• • Acacia is the dominant tree component. Although the trees are stunted (often less than 10 m), in some areas they can grow to heights of 25 m. Dominant species include lancewood (Acacia (A. (A. shirleyi), bendee ( catenulata), mulga ( aneura), gidgee ( cambagei), brigalow ( harpophylla), (A. (A. western myall ( papyrocarpa) and blackwood (A. • • • ( (A. melanoxylon). The most widespread species are mulga and brigalow. Dominance is controlled by climatic conditions and soil factors. Eucalypts occur in some places as occasional emergents. Understorey species are generally low shrubs or herbaceous.

Acacia aneura woodland near Yenloora, Qld

Photo: M. Fagg


Major Vegetation Group Major Vegetation Subgroups (number of NVIS descriptions) MVG 6—Acacia Forests and Woodlands Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) forests and woodlands (32) Other Acacia forests and woodlands (160) Mulga (Acacia aneura) woodlands with tussock grass (56) Arid and semi-arid acacia low open woodlands and shrublands with chenopods (29) Arid and semi-arid acacia low open woodlands and shrublands with hummock grass (11) Arid and semi-arid acacia low open woodlands and shrublands with tussock grass (36) Mulga (Acacia aneura) woodlands and shrublands with hummock grass (3) Tall closed forest Open forest (tall, mid and low) Tall woodland Mallee woodland (tall and mid) Open woodland (mid and low) 71 Est. pre–1750 and present: Murchison (WA)

Typical NVIS structural formations

Number of IBRA regions Most extensive in IBRA region Estimated pre–1750 extent (km ) Present extent (km2) Area protected (km )

495 059 408 632 36 064

Co-dominants include Eucalyptus, Callitris, Casuarina and Terminalia. The ground layers are generally herbaceous. Associated species include shrub species such as Eremophila, Dodonaea, chenopods such as Atriplex, Maireana, Sclerolaena and grasses such a as Triodia, Plectrachne, Aristida and Austrostipa. a
Northern Australia Southern Queensland

Dominated by A. aneura, A. cambagei (gidgee), A. harpophylla (brigalow) with casuarina and both a forb and grassy understoreys; A. catenulata, A. shirleyi with eucalypt species, A. microsperma, A. rhodophloia, A. melvillei, A. rhodoxylon with an A. aulacocarpa mix on coastal dunes.
Northern central and west of New South Wales

Dominated by A. shirleyi with grassy understorey i and A. crassicarpa on coastal dunes in Cape York a Peninsula.
Central and central west Queensland

Dominant species are A. cambagei (gidgee), A. shirleyi i with eucalypt species, A. harpophylla (brigalow) a with casuarina, A. catenulata (bendee) with grassy a understorey, A. argyrodendron with shrubland; A. aneura with eucalypt species, A. rhodophloia, a A. rhodoxylon, A. crombiei, A. tephrina (boree), a A. georginae, A. excelsa and A. cyperophylla with grassy understorey.

Contain A. pendula (myall), A. harpophylla a (brigalow), A. melvillei, A. excelsa and A. cambagei a (gidgee) across to South Australia with A. salicina with E. camaldulensis; A. aneura, A. victoriae and e A. papyrocarpa mixed overstorey with acacia and a chenopod shrubs.


South Australia

Low woodlands of A. papyrocarpa occur west of a Port Augusta and surrounding the Nullarbor Plain.

a sedge understorey woodland in the eastern half of the State. Also A. longifolia and A. implexa. a
Western Australia

Very restricted areas with A. melanoxylon and A. dealbata (silver wattle), with larger areas as a a co-dominant or subdominant with eucalypt species.

Very restricted with A. melanoxylon, A. dealbata, A. mearnsii swampy/riparian communities; i A. silvestris mixed community; A. pycnantha with s a

A large area of this group covers the central area including A. aneura, A. coriacea, A. eremaea, A. victoriae, A. ramulosa, A. linophylla, A. sclerosperma, A. rostellifera and A. papyrocarpa—some mixed with a a callitris and eucalypt species.


• Climatic conditions are generally dry, hot summers, with cool to warm winters. Rainfall is variable although maximum falls occur in summer. Occur in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia primarily in semi-arid regions. Largest areas are in Western Australia (232 09 1km2). • • • Extensively cleared for agriculture (particularly the brigalow and mulga communities). Modified by pastoral and (in localised areas) mining activities. As the pastoral industry has faced restructuring in recent years, some areas have been purchased for conservation (e.g. some pastoral stations in Western Australia and Queensland). Foremost threats are changes in fire regime and over-grazing (including cattle, sheep and feral animals) (NLWRA, 2001b). Recent changes in land management policies have resulted in a shift to use of native pasture grasses, restrictions on clearing and a search for more sustainable management of rangeland pastures.

• Approximately 17.5% of the estimated pre–1750 extent cleared accounting for 8.5% of total clearing in Australia. Approximately 86 000 km2 cleared since European settlement.

Acacia Forests and Woodlands mainly occur on leasehold land.
New South Wales: Northern Territory: Queensland: South Australia: Tasmania: Victoria: Western Australia: protected areas, leasehold and freehold land leasehold land, some freehold land, protected areas freehold and leasehold land, protected areasand some state forests leasehold land, protected areas protected areas, state forests, freehold land state forests and protected areas leasehold land, protected areas, crown land, reserved crown land

Key values
• • • Biodiversity (ecological communities and endangered species). Remnant populations of a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate species. Timber values (e.g. craft products such as sandalwood). • Ecotourism (including bushwalking and landscapes in remote areas).

Key values are mainly associated with biodiversity and ecotourism values, ecological communities and protection of endangered species.


MVG 6—ACACIA FORESTS AND WOODLANDS Management considerations
• • • Clearing, especially in Queensland. Grazing pressure from both domestic stock and feral animals. Fire regimes (recognising that some introduced grasses such as buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) s and gamba grass (Anropogon gayanus) burn with ( s a hotter fire than native pasture grasses, thereby altering regeneration opportunities of trees and shrubs). Weed control (a major issue with pastoralists is the level of investment able to be made given the low profitability of the land). Beadle N.C.W. (1981) The Vegetation of Australia. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 690pp. Beard J.S. (1976) Murchison. Vegetation Survey of Western Australia, 1:1 000 000 series. Explanatory notes to sheet 6. Univ. of Western Aust. Press, Nedlands, 141pp. & map Johnson R.W. and Burrows W.H. (1994) Acacia open forests, woodlands and shrublands. In: Australian Vegetation (ed. R.H. Groves) pp. 257–290. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge. Morgan G. (2001) Landscape Health in Australia. A rapid assessment of the relative condition of Australia’s bioregions and subregions. Environment Australia and National Land & Water Resources Audit, Canberra, 109pp. National Land & Water Resources Audit (2001a) Australian Native Vegetation Assessment 2001. National Land & Water Resources Audit, Canberra, 332pp. National Land & Water Resources Audit (2001b) Rangelands—Tracking Changes, National Land and Water Resources Audit, Canberra. t

Australian Surveying and Land Information Group (1990) Atlas of Australian Resources. Volume 6 Vegetation, AUSMAP, Department of Administrative Services, Canberra, 64pp. & 2 maps.

Acacia harpophylla (brigalow) forest, 60km east of Tambo, Qld

Photo: M. Fagg


Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA), Version 6.1. Land Tenure in Australia’s Rangelands (1955 to 2000), National Land and Water Resources Audit. National Vegetation Information System, Version 3.0. 1996/97 Land Use of Australia, Version 2. Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database —CAPAD 2004—Terrestrial. Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources; <http://www. environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/sprat.pl.>. •

• The area protected has increased by 23 000 km2 since NVIS 1, reflecting improved reservation in the arid and semi-arid zones. This increase is despite a decrease in estimated area of the group due to many NVIS vegetation types in Western Australia being reassigned to other MVGs on the basis of improved vegetation descriptions. See the Introduction to the MVG fact sheets for further background on this series.

Tall Mulga community, south-west Qld

Photo: M. Bolton

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