Rocks and Reptiles

Linking and enhancing rocky outcrops - critical refugia for biodiversity in The Central Tablelands

Rocks and Reptiles

Linking and enhancing rocky outcrops - critical refugia for biodiversity in The Central Tablelands

Collaborations -


The issue

Central Tablelands Landcare has driven a number of successful biodiversity projects which has seen an increase in the number of hectares revegetated on private property, especially in the EEC of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands. An important landscape feature of the cleared grassy woodland landscape are rocky outcrops. They are an important biodiversity refugia in our agricultural landscape and are critical in providing landscape-scale connectivity. With this project we want to diversify our successful biodiversity projects by enhancing these important 'stepping stones' of native vegetation and wildlife habitat.

The solution

We were successful in receiving funding from the Environmental Trust to assist property owners to protect rocky outcrops.  We ran an information session to let people know about the importance of protecting and enhancing rocky outcrops which was attended by 35 people, including potential project partners plus interested members of the public and LLS staff. This was clearly an area of great interest and concern. 

Dan Florance from Sustainable Farms (Fenner School, ANU) addressed the attendees on the ecological value of these areas and what they can expect to find in rocky outcrops - ranging from reptiles, pollinating insects and bugs to echidnas and possums. Did you know that certain butterflies need a rocky outcrop to successfully breed?  Dan also spoke about the importance of trees as well as grasses and forbs in revegetating outctrops whilst not over-shading too much.

The impact

Sue, our Biodiversity Officer and myself, conducted site inspections on 20 properties to assess their suitability for the project. Our assessment criteria included, the presence of Box Gum Grassy Woodland and rocky outcrops - what kind they were, was there existing vegetation and not too many large trees, because if the outcrop receives too much shade then there is nowhere for reptiles to sun themselves.

At the end of Stage 1, twelve landholders have installed wildlife friendly fencing around 15 hectares of rocky outcrops which are in various stages of degradation. Some have taken advantage of the autumn rains and started planting their areas.

We had organised an on-site field day but we have had to postpone this due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Key facts

  • 12 landholders have committed to enhancing 15 hectares of rocky outcrops
  • Rocky outcrops ranged from limestone ridges, silurian deposits and ordovician sedimentary and volcanic rocks
  • 3600 trees, shrubs and grasses will have been planted by the end of the project

Project Partners