(T) Vegetation.

The land supports excellent natural vegetation apart from some small areas on section2 and Niblet Gap, and along the foot of the range on the western side which have been previously cleared by agricultural activity. Despite a long history of sheep grazing, much of the remnant vegetation is in very good condition especially on the upper slopes.

The vegetation is mostly open scrub comprising the Eucalypts, Peppermint Box E.odorata, Blue Gum E. Leucoxylon and Long Leaved Box, E. gongiocalyx, with Drooping Sheoak, Allocasaurina verticillata, Native pine Callistris preissi and Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis. Good understoreyoccurs throughout much of the bush with a large range of species. Among the more common are wattles, Acacia pycnantha, A. wattsiana, A paradoxa, A. acinacea, Christmas Bush Bursaria spinosa, slaty Sheoak Allocasuarina muelleriana and Yacca Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata

Caladenia dilatata: green spider orchid

The area contains a number of species which have the conservation status of ‘vulnerable’ in the northern Mt Lofty Ranges and others which are rare in the northern Mt Lofty Ranges or statewide. there is significant plant diversity on the land with a wealth of understorey plants including shrubs, forbs, grasses and sedges.

Species of conservation significance include Benigo Wax Flower Philotheca verrucosus and Tothill Pea bush Pultenaea kraehenbuehlii which only have limited distributions in SA (Tothills and Spring Hill near Black Springs only) Finger Flower Cheiranthera alternifolia, Glovehood Sun Orchid Thelymitra leuteocilium and Smooth Solenogyne Solenogyne dominii.

Other species of conservation significance include Narrow lipped Spider Orchid Caladenia leptchilia, Creeping Mint Mentha satureioides and Dwarf Hakea Hakea rugosa

Vegetation map Tothill Range

Land Degradation:

The only significant areas of land degradation are the result of past grazing pressure. Long term grazing has resulted in localised, severe pruning of some understorey species and destruction of others in some areas. The areas most heavily affected in this way are the lower slopes of each block where vegetation was severely pruned over many years causing the destruction of many individuals of understorey species and a lack of regeneration.

the extent of damage to vegetation varies according to how grazing was previously managed on each block . For example damage is more severe in the vicinity of watering points. The Niblet Gap block has the most extensive and severely denuded areas, as sheep were able to gain easy access to the top of the ridge via the relatively gentle slopes on its eastern side. Removal of stock from all the blocks has already allowed substantial regeneration and revegetation to occur. The process started with the exceptional rainfall in the summer-autumn of 1992-93.

Small areas were also previously cleared for agriculture, for example on the flat near the ruin on the Webb Gap block and on the lowest slopes on the western side of the range. These have been successfully revegetated using direct seeding techniques with seed from local species and by allowing natural revegetation to occur. JS along with several other members was instrumental in the collection of seed and in the direct seeding process.

Tothills vegetation near Bennetts Rd.