Historic and Environmental Significance of Ecological Communities in NSW, Australia

Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Heritage and Sustainable Development, 2011, 1 (1), pp. 72 - 83
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Colonisation in the late 18th century and subsequent settlement in New South Wales, Australia has led to the native vegetation on the more arable soils being cleared, leaving only scattered remnants of the original vegetation. These vegetation remnants have become of natural heritage significance and are now protected under State and National legislation. Vegetation communities on sandstone-derived soils, not suitable for agriculture, have also been reserved in National Parks since the 1890s. The case studies of saltmarsh restoration and the planning of three cities illustrate that legal recognition of the natural heritage value of the remnant vegetation contributes to improved ecologically sustainable outcomes. The presence of a listed vulnerable saltmarsh species Wilsonia backhousei led to the restoration of the degraded saltmarsh community in an urban redevelopment. The identification of corridors of conservation and heritage significance are central issues for the development of Appin-Wilton and of Spring Farm, part of the planned three cities. The case studies show the historic loss of environmental heritage vegetation and the implementation of conservation planning to accommodate the expanding population of Sydney. Application of environmental legislation has led to natural heritage vegetation being conserved and enhanced, hence reducing the environmental footprints of urban growth.
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