Sheoak Grassy Woodlands: Ecological Asset 10

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Description

Sheoak Grassy Woodlands (Allocasuarina verticillata) in the WildEyre project area are scattered north to south along the west coast and are heavily degraded through grazing by sheep and rabbits.

Eyre Peninsula once had large and significant areas of Sheoak grassy Woodlands, that supported many important species. Now, sheoaks are restricted to smaller isolated populations and many large scale sheoak revegetation programs are attempting to bring the Sheoak Woodlands back. Allocasuarina verticillata is Vulnerable in SA.

Sheoaks provide significant shade, shelter and good food for stock and therefore they have persisted in the WildEyre landscape, even if in poor condition, on many private properties. It is considered 80-95% of remaining areas are in very poor condition with old dead trees remaining in paddocks with poor regeneration.

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Threatened or Important Species

This plant community generally occurs on shallow calcareous soils where the rainfall exceeds 350mm. The understorey is composed of native grasses, sedges and herbs, such as:

  • Wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia spp)
  • Spear grass (Austrostipa spp)
  • Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra)
  • Iron grass (Lomandra effusa)
  • Sheoak grassy woodlands are also associated with the Native Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii) which features beautiful mauve/purple flowers.

Fauna species that frequent Sheoak grassy woodlands include woodland bird species and reptiles and previous to their broadscale decline, may have been important grounds for possums and smaller mammals. As Sheoak needles are highly palatable to grazing animals, kangaroos are often noted foraging in sheoak areas.

Threats:

  • Overgrazing (stock and introduced rabbits)
  • Poor recruitment
  • Historical land clearance
  • Overabundant native herbivores

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