Conservation Values of TSRs
The Northern Tablelands LLS region was cleared extensively of its original woodland, forest and grassland vegetation to allow for the establishment of agricultural production. TSRs were gazetted prior to this clearing; therefore they support important remnants of diverse native vegetation. In many cases these are the best remaining examples of native vegetation in highly cleared landscapes.
In western areas of the Northern Tablelands LLS region, in particular where agriculture is the principal land use, there is a low percentage of the land reserved in National Parks, State Forests or other conservation reserves. TSRs in this landscape support and provide connectivity between significant remnants of native vegetation that is not protected within a reserve network, in particular White Box, Yellow Box and Blakely's Red Gum woodland. This Endangered Ecological Community is listed as threatened under both NSW and Commonwealth legislation.
Many TSRs are likely to provide important connections across the landscape for the movement of animals and plants. They straddle across a range of vegetation types on a wide range of soils and slopes. Their combination of size, connectivity, structural complexity and vegetation supports a diversity of birds, including many that are not found in adjacent agricultural land.
The value of TSRs are testimony to the effectiveness of the former Pasture Protection Boards, Rural Lands Protection Board and LHPA system in managing TSRs for agricultural purposes whilst providing a range of other public benefits. Stock routes today contain wildlife conservation values not originally envisaged.
"The principal reason that the TSRs remain in good condition is the pattern and frequency of grazing used on them. Traditionally TSRs have been grazed intermittently, with long periods of rest between grazing. Although some sites have been grazed very heavily, this has usually been for short periods as travelling stock move through during droughts. This type of grazing pattern has been shown to favour the maintenance of high species diversity and to allow natural regeneration of trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs."
"In highly-cleared landscapes, such as where broad-acre cropping occurs, TSRs take on a conservation value disproportionate to their size. These sites provide refugia for plant and animal species, which are unable to adapt to the altered conditions provided by cropping fields or permanently grazed sites." Dave Carr, 2012 Rapid Assessment of TSRs in Moree Shire (Unpublished)