Location and Values: The Greater Blue Mountains Area is located on the Australian Great Divide in New South Wales, inland from Sydney. The world heritage site covers eight contiguous protected areas dominated by temperate Eucalypt forest on a dissected sandstone tableland. It includes a wide variety of Eucalypt-dominated vegetation types typical of those that has evolved across most of the Australian continent, and ensures the protection of a significant representative area. Many of Australia’s iconic mammals – including koala, echidna and platypus, as well as grey kangaroo, red-necked wallaby, wallaro and wombat – are found in the area. From a biodiversity perspective the site covers a wide variety of habitats – wet and dry sclerophyll forests, mallee heathlands, localized swamps and wetlands as well as grasslands – and its flora includes some unusual ‘relict’ species of Gondwanan origin including the highly restricted endemic Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) and Blue Mountains Pine (Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii). Although it is included in the mountains category of this website, most of the table-land and its modest peaks lie below an elevation of 2,000m.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Greater Blue Mountains Area is ‘good with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that ‘The site has a high value for the protection of natural biological processes and its values remain relatively intact, but improved management of vertebrate pests, fire and the impacts of coal mining and urban development in adjacent areas is required. Most of the current threats are from activities outside the WHA boundary including coal mining. Although these threats are high they are capable of being resolved by better planning and management. However, the large size and extensive perimeter of the site and the existence of major enclaves (inholdings) is creating management difficulties. Achieving a high level of conservation will require even greater levels of cooperation particularly with regard to protection of the GBMWHA on adjacent lands. ’
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description