Chapter 2 Values

Values of Mt Baw Baw

fen

Chapter 2.pdf- download here

Summary

During the early 1980’s, the Ministry for Conservation carried out several studies and surveys on the Central Gippsland region of Victoria to identify sites of natural significance. The results of these studies were published in several reports and all identified Mount Baw Baw and its associated escarpments as containing sites of outstanding natural value. These are listed below:

• Site of Global Zoological Significance (Section 2.2)
• Site of National Botanical Significance (Section 2.3)
• Site of National Geological and Geomorphological Significance (Section 2.4)

Further to these, later studies by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments revealed that the area surrounding Mount Baw Baw also contained:

• Sites of National Estate Value (Section 2.5)
• Sites of Landscape Value recognised under the National Trust (Section 2.6)

This chapter explores the significance of each of these attributes and provides reference to the source documents from which they are detailed.

Values of Mt Baw Baw

fen

Chapter 2.pdf- download here

Summary

During the early 1980’s, the Ministry for Conservation carried out several studies and surveys on the Central Gippsland region of Victoria to identify sites of natural significance. The results of these studies were published in several reports and all identified Mount Baw Baw and its associated escarpments as containing sites of outstanding natural value. These are listed below:

• Site of Global Zoological Significance (Section 2.2)
• Site of National Botanical Significance (Section 2.3)
• Site of National Geological and Geomorphological Significance (Section 2.4)

Further to these, later studies by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments revealed that the area surrounding Mount Baw Baw also contained:

• Sites of National Estate Value (Section 2.5)
• Sites of Landscape Value recognised under the National Trust (Section 2.6)

This chapter explores the significance of each of these attributes and provides reference to the source documents from which they are detailed.

2.0 Natural Values
fen
Figure 2.1.1 Upper Thomson River meandering through one of the Montane Fen Communities
2.1 Introduction
During the early 1980’s, the Ministry for Conservation carried out several studies and surveys on the Central Gippsland region of Victoria to identify sites of natural significance. The results of these studies were published in several reports and all identified Mount Baw Baw and its associated escarpments as containing sites of outstanding natural value. These are listed below:

• Site of Global Zoological Significance (Section 2.2)

• Site of National Botanical Significance (Section 2.3)

• Site of National Geological and Geomorphological Significance (Section 2.4)

 

Further to these, later studies by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments revealed that the area surrounding Mount Baw Baw also contained:

• Sites of National Estate Value (Section 2.5)

• Sites of Landscape Value recognised under the National Trust (Section 2.6)

 

This chapter explores the significance of each of these attributes and provides reference to the source documents from which they are detailed.
2.2 Zoological Values
In 1982, the then Ministry of Conservation identified the Baw Baw Plateau, the Upper Thomson River and Thomson-Aberfeldy as a Site of Global Zoological Significance. The reasons for significance were:
‘……. on the basis of records of Philoria frosti (Baw Baw Frog), Gymnobelideus leadbeateri (Leadbeater’s Possum), Pseudomys fumeus (Smoky Mouse), Mastacomys fuscus (Broad-toothed rat)) and Canis familiaris dingo (Dingo). The first three of these species are endemic to Victoria, and the area encompasses the worldwide distribution of one species, the Baw Baw Frog. Each of these species has quite different habitat requirements, emphasizing the environmental diversity of the area. Each of the environments supporting these species not only contains excellent examples of faunal complements typically associated with them, but each also contains particular species that are significant in their own right (Mansergh et al 1982).
Fifteen threatened fauna species have been recorded around Mount Baw Baw. The endangered Leadbeater’s Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri), one of Victoria’s faunal emblems has been recorded at several sites within the Mount Baw Baw region. The Possum joins a list of 28 native species of mammals recorded. More than 80 native bird species have been recorded, with the richest habitats being forested areas near watercourses. Significant bird species include the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 listed Sooty Owl and the endangered Powerful Owl (Parks Victoria 2005, DSE BioMap 2006).
A total of 19 reptiles and 10 amphibians have been recorded. These include 14 lizard species, 1 tortoise, 4 snake and 10 frog species including the critically endangered Baw Baw Frog and the critically endangered Spotted Tree Frog, which was last recorded along the Thomson River in 1980 (Parks Victoria 2005, DSE BioMap 2006). However, it is the endemic nature of the Baw Baw Frog and its significant population decline in recent years that has generated intense concern.
pos in tree
Figure 2.2.1 The Endangered Leadbeater’s Possum within sub-alpine habitat adjoining ‘the Morass’ near Mount Baw Baw (Photo – DSE 2005)
global zo sig

Map 2.2.1 Extent of the Site of Global Zoological Significance as sourced from Mansergh et al (1982)

site with faunal
Map 2.2.2 Extent of the Site of Global Zoological Significance with Key Fauna Sightings
2.3 The Botanical Values of Mount Baw Baw
The majority of the Mount Baw Baw and associated escarpments have been recorded as a site of National Botanical Significance. Overall, Baw Baw’s vegetation communities include:

• Over 400 native vascular flora species

• 45 rare or threatened species – one being endemic to the Plateau: Chionogentias bawbawensis (Baw Baw Snow-gentian)

• Over 70 mosses and 41 liverworts with one species listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act

• A forest tree form of Tingaringy Gum (Eucalyptus glaucescens) recorded on the southern slopes of Mount Erica is of considerable genetic interest

• Several species on the Plateau are yet to be fully described

• Vegetation communities sharing affinities with Tasmanian plant communities

 

Three vegetation communities on the Plateau have been listed under the Flora And Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. These are:

• Alpine Bog Community

• Montane Fen Community

• Bog (Fen) Community

• Cool Temperate Rainforest Community

• Cool Temperate Rainforest Community occurring in alpine and sub-alpine vegetation (very

 

rare occurrence) (Parks Victoria 2005, Gullan et al 1984, Peel 1999)
Below is a breakdown of the significant plant species found throughout the Mount Baw Baw area as identified by Gullan et al (1984).
Baw Baw Plateau

 

Significance National
Area 130 square kilometres
Boundaries Baw Baw National Park, west of the Thomson Valley Road
Vegetation Wet Alpine Heath Snow Gum Woodland Alpine Heath Wet Sclerophyll Forest
Reason for Significance

• Alpine Vegetation on the Australian Mainland occurs only about 500 square kilometers of land

• Sub-alpine woodland covers about 10 times this area

• Most of these areas are or have been heavily utilized for grazing in summer and skiing in winter

• The Mount Baw Baw is one of the few sub-alpine areas where grazing has been excluded

• Ski run development has been minimal

• The vegetation on Mount Baw Baw and its associated escarpments are unique in composition

• The treeless alpine vegetation occurring in the depressions between the wooded hills is unique

• The Snow Gum Woodland on Baw Baw is floristically unique from other alpine areas

 

Significant Species include:

• Wittsteinia vacciniacea (Baw Baw Berry) – common on Baw Baw, rare elsewhere

• Actinotus bellidiodes (Tiny Flannel Flower)

• Mitrasacme montana

• Oxalis magellanica (Snowdrop Wood-Sorrel) – Listed as rare in Victoria

• Coprosma pumila

• Coprosma moorei

• Lycopodium selago (Fir Clubmoss)– Common on Baw Baw, rare elsewhere

• Lycopodium scariosum

• Exocarpos nanus (Alpine Ballart) – Rare in the alps

• Drosera acturi

• Baeckea utilis (Mountain Baeckea) - endemic to Baw Baw and Lake Mountain

• Trochocarpa clarkei (Lilac Berry) – Common in Baw Baw Snow Gum Woodland, rare elsewhere

 

Upper Thomson Area

 

Significance National
Area 300 hectares
Boundaries Nine Mile Road to western slopes Mount Whitelaw
Vegetation Wet Alpine Heathland Tussock Heathland Wet Sclerophyll Forest
Significance of Site:

• Lowest site encountered that supports alpine vegetation (1100m Above Sea Level)

• Wet heathlands are floristically comparable with same vegetation 600m higher than this site

• Epacris coriacea, a rare species, is common at this site

 

Significant Species:

• Blechnum fluviatile (Ray Water-fern)

• Carex alsophila (Forest Sedge) – listed as rare under the Central Highlands FMP

• Epacris coriacea

• Oxalis magellanica (Snowdrop Wood-Sorrel) – Listed as rare in Victoria

• Poa helmsii (Tall Tussock-grass)

• Richea gunnii

• Richea victoriana (Victorian Richea) – Endemic to Victoria and listed as rare

 

Clearfell logging has been proposed to take place within and around this site. It is one of the sites for the ‘disturbance experiment’ involving the logging of Baw Baw Frog habitat. Scientists, along with environmental groups have opposed this proposal (see below).
Mount Whitelaw Area

 

Significance National
Area 150 hectares
Boundaries Treeless areas surrounding headwaters of Whitelaw Creek and Tanjil Creek to the South
Vegetation Wet Alpine Heath
Significance of Site:

• Mount Whitelaw supports the only mainland population of the Flannel Flower

• Flannel Flower, collected in 1944, has not been recorded since despite extensive searches

• Contains the most extensive area of Wet Alpine Heath on the Baw Baw Plateau

• Contains sub-communities that are floristically distinct

 

Significant Species:

• Actinotus bellidiodes (Tiny Flannel Flower)

• Coprosma moorei

• Euphrasia gibbsiae – Listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act 1999

• Huperzia selago (Fir Clubmoss)

• Lycopodium scariosum

• Montia fontana (Water Blinks) – Poorly known in Victoria

• Trochocarpa clarkei (Lilac Berry) – Common in Baw Baw Snow Gum Woodland, rare elsewhere

• Wittsteinia vacciniacea (Baw Baw Berry) – common on Baw Baw, rare elsewhere

 

Central Baw Baw Plateau

 

Significance National
Area 250 hectares
Extent Mustering Flat, Currawong Flat, Summit Area of Mount Baw Baw
Vegetation Wet Alpine Heathland
Significance of Site:

• Mustering flat contains representatives of all sub-communities on Baw Baw

• Mustering Flat contains one of a few deep perennial streams with alpine vegetation

• Mustering Flat contains rare submerged aquatic flora

• Currawong Flat contains a distinct variety of Erigeron pappochroma, endemic to site

• Summit area of Mount Baw Baw supports a rare prolific colony of club moss

 

Significant Species:

• Erigeron pappochroma var oblongatus

• Euphrasia gibbsiae – Listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act 1999

• Huperzia selago (Fir Clubmoss)

• Lycopodium scariosum

• Montia fontana (Water Blinks) – Poorly known in Victoria

• Oxalis magellanica (Snowdrop Wood-Sorrel) – Listed as rare in Victoria

• Trochocarpa clarkei (Lilac Berry) – Common in Baw Baw Snow Gum Woodland, rare elsewhere

• Wittsteinia vacciniacea (Baw Baw Berry) – common on Baw Baw, rare elsewhere

 

Mount Erica Area

 

Significance National
Area 100 hectares
Extent Mount Erica, Upper reaches of Christmas and Talbot Creeks
Vegetation Wet Alpine Heath and other communities
Significance of Site:
• The vegetation types contained within this site are floristically and structurally distinct
• Contains ‘erosion pavement’ vegetation (Isotopic crassiuscula and Oreobolus pumilio)
• The vegetation Stabilize the coarse granitic sands of shallow pools and run off zones
• Accretion of fine soils results in an annular growth pattern
• Enlarged islands allow for secondary colonizers (grasses and herbs)
• These islands can reach 1.5m in diameter and be raised high above the gravel bed
• The islands support a small but typical Wet Alpine Heathland
• Contains a rare erosion pavement species Oreobolus pumilio
• Contains the second known mainland occurrence of Ergeron pappochroma var oblongatus
Significant Species:

• Carpha alpina

• Erigeron pappochroma var oblongatus

• Euphrasia gibbsiae – Listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act 1999

• Huperzia selago (Fir Clubmoss)

• Lycopodium scariosum

• Oreobolus pumilio (Alpine Tuft-rush) – presumed as rare in Victoria

• Veronica nivea

• Wittsteinia vacciniacea (Baw Baw Berry) – common on Baw Baw, rare elsewhere

 

Old Tanjil – Tyers River

 

Significance State
Area 100 square kilometres
Extent Old Tanjil to Western Tyers, Tyers River and Moondarra Reservoir. Catchment of Tyers and Serpentine Creek
Vegetation Damp Sclerophyll Forest Sclerophyll Woodland Coastal Heathland
Significance of Site:

• The sclerophyll woodland is an unusual community and is restricted to this site

• The unusual features of the community include the preponderance of proteaceous shrubs

• This community presides over a layer dominated by tussock forming sedges and lilies

• The sclerophyll woodland is unlike other vegetation communities in Victoria

• Contains a unique Damp Sclerophyll Forest Community with the presence of heathland species

• Coastal Heathland communities are scattered throughout depressions within the site

 

Significant Species:

• Stipa muelleri (Tangled Spear Grass)

• Banksia spinulosa (Hairpin Banksia)

• Lepidosperma filiforme (common Rapier-sedge)

• Lepidosperma semiteres

• Tetraria capillaries

• Epacris impressa (Common Heath)

• Xanthorrhoea minor (Small Grass-tree, Black Boys)

• Amperea xiphoclada – Now listed as Extinct under the EPBC Act 1999

• Eucalyptus consideniana (Yertchuk, Prickly Stringybark)

 

Part of this site has been subject to clearfell logging and further coupes are proposed.

 

Map 2.3.1 Extent of Sites of Botanical Significance as sourced from Gullan et al (1984)
alpine bog
Figure 2.3.1 The Alpine Bog Community – Tyers River Headwaters
2.4 Geological Values
Mount Baw Baw and its associated escarpments are forms of resistant igneous rock composed of Upper Devonian granodiorite that were intruded into the surrounding Devonian sedimentary rock (Hollis 2004). The Plateau has evolved through a number of stages, including the removal of an unknown depth of sedimentary rocks through weathering and erosion above the granodiorite mass. As granodiorite is more resistant to weathering than sedimentary rock, the present remnant plateau was formed. This has resulted in a number of distinct geomorphological features and patterns of drainage, which contributes to the recognition of the Baw Baw Plateau as a site of national geological and geomorphological significance. (Rosengren et al 1981).
Rosengren et al (1981) ascribes this significance to:
The Australian mainland is poorly endowed with Alpine high plains and the Baw Baw Plateau is a distinctive feature of the Alpine Environment. It exhibits a combination of features which are only duplicated at one other site, Mount Buffalo, on the Australian Mainland.
geological sig

Map 2.4.1 details the extent of the site of significance over the Baw Baw Plateau and escarpments.

 
2.5 National Estate Values
The register of the National Estate is a national register of places in Australia where heritage values and significant forest areas are listed. The lack of detailed National Estate information about forests had hampered the Australian Heritage Commission (AHC) to list national estate places and provide the strategic conservation advice to the Commonwealth Government as required by Section 30 of the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 (Australian Heritage Commission et al 1994). The report on the Central Highlands of Victoria was at the Victorian Government’s request to have National Estate findings in time to be considered for the Land Conservation Council’s (LCC) final recommendations for land use in the area. The report, titled ‘National Estate Values in the Central Highlands of Victoria’ was published in June 1994 as a draft project report.
A national estate value, defined by the report, is a geographically defined area containing at least one national estate value. Appendix Q of the report recognises 33,040 hectares of Baw Baw to have a convergence of National Estate Values. In comparison to closed water catchment reserves of the Yarra Ranges and Kinglake National Parks, Mount Baw Baw and its associated escarpments were found to contain the highest concentration of values within its mapped area (Australian Heritage Commission et al 1994). Table 2.5.1 details references the AHC and DCNR study in comparing the values of Mount Baw Baw to the closed water catchments of Wallaby Creek, O’Shannassy River, Watts River and the Upper Yarra Catchment – all recognised as outstanding sites due to their lack of human disturbance. The current Baw Baw National Park consists of 13,530 hectares whereas the sites of National Estate Value accumulate to a total area of 33,040 hectares (over double the current National Park area). The majority other areas listed below also reveal convergence of values and are primarily contained within the formal reserve system.
cool temperate rain forest
Figure 2.5.1 Cool Temperate Rainforest – Tyers Figure 2.5.2 Multi-Age Forest in Coupe 483-503­River below Coupe 483-503-0023 0023
Table 2.5.1 National Estate Values for selected areas in the Central Highlands of Victoria
(Source AHC 1994)

 

Mount Baw Baw(Less than half inNational Park) Wallaby Creek Kinglake NationalPark O’Shannassy Yarra Ranges NationalPark Watts RiverYarra Ranges NationalPark Upper YarraYarra Ranges NationalPark
Area (hectares) 33,040 6,762 14,338 14,155 30,337
Endemic Fauna _* _
Refuge Fauna _ _ _ _ _
Key Habitats _ _ _ _ _
Richness Fauna _ _ _ _ _
Rare/Threatened Species _ _ _ _ _
Uncommon Habitat _ _ _ _ _
Endemic Species - Flora _ _ _
Limit of Range Flora _ _ _
Disjunct Species Flora _ _
Relictual Flora _ _ _ _ _
Refugial Flora _ _ _ _
Successional Stages Flora _ _ _ _
Remnant Vegetation
Richness Flora _ _
Threatened Species - Flora _ _
Natural Landscapes - Flora _ _ _ _ _
Rare Ecosystems Old Growth _ _ _ _
Remote and Natural Areas _**
Principle Characteristics - Flora _ _ _ _ _
Geology and Geomorphology _ _ _
Localities of Reference Areas _ _ _ _ _
Cultural Richness Aboriginal _ _ _
Cultural Richness Historic _ _ _ _
Pattern of History Aboriginal _ _ _
Pattern of History Historic _ _ _ _
Exceptional Places _ _ _
Principle Characteristics _ _ _ _
Aesthetic Values _ _ _ _
Technical Achievement _ _ _ _
Highly Valued Places _ _ _ _
People Of Importance _ _
Not included in the ‘National Estate Values in the Central Highlands of Victoria’ Draft Report * The Baw Baw Frog is ‘endemic’ to Baw Baw (Hollis 2004) ** The Baw Baw National Park Plan (2005) recognises the Baw Baw Plateau a ‘Natural and Remote Area’
fauna estate value
Map 2.5.1 Extent of Sites of Fauna National Estate Value around Mount Baw Baw (Source AHC 1994)

 

flora estate value

Map 2.5.2 Extent of Sites of Flora National Estate Value around Mount Baw Baw (Source AHC 1994)

national estate
Map 2.5.3 Extent of Sites of National Estate Value around Mount Baw Baw (Source AHC 1994)
2.6 The Landscape Values
The National Trust of Australia has listed Mount Baw Baw and its associated escarpments in recognition for its diversity of alpine and sub-alpine landscapes and its distinctive flora and fauna. The regions’ significant features can only be found elsewhere on the Australian Mainland at Mount Buffalo (Parks Victoria 2005, Rosengren et al 1981).
Key References
Australian Heritage Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (1994), ‘National Estate Values in the Central Highlands of Victoria – Draft Project Report’, (DCNR)
Gullan P, Earl G, Forbes S, Barley R, Walsh N (1984), ‘Sites of Botanical Significance in Central Gippsland’, (Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands)
Mansergh IM, Norris KC (1982), ‘Sites of Zoological Significance in Central Gippsland Report’, (Ministry for Conservation, Victoria, Environmental Studies Division)
Parks Victoria (2005), ‘Baw Baw National Park’, (Parks Victoria)
Rosengren N, McRae-Williams M, Kraemers S (1981), ‘Sites of Geological and Geomorphological Significance in Central Gippsland’, (Ministry for Conservation, Victoria)