Nature conservation

Threatened species

Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered Ecological Community
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 28 Nov 2014
Profile last updated: 19 Feb 2024


Occurs at the edges of the Cumberland Plain, where clay soils from the shale rock intergrade with earthy and sandy soils from sandstone, or where shale caps overlay sandstone. The boundaries are indistinct, and the species composition varies depending on the soil influences. The main tree species include Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), Grey Gum (E. punctata), stringybarks (E. globoidea, E. eugenioides) and ironbarks (E. fibrosa and E. crebra). Areas of low sandstone influence (more clay-loam soil texture) have an understorey that is closer to Cumberland Plain Woodland. Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion contains many more species than described for the canopy (above) and other references should be consulted to identify these.


Before European settlement, this community was extensive around the edges of the Cumberland lowlands throughout western Sydney, most particularly in the southern half. Today, only 9,950 ha remains intact (22.6% of its original extent) and the bulk of this occurs in the Hawkesbury, Baulkham Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, Campbelltown and Wollondilly local government areas. Good examples can be seen at Gulguer Nature Reserve, in the Wilton area and in the Sackville - Maroota area.

Habitat and ecology

  • Well adapted to fire, being often close to sandstone areas.
  • Some species in areas with greater shale influence regenerate from profuse annual seeding and underground tubers.
  • High-sandstone-influence sites have poor rocky soils, and many shrubs which rely on nitrogen-fixing root nodules and soil/root fungi to obtain nutrients.
  • High-shale-influence sites often have a diverse and moderately dense groundcover stratum, with grasses a prominent and diverse component. Shrubs are usually less abundant and less diverse in shale sites.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Predicted None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known Within 10 km of Nepean River
Sydney BasinWollemi Known Within 10 km of Hawkesbury Nepean River
Sydney BasinYengo Known None