A new report on the biodiversity values of the Mt Canobolas State Conservation Area (SCA) was released in March 2021. It concludes that significant harm to biodiversity would inevitably result from a large scale mountain biking centre in the SCA.
Mount Canobolas SCA is a uniquely rich biodiversity refuge that is only just beginning to be understood and which deserves the highest level of protection.
Mt Canobolas SCA is a natural laboratory providing many fertile avenues for research and education. It functions as both a refugium for declining species and an evolutionary nursery for new species. At least ten scientific institutions or organisations use the SCA and much remains to be understood – limited formal studies of biota have been undertaken.
Fifteen threatened species occur within the SCA including two locally endemic plant species, six mammals and seven birds. The SCA provides a valuable refuge for existence, feeding, breeding and surviving from habitat losses.
Vegetation on Mt Canobolas resembles that in other high altitude parts of eastern Australia, but many differences set it apart. In all, seven vegetation types occur, including up to three listed as Endangered under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. In addition, there is a unique endangered lichen community on Mt Canobolas that is endemic to the SCA.
All the plant communities on Mt Canobolas differ significantly in their composition from other similar communities and are likely to be recognised as distinct Plant Community Types in the future. This is particularly true of the heathlands.
A most interesting feature of Mt Canobolas biodiversity is the unfolding discovery of many endemic species. At least ten species are found in the wild within the SCA and immediate surrounds, and nowhere else in the world. These species depend entirely on the SCA for their survival.
The isolation of high montane / sub-alpine habitats on Mt Canobolas has captured outliers of numerous species, known from other areas of the State but finding their limits in or around the SCA. Such isolated populations evolve independently and may potentially form new species.