Greater Blue Mountains Area

Country
Australia
Inscribed in
2000
Criteria
(ix)
(x)
The conservation outlook for this site has been assessed as "significant concern" in the latest assessment cycle. Explore the Conservation Outlook Assessment for the site below. You have the option to access the summary, or the detailed assessment.
The Greater Blue Mountains Area consists of 1.03 million ha of sandstone plateaux, escarpments and gorges dominated by temperate eucalypt forest. The site, comprised of eight protected areas, is noted for its representation of the evolutionary adaptation and diversification of the eucalypts in post-Gondwana isolation on the Australian continent. Ninety-one eucalypt taxa occur within the Greater Blue Mountains Area which is also outstanding for its exceptional expression of the structural and ecological diversity of the eucalypts associated with its wide range of habitats. The site provides significant representation of Australia's biodiversity with ten percent of the vascular flora as well as significant numbers of rare or threatened species, including endemic and evolutionary relict species, such as the Wollemi pine, which have persisted in highly-restricted microsites. © UNESCO
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Summary

2020 Conservation Outlook

Finalised on
03 Dec 2020
Significant concern
Seventy-one percent of the site was affected by fires that burned at greatly varying intensities for more than 3 months from end October 2019 to early February 2020. Many species that are attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value of the site were impacted by the fires; however, the impacts are still being assessed. Prior to the fires of 2019/20, most of the natural plant communities and habitats of the site remained close to pristine, and recovery from the impacts of the fires needs to be closely monitored. While management of the site itself and of the protected areas comprising it has been effective to date, the devastating fires in the Greater Blue Mountains in 2019/20 have raised new challenges for the World Heritage site. Better planning and adaptive management will be important to address threats, especially climate change and its unfolding effects including drought and uncontrollable fire. New management approaches to fire are needed, as conventional approaches are shown to be less effective than under previously experienced conditions. Impacts of developments adjacent to the site require ongoing vigilance. The large size and extensive perimeter of the site and the existence of major enclaves (inholdings) creates further management challenges.

Current state and trend of VALUES

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Seventy-one percent of the site was affected by fires that burned at greatly varying intensities for more than 3 months from end October 2019 to early February 2020. Many species that are attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value of the site were impacted by the fires; however, the impacts are still being assessed. Most of the natural plant communities and habitats of the site remained close to pristine prior to the fires of 2019/20, and recovery from the impacts of the fires needs to be closely monitored. Biological responses to extreme events are difficult to predict and generalize across taxa (Harris et al., 2018). The magnitude of projected increase in temperature in Australia over a 75-year period is likely beyond the adaptive capacity of most vertebrates (Reside et al., 2013). Appropriate fire regimes and responsive management will be crucial for recovery and to build ecosystems that are more resilient to climate change.

Overall THREATS

High Threat
The 2019-2020 bushfires portend a changing climate and the need for some fundamental changes in landscape policy and management in Australia and for the GBMA. Mitigation of impacts of land uses adjacent to the site are important to protect the Outstanding Universal Values of the site. Strategic management will be essential to build resilience of the site's ecosystems to climate change. Appropriate fire regimes, particularly cool burns, are a key part of this, with resurgence of undergrowth in the wake of the fires to avoid further unmanageable hot fires. Recovery from the 2019/20 fires will need to continue being undertaken with a view to building ecosystem resilience in the face of continued drought and catastrophic fire conditions.

Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT

Mostly Effective
The World Heritage site benefits from a strong legal framework and has an effective management system in place. Challenges include the need to provide improved protection from threats outside the site boundaries, as well as the increasing impacts of climate change. Further management responses will be required to address some increasing threats, particularly those posed by invasive species and pathogens, and climate change and uncontrollable wildfire.

Full assessment

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Finalised on
03 Dec 2020

Description of values

A centre of diversification for the Australian scleromorphic flora

Criterion
(ix)
The Greater Blue Mountains Area includes outstanding and representative examples in a relatively small area of the evolution and adaptation of the genus Eucalyptus and eucalypt-dominated vegetation on the Australian continent. The site contains a wide and balanced representation of eucalypt habitats including wet and dry sclerophyll forests and mallee heathlands, as well as localised swamps, wetlands and grassland. It is a centre of diversification for the Australian scleromorphic flora, including significant aspects of eucalypt evolution and radiation. Representative examples of the dynamic processes in its eucalypt-dominated ecosystems cover the full range of interactions between eucalypts, understorey, fauna, environment and fire. The site includes primitive species of outstanding significance to the evolution of the earth’s plant life, such as the highly restricted Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) and the Blue Mountains pine (Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii). These are examples of ancient, relict species with Gondwanan affinities that have survived past climatic changes and demonstrate the highly unusual juxtaposition of Gondwanan taxa with the diverse scleromorphic flora (World Heritage Committee, 2013).

An outstanding diversity of habitats and plant communities

Criterion
(x)
The site includes an outstanding diversity of habitats and plant communities that support its globally significant species and ecosystem diversity (152 plant families, 484 genera and c. 1,500 species). A significant proportion of the Australian continent’s biodiversity, especially its scleromorphic flora, occur in the area. Plant families represented by exceptionally high levels of species diversity here include Myrtaceae (150 species), Fabaceae (149 species), and Proteaeceae (77 species). Eucalypts (Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia, all in the family Myrtaceae) which dominate the Australian continent are well represented by more than 90 species (13% of the global total). The genus Acacia (in the family Fabaceae) is represented by 64 species. The site includes primitive and relictual species with Gondwanan affinities (Wollemia, Pherosphaera, Lomatia, Dracophyllum, Acrophyllum, Podocarpus and Atkinsonia) and supports many plants of conservation significance including 114 endemic species and 177 threatened species (World Heritage Committee, 2013).
At the time of its nomination for inclusion in the World Heritage List in 1998, the Greater Blue Mountains Area was known to support 90 species of eucalypt (species of the genera Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia in the family Myrtaceae). At the time of listing in 2000, that number had risen to 91. A review published in 2010 indicated the presence of 96 species, and an additional species (Angophora subvelutina) was located in 2018, bringing the current total of eucalypt species to 97 (State Party of Australia, 2019).
Recent surveys indicate that the abundance of vertebrate taxa has increased and the abundance of birds have decreased since the site was nominated for World Heritage listing in 1998. The difference is attributed to an updated count methodology. The figures for 1998 vs. 2019 update are the following: 52/68 for mammals, 265/254 for birds, 63/74 for reptiles, 30+/36 for frogs (Smith & Smith 2019).
 

Threatened animal species

Criterion
(x)
The diverse plant communities and habitats support more than 400 vertebrate taxa (of which 40 are threatened), comprising some 52 mammal, 63 reptile, over 30 frog and about one third (265 species) of Australia’s bird species. Charismatic vertebrates such as the platypus and echidna occur in the area. Although invertebrates are still poorly known, the area supports an estimated 120 butterfly and 4,000 moth species, and a rich cave invertebrate fauna (67 taxa) (World Heritage Committee, 2013). Recent surveys indicate that the abundance of vertebrate taxa overall has increased (from 52 to 68 for mammals, from 63 to 74 for reptiles),  but the abundance of birds has decreased (from 265 to 254) since the site was nominated in 1998. The difference is attributed to an updated count methodology (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
 
Endangered Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone
The World Heritage site included endangered Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (THPSS), which are largely unique to the Blue Mountains. Their key values include floristic diversity, water retention in the upper landscape, habitat for two endangered fauna species and provision of base flow to downstream catchments (Cowley et al., 2019).
The Upland Basalt Eucalypt Forests of the Sydney Basin Bioregion
The Upland Basalt Eucalypt Forests of the Sydney Basin Bioregion is typically tall open eucalypt forest found on basalt and basalt-like substrates in, or adjacent to, the World Heritage property (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2011).

Assessment information

High Threat
The Australian Government is working closely with the NSW State Government, land managers, scientific experts, other stakeholders and Aboriginal communities to better understand the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the site. Further detailed investigations of the direct and indirect impacts of the bushfire events are underway. Assessment of biodiversity impacts associated with the 2019/20 fires are high priority and will continue over the next 6 to 12 months. The impacts of climate change are predicted to continue to escalate, with increasing temperatures, drought, extreme weather and fires. With regards to other threats, control of introduced predators (foxes, cats and wild dogs) is on-going. In addition to threats of drought and fire, upland peat swamps continue to be threatened by mining adjacent to the Greater Blue Mountains Area.  
Fire/ Fire Suppression
(Extreme fires)
Very High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
The extreme fires in the GBMA and across south-eastern Australia over several months in 2019/20 reflect climate changes that have affected fire regimes that have led to increasing dry fuel loads. The NSW government released an immediate response plan in January for recovery actions and wildlife protection (Department of Planning Industry and Environment, 2020). A wider conservation response to the fires across Australia was prepared by Dickman et al. (2020) to outline priority actions and a blueprint for responding to such large-scale ecological disaster. The GBMA has one of the world’s most fire-prone ecosystems. Initial estimates in early 2020 showed that potentially up to 82% (853,977 hectares) of the site was affected by fires that burned at greatly varying intensities for more than 3 months from end October 2019 to early February 2020 (State Party of Australia, 2020). A more detailed analysis using the Fire Extent and Severity Mapping (FESM) method, has shown that it is about 71% (IUCN Consultation, 2020c). Some areas burnt with lower intensity and provided critical refugia for some species. Impacts on species will not be fully understood until further monitoring is done. The fires were followed in February by torrential rain which also significantly impacted the property, with flash flooding resulting in increased sediment, debris and ash runoff and erosion of some watercourses and unsealed access routes across the site.
Of the 587 fires that have occurred within the Greater Blue Mountains Area over the last 15 years, 67% (393) were contained to less than 10 ha and only 25 fires (<5%) were larger than 1,000 ha. During the 2019-20 fire season there were 41 ignitions (primarily as a result of lightning) across the World Heritage site. 20 of those remote ignitions were successfully contained by NPWS Remote Aerial Response Teams (RART) to an average fire size of less than 1.2 ha. This action contributed significantly to reducing the impact of the larger fires (IUCN Consultation, 2020c).
Many species that are attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value of the site were impacted by the fires (State Party of Australia, 2020). An evaluation of species impacts will draw together information on the status of species prior to the fires, the degree to which their range is within the fire extent and past fire impacts and traits which provide insights into the vulnerability of each species to fire. These traits will also help to identify actions which are required to support the recovery of each priority species. Actions have commenced to reduce the impacts from introduced carnivores and herbivores and weeds on fire-affected native plants and animals. The NSW Government is developing and implementing targeted ongoing monitoring programs to assess impacts and monitor recovery of species. Main ongoing threats relate to the impact of altered or inappropriate fire regimes on the ecological, biological and evolutionary processes within the eucalypt-dominated ecosystems (e.g. Barker and Price 2018), and the impact of inappropriate fire regimes on the quality of habitats for in-situ conservation of the biological diversity of primitive species with Gondwanan affinities and of rare or threatened plants and animals.
The Final Report of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry has been released (https://www.nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/projects-and-initiatives/nsw-bushfire-inquiry) with all 76 recommendations supported by the NSW Government Outcomes from the state inquiry, will help  inform the NSW Government response in terms of future fire management approaches. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements report was released to the Australian Governor-General on 28 October 2020 (https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/).
Water Pollution
(Discharge of polluted water from collieries into rivers)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
The Wollangambe, Wolgan and Colo Rivers are affected by polluted water from collieries. The Colo (and its major tributaries that include the Wolgan and Wollangambe, see DECCW, 2008) is a dedicated Wild River (Benson et al., 2012; Hansen, 2010). In July 2015, coal fines from the Clarence Colliery collapsed into the Wollangambe River, resulting in pollution within the World Heritage site. The mining company was prosecuted and required to pay an environmental compensation, in addition to covering clean-up works. The State Party investigated the incident and remediation works, and concluded that there have been no long-term impacts on the OUV of the site (State Party Report, 2019; UNESCO, 2019). More recent research (Wright et al., 2017) reports that pollution from the mine extends at least 22 km downstream in the Wollangambe from the outflow of coal mine wastes. The resulting water pollution is causing major impairment of the aquatic ecosystem, with reduced abundance, taxonomic richness and loss of pollution-sensitive macroinvertebrate groups. Water pollution from the mine includes thermal pollution, increased salinity, and increased concentrations of a wide range of heavy metals that appear to have been mobilised into riparian vegetation (Wright et al. 2017; Belmer and Wright, 2018). Further assessment of the implications of heavy metal mobilisation to the terrestrial environment from waterways is recommended because if heavy metal contaminants are leaving the water column of their receiving waterways and mobilising to the terrestrial environment, serious long-term legacy pollutant impacts may persist (Belmer and Wright, 2018). There has also been serious ongoing heavy metal pollution (zinc and nickel) from Canyon Colliery that flows into the Grose river in the WHA (see Wright, 2020).
Oil/ Gas exploration/development, Mining/ Quarrying
(Subsidence and dropping of water levels)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Subsidence from long wall coal mining close to the boundary of the GBMA threatens cliff collapse, water pollution, lowering of water tables, desiccation of peat swamps and the loss of surface water (Independent Expert Panel for Mining in the Catchment, 2019). The Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (THPSS) are a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) (New South Wales Scientific Committee 2007; New South Wales Government Office of the Environment and Heritage, 2014; Commonwealth of Australia, 2014) and their water retention and ecological function (including providing base flow to downstream catchments) is shown to be impacted by mining, along with impacts of climate change and extreme fire (Cowley et al. 2019). In the THPSS swamps studies by Cowley et al. (2019) 70% of the water in the 4 of 5 swamps came from the surrounding bedrock aquifer, indicating the major impact subsidence can cause by removing water. The high floristic diversity of the swamps has been previously underestimated (Tierney et al. 2018). The threats are greatest in the Gardens of Stone area on the Newnes Plateau (containing many upland swamps that are listed as threatened under the EPBC Act, with fauna including two threatened species, the Blue Mountains Water Skink and the Giant Dragonfly; flows in the Wolgan River that runs through the GBMA may also be affected) (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2013; Goldrey et al., 2010). The 2020 Centennial Angus Place Extension Report (ERM 2020) notes that "development of fractures within the sandstone bedrock underling watercourses across the Study Area caused by mining subsidence could significantly increase local hydraulic conductivity. This can significantly reduce, or in some cases effectively eliminate baseflow. This loss of flow can lead to the progressive drying of downstream swamps which can result in a range of impacts including loss of wetland plant species, drying and desiccation of the swamp peat, increased potential for incision, and erosion of the swamp surface during high flow events".
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Spread of pests)
High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Control measures for invasive species are outlined in national park management plans, which are implemented in cooperation with neighbours. Invasive fauna include foxes, cats, carp, deer, dogs, goats, horses, pigs, rabbits, and cattle. The greatest threat is from introduced predators (foxes and cats) (Pascoe, 2011; Pascoe et al., 2011). Fire-affected landscapes leave native animals more exposed to predation by feral cats, dogs and foxes. Native animals are competing for scarce food with feral deer, pigs and goats. After the 2019/20 fires, feral animal control is underway to protect native animals while their habitat recovers. Invasive plants are well adapted to colonise burnt areas and may become more prevalent and out-compete native species. Targeted post-fire weed control to support the recovery of native flora is being planned and implemented (IUCN Consultation, 2020c).
Tourism/ Recreation Areas
(Tourism and visitor management)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Visitation is managed to minimise impact while supporting the visitor experience and appreciation of values. Tourism development due to increasing visitor pressure and infrastructure is discussed in the GBMA strategic plan. The development of the Emirates Resort inside the Wollemi National Park was negotiated as a land swap of previously disturbed farmland within the park for high conservation freehold land. The process has been stalled because the land swap is subject to negotiating an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and this has not been finalised. The section of the Resort on park is subject to a 21-year lease to allow the land swap to be resolved.
Housing/ Urban Areas
(Urban run-off impacting threatened upland peat swamps)
High Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Temperate highland peat swamps on sandstone (THPSS) are unique state and federally protected ecological communities comprising multiple swamp communities (Blue Mountains Swamps and Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamps) (New South Wales Scientific Committee, 2007; Hensen, 2010; New South Wales Government Office of the Environment and Heritage, 2014; Commonwealth of Australia, 2014). These habitats provide the function of carbon sinks, refuge for unique, often endemically isolated biodiversity and act as safeguards for water quality and unremitting flow regimes (Keith et al., 2014). Urban runoff within THPSS catchments is affecting the condition of their aquatic ecosystems (Belmer et al., 2018). However, at the scale of the World Heritage site, this threat is rather localized.
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration, Droughts, Temperature extremes, Storms/Flooding
(Climate change)
Very High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Habitat die-off and uncontrollable wildfire is predicted to continue, in response to climate change and associated drought and extreme weather (Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, 2006; IUCN Consultation, 2017). Torrential flooding exacerbated the impacts of the recent fires had a significant impact on infrastructure of the GBMA. There is concern that climate change could result in increased incidences of flora and fauna disease outbreaks including zoonoses (Bender et al., 2018). Climate change is already impacting on Threatened Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (THPSS) placing them under greater stress (Hensen, 2010). Climate change and associated drought and fire may impact on rainforest and wet schlerophyll communities also (Hamill and Tasker, 2010). Canopy dieback has been observed in the Greater Blue Mountains Area in 2019 (IUCN Consultation, 2020b).
Diseases/pathogens
(Emergence of disease in vulnerable ecosystems)
High Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Degradation of habitat compromises the health of wildlife, and the recent bushfires and extreme weather patterns increase the risk of diseases in wildlife populations that have their habitats and natural movement patterns disrupted (Bender et al., 2018). A number of diseases have been recorded in several species in the World Heritage site. Chlamydia has been confirmed in Eastern Rosella and King Parrots from multiple submissions from the Blue Mountains area (Australian Registry of Wildlife Health). Other diseases present include chytridiomycosis in frogs (Scheele et al., 2019; NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee). Increased incidence of plant pathogens, Phytophthora cinnamomi and myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) are also likely. The root rot pathogen Phythophthora cinnamomi causes vegetation dieback and may become more widespread due to climate change and habitat that is less resilient. It is spread by human activities (including on boots, bikes and vehicles) and moves from ridge tops down slopes and water courses (Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, 2012; National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2012; Newby, 2014). A general survey of Wollemi National Park for Phytopthora cinnamomi found the pathogen was present in samples collected over extensive areas (McDougall and Summerell, 2003; Daniel et al., 2006; DEC, 2006). The disease in its east coast manifestation has a selective impact removing susceptible species so altering the makeup of the ecosystem.
High Threat
Potential threats arise from developments on adjacent lands to the west and east of the site. These include raising of the Warragamba dam wall (with consequent periodic flooding of up to 550ha of the GBMA), mining (impacting groundwater and ecosystems), and airport development (impacting aesthetic values of the GBMA). 
Dams/ Water Management or Use
(Raising of Warragamba Dam causing flooding and siltation)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
The proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall by 17 meters is to mitigate flood impacts on the Hawkesbury/Nepean floodplain by increasing the capacity of the dam to temporarily hold water during flood events. Raising the dam wall will increase the frequency, duration, depth and extent of temporary inundation upstream of the dam wall including parts of the GBMA. It is likely to impact biodiversity, aesthetic, wilderness, geodiversity and Indigenous cultural values. Preliminary modelling indicates there would be a temporary increase in area inundated in the GBMA of 0.04 - 0.05% (State Party of Australia, 2019). This equates to an area of 400 - 550 hectares for a 1 in 100 year flood and the maximum flood respectively. More detailed analysis of the area likely to be subject to temporary inundation will be presented in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) currently being prepared by the dam’s proponent. The proposal is being assessed for its potential impacts on the OUV of the World Heritage site under a bilateral agreement between the Australian and NSW Government based on the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1974 and the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) (State Party of Australia, 2020). The proposal has been determined a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Referral no. 2017/7940). Environmental field surveys have been carried over the past two years to inform the proposed project’s EIS. However, aboriginal leaders from the Blue Mountains whose land would be impacted have consistently opposed the project, saying they have not been adequately consulted for the project to proceed (Guardian, 2019). A draft Aboriginal Cultural Assessment, which had been carried out, has been criticised by archaeologists as inadequate (Scarp, 2019). The World Heritage Committee has requested that the State Party ensure that all potential impacts on the OUV of the site are assessed in detail by the EIS, which will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, prior to taking any final decisions regarding the project (World Heritage Committee, 2019; UNESCO, 2019).
Housing/ Urban Areas
(Urban spread)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
A new Growth Plan for the Sydney Metropolitan Area (Department of Planning and Infrastructure, 2013) could result in denser development in the urban corridor adjacent to the GBMA, increasing the impervious surfaces, stormwater run-off and water and air pollution. This has the potential to increase pressure for hazard reduction to manage fire risk to new developments.
Flight Paths
(Proposed Western Sydney Airport)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Since the Retrospective Statement of OUV was approved by the World Heritage Committee in 2013, which noted that plans for a second Sydney airport had been abandoned, the Australian Government has decided to proceed with construction of the Western Sydney Airport. The airport will be located about eight kilometres east of the Greater Blue Mountains Area. More than 40 strict environmental conditions have been placed on the development of the airport, addressing biodiversity, noise and heritage. These conditions are included in the Airport Plan (https://www.westernsydneyairport.gov.au/about/airport-plan). The UNESCO World Heritage Centre issued a statement on the GBMA on 7 June 2017 (http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1670/). The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) concluded that construction of the proposed airport was unlikely to have a significant impact on the listed values of the Greater Blue Mountains Area, but that there may be some noise impacts on amenity within the GBMA. The airspace and flight path design will be the subject of a separate referral under the EPBC Act, which is expected to be released for public comment in 2021 (State Party of Australia, 2019). Detailed assessment was undertaken of possible indirect impacts from aircraft overflights, including consideration of a number of tourism and wilderness areas within the GBMA. This assessment included noise, air quality, visual impacts and the potential for dumping of fuel (https://www.westernsydneyairport.gov.au/media-resources/resources/environmental-assessment).
The State Party of Australia confirmed that it will submit to the World Heritage Centre a copy of the EIS for the anticipated airspace and flight path operations, once available, for review by IUCN (UNESCO, 2019).
Oil/ Gas exploration/development, Mining/ Quarrying
(Coal mining adjacent to the site)
High Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
The Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has been engaged to work with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to undertake a cumulative assessment of the impact of mining in the vicinity of the Greater Blue Mountains Area. The results of this assessment will feed into the State of Conservation Report on the Greater Blue Mountains due to the World Heritage Centre in December 2020 (State of Conservation report, April 2020). The State Party of Australia report (2019) provided an update to the World Heritage Committee on the status of mining operations beside the GBMA. In response, the Committee requested the State Party to undertake an assessment of potential cumulative impacts of all existing and planned mining projects in the vicinity of the property through a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or a similar mechanism (UNESCO, 2019). Since the report was completed, the Bylong coal mine on the north-western boundary of the GBMA has been refused development consent on the basis of long-lasting environmental, agricultural and heritage impacts (https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/projects/2018/10/bylong-coal-project). Centennial Coal has placed on public exhibition (March 2020) a revised plan for a 33-year extension to the Angus Place mine on the western boundary of the Gardens of Stone National Park in the GBMA (see map 2, (Map 2, State Party Report, 2019). The underground mining proposal seeks to draw water from Newnes Plateau to the new Springvale Water Treatment Plant that will service the water needs of the Mt Piper Power Station (Angus Place Mine Extension Report, December 2019; https://www.colongwilderness.org.au) that is outside the catchment of Newnes plateau that feeds streams inside the World Heritage site. Potential impacts include cliff collapse, water pollution, lowering of water tables, desiccation of listed endangered swamps (under the EPBC Act) and loss of surface water and stream flow to the Wolgan and Wollangambe rivers (part of the Colo Wild River) that is likely to affect aquatic communities in the World Heritage site. It was reported by the Commonwealth (April 2019) that the project was still undergoing assessment under the EPBC Act. As noted in regard to current coal mines in existing threats, these have caused water pollution, including coal fines from a collapsed tailings dam at Clarence Colliery and heavy metal pollution long after the Canyon Colliery was closed that drains to the Grose river in the World Heritage site (Wright, 2020).  
The 2019-2020 bushfires portend a changing climate and the need for some fundamental changes in landscape policy and management in Australia and for the GBMA. Mitigation of impacts of land uses adjacent to the site are important to protect the Outstanding Universal Values of the site. Strategic management will be essential to build resilience of the site's ecosystems to climate change. Appropriate fire regimes, particularly cool burns, are a key part of this, with resurgence of undergrowth in the wake of the fires to avoid further unmanageable hot fires. Recovery from the 2019/20 fires will need to continue being undertaken with a view to building ecosystem resilience in the face of continued drought and catastrophic fire conditions.
Management system
Mostly Effective
The World Heritage site consists of seven adjacent national parks and a single karst conservation reserve (World Heritage Committee, 2013). There are management plans for each of the eight protected areas in the Greater Blue Mountains Area (Blue Mountains National Park Plan of Management, 2001; Kanangra-Boyd National Park Plan of Management, 2001; Wollemi National Park Plan of Management, 2001; Nattai National Park Plan of Management 2001; Gardens of Stone National Park Plan of Management, 2009; Thirlmere Lakes National Park Plan of Management, 2019; Yengo National Park Plan of Management, 2009; and Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve Plan of Management, 2019). Currently all management plans have been gazetted, and those for three component reserves (Wollemi, Blue Mountains, and Kanangra-Boyd National Parks, which constitute 80% of the property) are under revision for greater emphasis on the protection of identified values.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Strategic Plan (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009) directs the coordination of planning and management of an area of 1,032,649 hectares in eight protected areas. It is a good example of local (12 Local Government Areas), New South Wales and Australian government cooperation.
A revised Strategic Plan is in the early stages of development. When agreed to by both the Australian and New South Wales governments it will replace the Strategic Plan (State Party of Australia, 2019). This new integrated management instrument needs to ensure that potential threats to the property from activities outside its boundaries, particularly mining, are fully considered in the development of this management framework, with a specific section focusing on the potential impact of the project(s) on the site’s Outstanding Universal Value (UNESCO, 2019). The new framework also needs to provide for an integrated adaptive management approach that is based on measurable management objectives so outcomes of management actions can be monitored and adapted as needed (Chapple et al., 2011).
Effectiveness of management system
Mostly Effective
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, the Wilderness Act 1987 and the GBMA Strategic Plan are the main planning tools but the relatively high boundary to area ratio is such that the GBMA is exposed to many threats from outside. This requires more effective planning and management of adjacent areas including enclaves and in particular the lands in the Warragamba Catchment (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009; Department of the Environment, World Heritage and The Arts, n.d.).
Boundaries
Some Concern
The boundary of the  GBMA is extensive and convoluted and includes some major enclaves. Boundary anomalies affecting integrity have been mentioned in the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (World Heritage Committee, 2013). This site does not have a formal Buffer Zone, increasing its vulnerability to edge effects. Since World Heritage listing, over 38,500 hectares of adjacent lands and inholdings have been added to the GBMA, through change in land tenure and management responsibility of some public lands and the purchase of strategically located private lands. The area of gazetted wilderness has increased from over 500,000 hectares at the time of listing to 683,786 hectares. In addition the New South Wales Government has stated its intent to convert about 16,000 hectares of four areas of State Forest adjacent to the Greater Blue Mountains Area to flora reserves (State Party of Australia, 2019). The GBMA Advisory Committee has recommended modification of the World Heritage boundaries to include the additions to the reserves made since 2000 (over 38,500 hectares). The GBMA Advisory Committee also recommend extensive expansion of over 230,000 hectares of significant natural areas adjacent to the GBMA (Benson et al., 2012; Benson and Smith, 2015).
Integration into regional and national planning systems
Mostly Effective
The Strategic Plan for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, 2009 (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009) provides for the integration of management. A revised strategic plan will be available for public consultation in 2020.
Relationships with local people
Mostly Effective
The nomination of the World Heritage area in 1998 was strongly supported by local communities and the Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC). There is an Advisory Committee which includes local representatives, scientists, Aboriginal Traditional Owners and other specialists. The locally-based Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute was formed in 2004 in partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and BMCC. A Strategic Plan (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009) was developed to help coordinate management of the eight protected areas which make up the GBMA, and is under review in 2020. The NPWS works with the local community to foster appreciation and understanding of their role as neighbours of the World Heritage property.
The Dharug, Gundungurra, Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung and Tharawal language groups are acknowledged as the Traditional Owners of the GBMA. An understanding of the cultural context of the GBMA is fundamental to the protection of its integrity. Aboriginal people from these six language groups, through ongoing practices that reflect both traditional and contemporary presence, continue to have a custodial relationship with the area. The NPWS has obligations under the Gundungurra Indigenous Land Use Agreement, which covers some of the World Heritage site, to protect culturally significant sites and places, and to work together with the Gundungurra community to identify and monitor the condition of those sites (IUCN Consultation, 2020c).
Legal framework
Mostly Effective
The site has an adequate legal framework which ensures effective coordination between the Australian, New South Wales and local governments and their agencies. The protected areas within the GBMA are protected by means of the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1999, and the Wilderness Act 1987 (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009). There is no formal buffer zone surrounding the World Heritage site; however, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 provides legal protection for Outstanding Universal Value by regulating actions occurring within or outside the site that have, will have or are likely to have a significant impact on its Outstanding Universal Value.
Law enforcement
Mostly Effective
Law enforcement is carried out by NSW NPWS under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and Wilderness Act 1987. Resources for enforcement are limited.
Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Mostly Effective
A State Party Report on the State of Conservation of the Greater Blue Mountains was submitted in April 2019 and considered by the Word Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in June-July 2019.
Another State Party Report was requested by the WHC in response to the extreme fires from October 2019 to February 2020, and the report was submitted in April 2020.
The State Party is due to respond to the World Heritage Committee’s 2019 request (Decision 43 COM 7B.2) for a State Party Report on the state of conservation of the property by 1 December 2020.
Sustainable use
Mostly Effective
The protection of the GBMA contributes to sustainable land use through protection of diverse biodiversity and geodiversity, protection of wilderness areas, catchment protection and water supply (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009).
Sustainable finance
Mostly Effective
The management of the site is funded by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Australian Government provides funds for an Executive Officer and an Advisory Committee (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Staff capacity, training, and development
Mostly Effective
Staff training is primarily conducted by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009). Rangers and program specialist staff are qualified and highly skilled. Field officers are trained to carry out park management and maintenance. Staff are trained and competent in fire management. NPWS offers ongoing staff training and development.
Education and interpretation programs
Mostly Effective
There are a large number of national and international visitors to the GBMWHA and visitor information centres are located at the major attraction hubs (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009). Key visitor nodes and trail heads provide interpretive material that highlights the importance of the GBMA. The NPWS runs an education program that brings school aged children to the GBMA. Alongside interactive web based apps and the official NPWS website, these programs seek to foster the next generation of natural area custodians. The BMCC runs innovative programs in local schools to educate local residents on the importance of managing water quality and urban runoff to protect the values of the GBMA. The Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute conducts some education programs focusing on the World Heritage site, in partnership with universities. The 'Botanists Way' concept has been developed by the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah, beside the GBMA, to provide a basis for expanded visitor interpretation of science and conservation in and around the GBMA (Benson, 2019). The Australian and New South Wales Government are investing in a project over the next 18 months to provide improved educational and interpretative signage and facilities for visitors and education groups across the GBMA (IUCN Consultation, 2020c).
Tourism and visitation management
Mostly Effective
Information centres are located at the major attraction hubs. The NSW Government is investing over $40 Mil over the next 4 years in improving visitor experiences in the GBMA. This includes major upgrades to key visitor precincts to better manage the visitor volumes now and into the future and renewing the walking track network to make it more resilient to impacts from visitors and natural events (eg fire). Impacts from fires and floods closed many visitor sites within the GBMA. These closures had significant flow on financial impacts to the local communities that rely on tourism. These impacts were compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic (IUCN Consultation, 2020c).
Monitoring
Mostly Effective
The NSW State of the Parks program assesses management effectiveness for the reserves that make up the GBMA.
Since the property was nominated in 1998, 2,500 vegetation monitoring plots have been established by NPWS and reviewed. The overall number of plant community types have increased from 87 to 193, the dry and wet eucalypt forest types have increased from 56 to 154; heath and swamps from 13 to 23 and rainforest types have reduced from 18 to 16 (an artefact of classification rather than the actual loss of rainforests) (Connolly et al, in prep).
However, more comprehensive and ongoing monitoring is needed, within an adaptive management framework with measurable objectives and indicators clearly defined. The 2019/20 fires have promoted plans to increased investment of effort in this.
Research
Mostly Effective
Research is carried out by the Australian and New South Wales government agencies (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009), community groups, universities and other organizations, such as the Blue Mountains Institute. Assessment is continuing into the additional national natural and cultural heritage values of the site and some adjacent lands, Relevant research is documented in the NSW State of the Parks Assessments (https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/sop/). The NSW Government funds a broad ranging applied management and research program called “Saving Our Species” (SoS) program that is aimed at securing threatened plants and animals in NSW from extinction. Thirty SoS projects are being delivered across the Greater Blue Mountains Area including projects to secure the Wollemi pine, koala, brush-tailed rock-wallaby, spotted-tailed quoll, Blue Mountains water skink, giant dragonfly, Megalong bottlebrush, Blue Mountains swamps and shale/basalt cap forests. There is a need for a detailed ongoing inventory of research for the site. NPWS is working to finalise a research and monitoring prospectus to identify research priorities to support the management and protection of the property, including the conservation of World Heritage values. Research effort is increasing in the wake of the 2019/20 fire season.
The World Heritage site benefits from a strong legal framework and has an effective management system in place. Challenges include the need to provide improved protection from threats outside the site boundaries, as well as the increasing impacts of climate change. Further management responses will be required to address some increasing threats, particularly those posed by invasive species and pathogens, and climate change and uncontrollable wildfire.
Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Some Concern
There is some concern about the long boundary and major enclaves, with the high boundary to area ratio leaving the site exposed to threats from outside. Attention is needed to the additional values that would add to the OUV and the integrity of the GBMA. The revised Strategic Plan being developed needs to provide for an integrated adaptive approach that is based on measurable management objectives so outcomes of management actions can be monitored and adapted as needed.
Best practice examples
NSW State of the Parks program
To date, the NSW State of the Parks program is a best practice system for assessing management effectiveness. The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Strategic Plan (National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2009) is an outstanding example of the coordination of planning and management of an area of 1,032,649 hectares in eight protected areas. It is also an example of local (NGOs and 12 Local Government Areas), New South Wales and Australian government cooperation.

Saving our Species
The NSW Government’s Saving our Species program is best practice approach to multi tenure threatened species management. https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/saving-our-species-program

NPWS Rapid Aerial Response Teams
The NPWS remote areas response team (RART) program is used to deliver specialist remote area firefighters rapidly by air to bushfire ignitions (normally lightening) with the aim of containing the fire’s spread, and minimising fire size and the potential for greater impacts. In the five-year period from 2014/15 – 2018/19, RART teams were able to respond quickly and effectively to contain a large number of fires. The effectiveness of RART is a key factor in ensuring that a high proportion of fires that start on-park are contained on-park.
 
World Heritage values

A centre of diversification for the Australian scleromorphic flora

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Dry sclerophyll forest covers 85% of the property and carrries much of the eucalypt diversity (97 species), a key World Heritage attribute (Hager and Benson, 2010). These forests are the flammable matrix that carried the fires across 71% of the site in the 2019/20 fire season (IUCN Consultation, 2020c). As highly fire-adapted, pyrophytic plants, eucalypts are generally resilient to single fire events regardless of intensity. What is ecologically critical is the interval between fire events, the intensity of sequential fire events (e.g. Barker and Price, 2018), and the climatic conditions post fire that help or hinder regeneration. 40 of the eucalypt species have highly restricted distributions, and many are classified as rare or endangered (Laffan et al., 2013). Upland Basalt Eucalypt Forests in the Blue Mountains are listed as a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) and identified by the Australian Government as a high priority for detailed impact assessment in the wake of the 2019/20 fires (State of Conservation, 2020). One species, Paddy’s river box (Eucalyptus MacArthur), has been severely impacted. Assessments are underway to determine the impact in the Blue Gum Forest, on the Camden white gum (Eucalyptus benthamii) populations, as well as other species such as blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna). Mountain ash (Eucalyptus oreades) is also of concern, as unlike other eucalypts, it is killed by fire, and dependant on seedling regeneration for re-establishment (Lembit 2020). Repeat high intensity fires which occur before post fire regrowth can mature to produce large volumes of viable seed would be extremely detrimental to such species.

An outstanding diversity of habitats and plant communities

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Most of the natural bushland of the site remained close to pristine prior to the extreme fires in 2019/20, the impacts of which will be seen over time. The plant communities and habitats occur as an extensive, largely undisturbed matrix almost entirely free of structures, earthworks and other human intervention (World Heritage Committee, 2013), with the exception of the urban transport corridor and several other roads that bisect the WH property. However, the site is threatened by the spread of vertebrate pests and weeds. More than 60 declared noxious weeds are known to occur in the GBMA and many hundreds of environmental weeds of concern have the potential to invade disturbed areas (National Parks and Wildlife Service, New South Wales, 2009).  The critically endangered Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) (Zimmer et al. 2019) comprises a highly localised population of less than 100 adult plants in Wollemi National Park which is part of the Greater Blue Mountains Area (8 http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/245df899-5818-44c1-a1f0-76fb70bb9fc6/files/wollemianobilis.pdf). Since discovery in 1994 their population health and demographics have been monitored. Horticultural understanding of the species has increased to the extent it is commercially widely available. Extensive ground and aerial survey over the years has located only 3 nearby wild populations (all smaller in number of plants). All of the wild populations were impacted by fire during the 2019/20 season, but fire intensity was reduced across the populations by a concerted effort of NPWS fire-fighters. An assessment and monitoring program is underway to better understand fire impacts on the Wollemi pines. A translocation site had been established at Mt Tomah Botanic Garden, beside the GBMA, and had a high success rate (83%), but was impacted by the 2019/20 fires and is under assessment. The establishment of insurance plantings is provided for in the recovery plan for the species. (State Party of Australia, 2019).
The dwarf mountain pine is only found within the spray zone and seepage areas of waterfalls on steep, sandstone cliffs in the upper Blue Mountains. In the 2019/20 fires, one site on the Narrow Neck Plateau was burnt and may not recover. Assessment is underway to determine post-fire recovery.
 

Threatened animal species

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
In the wake of the 2019/20 bushfires, the Australian Government released a list of 113 animal species identified by experts as the highest priorities for urgent management intervention over the weeks and months following the fires. Species on this list that comprise attributes of the OUV of the Greater Blue Mountains Area include: 9 fauna species, 4 avian species, 2 reptile species, 5 frog species, the giant dragonfly and many other invertebrate and fish species. Twelve koalas were rescued from impending fire in the Kanangra‑Boyd National Park in December 2019 (https://scienceforwildlife.org/koalas-saved-ahead-of-bushfire-in-the-blue-mountains/). They were relocated to Taronga Zoo and returned to their habitat in March 2020. Studies have shown the GBMA supports koalas that have the highest level of genetic diversity recorded, and the population in Kanangra-Boyd National Park is one of only two populations in NSW that are free of chlamydial disease (http://scienceforwildlife.org/blue-mountains-koalas-are-the-most-genetically-diverse-population-recorded/).
There is an increasing research base on GBMA fauna (those not cited elsewhere in this assessment include Pascoe, 2011; Dalziel and Welbergen, 2016; Pascoe et al., 2019; Harvey, 2020). The GBMA maintains pure-bred dingoes and recent research supports their key role in maintaining ecosystems (Pascoe, 2011; Hunter, 2018).
The number of species of native terrestrial vertebrate fauna recorded for the GBMA has increased from about 400 at the time of nomination to 423 (Smith and Smith, 2019). Numbers of recorded mammal species have increased from 52 to 66, reptile species from 63 to 71 and frog species from 30 to 35. Recorded bird species have declined from 265 to 251, for unknown reasons. At least five species of frog have declined in population recently, believed to be partly due to the epidemic of chytrid fungus (https://bmnature.info/fauna-gbmwha.shtml; Scheele et al., 2019). Since World Heritage listing, population numbers of the Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) have decreased significantly at lower altitudes, possibly due to the effects of climate change (increased temperature) (Smith and Smith 2018).
Assessment of the current state and trend of World Heritage values
High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Seventy-one percent of the site was affected by fires that burned at greatly varying intensities for more than 3 months from end October 2019 to early February 2020. Many species that are attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value of the site were impacted by the fires; however, the impacts are still being assessed. Most of the natural plant communities and habitats of the site remained close to pristine prior to the fires of 2019/20, and recovery from the impacts of the fires needs to be closely monitored. Biological responses to extreme events are difficult to predict and generalize across taxa (Harris et al., 2018). The magnitude of projected increase in temperature in Australia over a 75-year period is likely beyond the adaptive capacity of most vertebrates (Reside et al., 2013). Appropriate fire regimes and responsive management will be crucial for recovery and to build ecosystems that are more resilient to climate change.
Assessment of the current state and trend of other important biodiversity values
High Concern
Trend
Data Deficient
The threatened Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone are identified by the Australian Government as a high priority for detailed impact assessment in the wake of the 2012/20 fires (State Party of Australia, 2020). >50% of the estimated distribution of these swamps is within fire-affected areas.
 

Additional information

Flood prevention,
Water provision (importance for water quantity and quality),
Pollination
The site provides major ecosystem services to Sydney region by water flow and quality, cleaning air, providing pollinators, regulating floods and drought flow of water to rivers, stopping river sedimentation, etc.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - High
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Invasive species
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Continuing
Coal mining on adjacent land continues to represent a moderate threat that could increase in future.
Carbon sequestration,
Water provision (importance for water quantity and quality),
Pollination
The site protects the catchment for Australia’s largest city, Sydney. Joint management arrangements are in place between the NPWS and catchment management authorities.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Invasive species
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Drought is impacting the provision of water for habitats.
Outdoor recreation and tourism
Highly attractive natural scenery and extensive wilderness areas – close proximity to Sydney (5 million people)
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Increasing
Importance for research
Valuable for explanation of natural processes in evolution of landscapes
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - High
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Importance for research,
Contribution to education
Valuable for building knowledge. Close to several Universities - courses include field trips in the GBMA to learn about conservation.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
History and tradition,
Wilderness and iconic features,
Sacred natural sites or landscapes,
Sacred or symbolic plants or animals,
Cultural identity and sense of belonging
Importance for local Aboriginal communities. Sprititual value for people in general to connect with wild nature.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Very High
Trend - Increasing
Extreme fires with climate change are impacting the cultural values.
The GBMA contains over one million hectares with key benefits on a local, regional and global level of nature conservation with exceptional representation of Eucalyptus-dominated sclerophyll ecosystems and biodiversity; recreation for the highly attractive natural scenery and extensive wilderness areas and close proximity to Sydney (over 4.5 million people); education for the explanation of natural processes in evolution of landscapes and scientific research for building knowledge.

On a regional level the site provides major ecosystem services to the Sydney region through water flow and quality, clean air, pollination, regulating floods and drought flow of water to rivers, stopping river sedimentation, etc; and watershed protection as the site protects the drinking water catchment for Australia’s largest city, Sydney.

The site is not listed for cultural associations although does have strong cultural and spiritual connection for the six Aboriginal Language groups of the area. There is one formal Indigenous Land Use Agreement for part of site, with the Gundungurra. The site contains, or is closely associated with a number of declared (under NSW legislation) Aboriginal places: the Three Sisters, The Gully, Kings Tableland, Red Hands Cave, Euroka, Mt Yengo, Shaws Creek, Appletree, Blackfellows Hand Cave, Baiame Cave and Emu Cave.
Organization Brief description of Active Projects Website
1 GBMA Management Committee Oversight of management and strategic plan
www.environment.nsw.gov.au
2 NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Development of appropriate planning and management standards for GBMA enclaves and buffer areas
www.planning.nsw.gov.au
3 GBMA Advisory Committee Review of GBMA Strategic Plan and assessment of additional national heritage values
4 Blue Mountains Conservation Society Community outreach re OUV of GBMA; advocacy for protection of the values
https://www.bluemountains.org.au/
5 NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Extensive number of conservation projects across the eight reserves of the GBMA and in collaboration with neighbours across extensive buffer areas. Includes a number of NSW Government Saving Our Species projects.
www.environment.nsw.gov.au
6 Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ongoing advocacy for the protection of the GBMA. Active campaign in 2019/20 to oppose the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall.
https://www.colongwilderness.org.au/ https://www.giveadam.org.au/
7 Blue Mountains City Council Range of measures to control impacts on the GBMA (especially stormwater management) as well as community engagement in relation to the OUV.
https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/
8 Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute Research into ecosystems and threats, to inform policy and management. Research into historical and social aspects. Community engagement especially in relation to bushfire threat and place attachment (Ratnam et al, 2016; Chapple et al., 2017).
www.bmwhi.org &nbsp;
9 Blue Mountains Branch Regional Advisory Committee (NPWS) Statutory role providing advice on park operations and GBMA plans of management

References

References
1
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2
BMWHI short course report. (2018). Adaptive management training for protected areas. Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute in partnership with the World Heritage Leadership Program (IUCN & ICCROM) and the Protected Areas Learning & Research Collaboration.  https://bit.ly/2y8Pst Accessed 15 May 2020.
3
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4
Barker, J. W., and O. F. Price (2018) Positive severity feedback between consecutive fires in dry eucalypt forests of southern Australia. Ecosphere 9(3):e02110. 10.1002/ecs2.2110
5
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6
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7
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11
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12
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13
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14
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15
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16
Chapple, R.S., Blignault, I. and Fitzgerald, A. (2017) Communicating bushfire risk in the Blue Mountains of Australia: A case study of the ‘Fire Stories’ film. Aust. J. Emergency Mgmt. 32 (3): 58-66. https://ajem.infoservices.com.au/items/AJEM-32-03-22
17
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18
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19
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20
Connolly D, Turner K, Binns D, Hager T, Lyons M and Magarey E (in preparation 2019) Revisions to a large multi-region vegetation classification typology in Eastern NSW.
21
Cowley, CL, Fryirs, KA, Chisari, R, Hose, GC. (2019) Water Sources of Upland Swamps in Eastern Australia: Implications for System Integrity with Aquifer Interference and a Changing Climate. Water 2019, 11, 102; doi:10.3390/w11010102
22
DECCW (2008) Colo River, Wollemi and Blue Mountains National Parks
23
Department of Environment and Conservation, New South Wales, NPWS (2004) Fire Management Strategy Wollemi National Park.
24
Department of Planning Industry and Environment. (2020). Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery - Immediate Response January 2020. New South Wales Government. https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/parks-reserves-an…
25
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (2013) EPBC Referral Notice Angus Place Mine Extension Project.
26
Dickman, C, Driscoll, D, Garnett, S, Keith, D, Legge, S, Lindenmayer, D, Maron, M, Reside, A, Ritchie, E, Watson, J, Wintle, B, Woinarski J. (2020) After the catastrophe: a blueprint for a conservation response to large-scale ecological disaster, Threatened Species Recovery Hub, January 2020. http://www.nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au/_images/Projects/Af…
27
ERM 2020 Amendment Report Angus Place Extension Project, Chapter 7 Evolution and Understanding of Swamp Impacts, chapter 8 Water Impact and Assessment.
28
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,  ​​​​​referral 2017/7940 Warragamba Dam raising (Water NSW)
http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/publicnoticesreferral…
29
Fryirs, K., Freidman, B., & Kohlhagen, T. (2012). The formation and geomorphic condition of upland swamps in the Blue Mountains: rehabilitation potential of these endangered ecosystems. In Grove J.R and Rutherford. Proceedings of the 6th Australian Stream Management Conference. Managing for extremes. 6–8 February, 2012. Canberra, Australia. Published by the River Basin Management Society. pp 1–8.
30
Fryirs, K., Freidman, B., Williams, R., & Jacobsen, G. (2014). Peatlands in eastern Australia? Sedimentology and age structure of temperate highland peat swamps on sandstone (THPSS) in the Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains, Australia. The Holocene pp 1–12.
31
Goldrey, D., Mactaggart, B., and Merrick, N. (2010) Determining whether or not significant impact has occurred in Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone Within the Angus Place Colliery Base on Newnes Plateau.
32
Guardian (2019) 'So much that will be lost': concerns grow over plan to raise Warragamba dam wall. The Guardian, 2 July 2019. See: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/02/so-m….
33
Gundungurra Area Agreement 2015, Indigenous Land Use Agreement , NI2014/001, Native Title Tribunal 2015
34
Hager T. & Benson D. (2010) The Eucalypts of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area: distribution, classification and habitats of the species of Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia (family Myrtaceae) recorded in its eight conservation reserves. Cunninghamia 10: 425-444.
35
Hamill, K. and Tasker, L. (2010) Vegetation, fire and climate change in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.
36
Hammill, K., and Tasker, L. (2010) Vegetation, Fire and Climate Change in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Department of Climate Change and Water, National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW.
37
Harris, R.M.B., Beaumont,L.J., Vance, T.R. et al. (2018). Biological responses to the press and pulse of climate trends and extreme events. Nature Climate Change 8: 579–587.
38
Harvey, A.M. (2019). A Quest to Research the Welfare and Social Dynamics of Wild Australian Brumbies. Horses and People Magazine, September-October 2019. https://horsesandpeople.com.au/research-into-the-welfare-of… Accessed 17 May, 2020.
39
Harvey, A.M. (2020). Ecology and welfare of wild horses in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (working title). PhD thesis (in progress). University of Technology Sydney. https://www.bmwhi.org/wild-horses Accessed 17 May, 2020.
40
Harvey, A.M., Beausoleil, N., Ramp, D. and Mellor, D. (2020). A ten-stage protocol for assessing the welfare of individual free‑roaming wild animals: Wild horses (Equus ferus caballus) as an example. Animals 2020, 10(1), 148. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/1/148
41
Harvey, A.M., Meggiolaro, M.N., Hallb, E., Watts, E.T., Ramp, D., Šlapeta, J. (2019). Wild horse populations in south-east Australia have a high prevalence of Strongylus vulgaris and may act as a reservoir of infection for domestic horses. IJP: Parasites & Wildlife 8: 156-163.
42
Hensen, M. (2010) Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamp: Aerial Condition Assessment Project. Blue Mountains City Council 'Save our Swamps' program.
43
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