Nature conservation

Threatened species

Monaro Tableland Cool Temperate Grassy Woodland in the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion - profile

Indicative distribution

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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: Monaro Tableland Cool Temperate Grassy Woodland in the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered Ecological Community
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 28 Jun 2019
Profile last updated: 02 Nov 2020


Monaro Tablelands Cool Temperate Grassy Woodland is a woodland to low open woodland community. It is characterised by a sparse to very sparse tree (woodland to open woodland) layer dominated by Eucalyptus pauciflora (snow gum) either as a single species or with any of Acacia melanoxylon (blackwood), E. rubida (candlebark), E. stellulata (black sallee) and/or E. viminalis (ribbon gum) as co-dominants. Other tree species may occur within the community, although very infrequently and always as canopy sub-dominants. 

The tree layer becomes shorter and sparser with declining moisture availability or increasing levels of soil water logging. Tree cover may be reduced or absent due to historic land management practices. 

A continuous ground layer is usually present, although this may vary in composition and cover. The ground layer is typically dominated by Themeda triandra (syn. T. australis, kangaroo grass) and Poa sieberiana (snow grass), although a relatively wide range of frequently encountered species also make a substantial contribution to the ground cover. These include Microlaena stipoides (weeping grass), Anthosachne scabra (syn. Elymus scaber; tall wheatgrass), Poa labillardierei (river tussock), Hydrocotyle laxiflora (stinking pennywort),Scleranthus biflorus (knawel), Oxalis perennans, Plantago varia (variable plantain), Euchiton japonicus (creeping cudweed), Hypericum gramineum (small St. John’s wort), Desmodium varians (slender tick-trefoil), Geranium solanderi (native geranium), Acaena echinata, Gonocarpus tetragynus, Dichondra repens (kidney weed), Solenogyne gunnii, Asperula conferta (common woodruff), Asperula scoparia (prickly woodruff), Chrysocephalum apiculatum (common everlasting) and Chrysocephalum semipapposum (clustered everlasting).

The community can also occur as secondary grassland where trees have been removed but the understorey composition remains largely intact. The composition can be difficult to separate from natural temperate grassland, with landscape cues such as the presence of snow gum in a similar landscape position used as a guide.

This CEEC replaces the southern distribution of the formerly listed 'Tableland Snow Gum, Black Sallee, Candlebark and Ribbon Gum Grassy Woodland in the South Eastern Highlands, Sydney Basin, South East Corner and NSW South Western Slopes Bioregion' Endangered Ecological Community, noting changes in the species assemblage. 


Monaro Grassy Woodland (MGW) occurs in the Southern Tablelands of NSW, occupying broad valley floors and slopes and low rises of the moderately undulating tablelands on a wide variety of substrates including basalt, fine-grained sedimentary rocks, granite, acid volcanics and alluvium.

Geographically, the community is located between Captains Flat in the north and Bombala in the south. The eastern boundary corresponds approximately with the crest of the Great Dividing Range between Captains Flat and Nimmitabel, with western occurrences between the Adaminaby area in the north and Ingebyra in the south. Due to the extensive rain-shadow centred on the Monaro Tableland, the western distribution of the community is discontinuous with the distribution in the east, except for the areas of higher rainfall at the southern end of the Monaro plain between Bombala and Delegate. Examples can also be found north of the Monaro.

Habitat and ecology

  • Characterised by the presence or prior occurrence of snow gum, and associated candlebark, ribbon gum, black sallee or blackwood.
  • The trees may occur as pure stands dominated by Snow Gum, or with other characteristic trees as co-dominant to sub-dominant. Non-characteristic trees may occur as subdominant.
  • The understorey in intact sites is characterised by native grasses and a high diversity of herbs; the most commonly encountered include kangaroo grass (Themeda australis) and common snow-grass (Poa sieberiana), with others including river tussock (Poa labillardierei), weeping grass (Microlaena stipoides), tall wheatgrass (Anthosachne scabra) and a variety of forbs.
  • Shrubs are generally sparse or absent, though they may be locally common. Sub-shrubs (woody species <0.5 m tall) may be common. The most common shrubs and sub-shrubs include silver wattle (Acacia dealbata), red-stemmed wattle (Acacia rubida) and poison rice-flower (Pimelea pauciflora).
  • Remnants may occur on the lower, more fertile parts of the landscape where resources such as water and nutrients are abundant; sites on midslope situations where resources are scarcer are more common.
  • Sites with characteristics such as a variety of age classes in the trees, patches of regrowth, old trees with hollows and fallen timber on the ground are very important as wildlife habitat. Sites with a full range of such attributes are rare.
  • Sites in the lowest parts of the landscape often support large trees which have leafy crowns and reliable nectar flows. These sites are important for insectivorous and nectar feeding birds and generally have the largest hollows.
  • Sites that retain only a grassy groundlayer and with few or no trees remaining are important for rehabilitation, and to rebuild connections between sites of better quality.
  • Remnants support many species of threatened fauna and flora.
  • Retention of remnants is important as they contribute to productive farming systems (stock shelter, seed sources, sustainable grazing and water-table and salinity control).
  • The fauna of remnants (insectivorous birds, bats, etc) can contribute to insect control on grazing properties.
  • Some of the component species (e.g. wattles, native legumes) fix nitrogen that is made available to other species in the community, while fallen timber and leaves recycle their nutrients.
  • Disturbed remnants are considered to form part of the community, including where the vegetation would respond to assisted natural regeneration.

Regional distribution and habitat

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


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsKanangra Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsKybeyan-Gourock Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Predicted None