compromise may be necessary, which minimises disruption
to non-target wildlife while reducing the overall wallaby population.

White et al. (2003) summarise a range of management options aimed at optimising black-
striped wallaby densities in Queensland. The role of predators, particularly dingoes, is
discussed, noting the need to balance possible stock losses against the gains in pasture and
crop production from reduced wallaby grazing.

Potential contributors: DERM, NRM regional bodies (Qld).

Estimated cost: $150,000 (conducted in conjunction with A3.2)

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