KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland Recovery Program

What is the KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland ecological community?

The KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland is a unique type of vegetation community where Eucalyptus cneorifolia (Kangaroo Island narrow-leaved mallee) is the dominant tree canopy species. Several other eucalypt species may be present in the community, but are never the most common species. The understorey is made up of a range of native shrubs and herbs which vary in density and species composition depending on site and soil characteristics. This community has been listed as Critically Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland is endemic to eastern Kangaroo Island and has a strong association with roadside vegetation and the agricultural landscape, often existing as shelterbelts for grazing livestock and is known for forming arbours above roadways which have become somewhat of a cultural icon of Kangaroo Island.

Why is this community important?

Over 250 plant species have been recorded in KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland, including many that are endemic to Kangaroo Island. Over 30 plant species recorded in the community are listed as threatened either nationally or in South Australia, such as the small-flower daisy-bush (Olearia microdisca). The community also provides habitat for many native birds, reptiles and mammals including the nationally threatened Southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus subsp. obesulus).

KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland Recovery Program

Image above: The nationally threatened small-flowered daisy-bush (Olearia microdisca)

Why does the community need national protection?

It’s estimated that KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland once occupied approximately 75,000 hectares of Kangaroo Island. Following European settlement, large areas were cleared and converted to farmland, with KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland now occupying an area just over 7,880 hectares in size split between more than 800 individual vegetation patches. The Woodland is now vulnerable to threats such as weed invasion and changes in fire severity and frequency due to its fragmented state. The below map shows the full extent of the community as mapped by this project.

KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland Recovery Program

It’s important to note that the dominant tree species, Eucalyptus cneorifolia itself is not a threatened species. The listing only applies to intact patches of native vegetation that have E. cneorifolia as the dominant tree canopy species.

Are all KI Narrow-leaved Mallee patches nationally threatened?

No, only vegetation patches that meet the minimum condition thresholds set out by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) are considered nationally threatened. Patches not meeting the minimum thresholds are considered too degraded for the purposes of protection under national environment law. Generally, patches that have a width of 60 metres or more qualify as the listed community, while patches that are less than 60 metres wide are excluded from the listing.

What’s being done to manage the KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland?

The Kangaroo Island Landscape Board is working to recover KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland through the Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaved Mallee Recovery, funded through the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. This program is:

  1. Improving the condition of remnant KI Narrow-leaved Mallee community patches through direct investment in threat mitigation actions and assisting landholders to undertake best practice management of KI Narrow-leaved Mallee on their properties.
  2. Increasing the extent and connectivity of the KI Narrow-leaved Mallee community through direct investment in revegetation projects on private land.

Actions to date include:

  • Mapping the extent of the listed community to fill previous gaps in knowledge.
  • Identifying populations of threatened plants to better inform management decisions.
  • Recording the condition of roadside KI Narrow-leaved Mallee using High-Definition video to identify change over time.
  • Working with landholders to help protect remnant patches of KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland by funding stock exclusion fencing, and increasing the extent and connectivity of the community by funding revegetation works.
  • Developing a set of management guidelines for KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland to help landholders.
KI Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland Recovery Program

Image above: KI Narrow-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus cneorifolia) Woodland.

More information

Project Officer - Narrow-leaved Mallee

35 Dauncey Street

+61 08 8553 2476