Introducing the Cumberland Plain Woodland
Cumberland Plain Woodland is an open forest. The trees have spaces between them allowing light to reach the ground so there is a high proportion of understorey plants such as shrubs, herbs and grasses. Cumberland Plain Woodland grows on deep clay soils with low rainfall.
Once thought of by many as unsightly scrub, this bushland is now being recognised for its importance – a unique type of woodland not found anywhere else in Australia, which is threatened with extinction.
Both Federal and State governments have listed the Cumberland Plain Woodland as an Endangered Ecological Community – the first time a whole plant community has been recognised as being in danger of extinction.
Only 6% of the original 107,000 hectares of Cumberland Plain Woodland remains. The woodland was heavily cleared in the past for farming and it still being cleared today to accommodate much of Sydney’s population growth. In some cases, the woodland is also being badly affected by weeds, fertiliser run-off and litter.
Why is Cumberland Plain Woodland important?
• It is unique to western Sydney
• It provides habitat for native birds, animals and plants
• It helps to keep our creeks clean
• It provides interest and beauty to urban and agricultural areas
• There is very little of it left
What is Cumberland Plain Woodland?
At the Australian Botanic Garden the woodland comprises of three main tree species:
• Grey Box, Eucalyptus moluccana
• Forest Red Gum, Eucalyptus tereticornis
• Narrow-leaved Ironbark, Eucalyptus crebra
It also consists of several shrubby species, mainly Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa) and over 120 small herbs and grasses.
Virtual woodland wander
Take a virtual walk through the Cumberland Plain Woodland protected by the Australian Botanic Garden. View the variety of plant species and learn about animals that use them.
Also view the video, Layers of life (1:50min), that introduces the plant layers in the woodland.