Littoral rainforest vegetation is diverse and there are about 100 tree and shrub species can be found in Manning littoral rainforests. The species present depends on the soil (whether derives from beach sands or headland rocks), shelter, disturbance and so on. For example, the headland clays at Red Head and Black Head support a different suite of species to the more recent Holocene sands of Harrington to Crowdy and Manning Point to Farquhar park. In general, littoral rainforest communities possess few epiphytes and ferns. The headland communities at Red Head are dominated by Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) and Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina). These species are more commonly associated with waterways and the moist forest of the hinterland and ranges. At Red head they provide dense canopy cover in a very salt-exposed location.
Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) is a common dominant species. In many cases, Coastal Banksia (Banksia integrifolia) (not normally associated with rainforest) occurs as an emergent above the littoral rainforest. More typical rainforest vegetation can develop under the shelter of the Banksia and over time the Banksias die out (unless there is, for example, a fire event, in which case the Banksias respond better after the fire and the cycle begins again).
Thus, while typical rainforest species with moist, evergreen, leathery leaves dominate littoral rainforest, scattered individuals of hard-leaved or sclerophyllous plants such as, Coastal Banksia, Smooth-barked Apple, Bangalay and Forest Red Gum may also be present.
Plum Pine (Podocarpos elatus) is another common species and is dominant at Manning Point – its fruits commonly litter the ground in autumn and winter.
You may notice that several rainforest species have a common name which includes ‘Brush’ – this was the nineteenth century term for rainforest. ‘Brush’ Turkeys inhabit rainforest.
A number of species are shared by most of the littoral rainforest remnants in the Manning, but each strand is unique in terms of the particular plant species found.
Weeds species found
2. Crowdy Head
Littoral rainforest once covered much of Crowdy Headland but it now is confined to a couple of small patches, none of which are listed under SEPP 26 (possibly because Crowdy Head was not shown on the aerial photographs used for the mapping). Some 46 species of native trees and shrubs have been recorded here. Since Crowdy Head is an outcrop of Carboniferous lithic sandstone, siltstone, tuff, shale and limestone, the species found are a little different to those found on deep sands behind beaches.
None of the remnants are easy to access and they are weed invested, particularly on the margins. In the exposed areas to the south, the canopy is less than 1.5m high. The dominant species in the southern section are Lilly Pilly, Coogara, Tuckeroo and Cheese Tree. In the more northern gully area surrounded by housing, the littoral rainforest is also degraded but more protected, so the canopy is taller and Coastal Banksias emerge above the canopy. This more northern section of littoral rainforest suffers from mowing and other degradation because of the surrounding residential area but the potential exists in both remnants for replanting and regeneration.
Of note is Rose Satinash which is only recorded on this one site of the Manning littoral rainforests. The Yellow Pear-fruit, Hard Corkwood and Brush Cherry are also of interest since they have to date only been found in the Manning littoral rainforests at Crowdy Head and at Harrington. Four species of Fig are found. It is not clear whether the Bangalow Palms found here are naturally occurring or planted. Native vines include Lawyer Vine (Smilax australis), White Supplejack (Ripogonum album) and Water Vine (Cissus hypoglauca).
Prior to sand-mining for Rutile in the early 1970s, there was a virtually continuous strip of Tuckeroo dominant littoral rainforest from Crowdy Head to Harrington. A few remnants remain but the most southerly one, just north of the caravan park, is in excellent condition and is easily accessed via the walking track which links the road with the lagoon. This area of Crown land was reserved for graves and hence was saved from the sand-mining. Check out our resources page for more info on walks and plant species!
This is the best example of littoral rainforest on the northern Manning coast. Some 67 species of trees and shrubs have been found there as well as numerous other species. Coastal Banksia emerge from the canopy which is dominated by Tuckeroo and Small-leaved Fig. Other common canopy trees are Hard Corkwood, Silver Basswood or Celery Wood, Brush Bloodwood, Deciduous Fig, Strangler Fig and Sandpaper Fig. Small trees common in the understory are Cheese Tree, Plum Pine, Brush Kurrajong and Black Apple. Of note is the occurrence of the Blush Walnut (Beilschmiedia obtusifolia) which has been found here and is the known southern limit of this species. Vines such as Smilax and White Supplejack are common.
Restoration activities by Manning Coastcare Group over the last 20 years have resulted in good canopy development and recruitment of replacement canopy through regeneration of seedlings. This site is particularly vulnerable to weed invasion and disturbance because of its proximity to the township.
Very small patches of regenerating rainforest, which have been fenced off in the picnic ground, give an indication of the vegetation that would once have covered the whole area. These isolated clusters of trees within a mown grass understorey do not allow the area to regenerate. However the resulting regrowth of native vegetation from seed and rootstock in these protected areas is very encouraging. While the needs of visitors need to be met, additional fenced areas are required to allow regeneration and replacement tree cover to develop. The installation by Council in about 2002 of this fencing and bollards to limit mowing was an initiative of Manning Coastcare as part of ‘Shade for our Future’.
The sand spit forming the narrow finger to the north, into the mouth of the Manning River, is vulnerable to impacts from coastal erosion and flooding processes. Beach erosion since 2012 has impacted severely on all vegetation on the seaward side of the spit with at least 10-20 metres being eroded in the 5 years from 2012 to 2017. The rainforest which was limited to a narrow band in the lee of the high beach dune is now suffering significant erosion and exposure to salt spray, making the littoral rainforest here very vulnerable and reduced in extent.
There are no formalised walking tracks through this rainforest. Walking access to the spit is by the beach from the 4-wheel drive access point. The walking route along the sandy shore of the river mouth is dependent on the tides.
5. Farquhar Inlet
There is no road access to Farquhar Inlet and the 4WD vehicular access along the beach is often closed. Thus, the littoral rainforest at Farquhar Inlet is often only accessible by boat at high tide. Care should be taken that you are not stranded. There is a camping area at Farquhar Park which is managed by nSW Department of Industry – Lands
Some 31 species of trees and shrubs have been identified here.
There is a very narrow strip of SEPP 26 littoral rainforest between the beach and the camping area in the National Park. Isolated trees in the recreation area and along Khappinghat estuary are a reminder of the original much larger rainforest area which existed prior to the 1970s when the camping area was cleared. What is left is very degraded and the canopy is open. The section of SEPP 26 littoral rainforest further up Khappinghat Creek is more difficult to access and therefore less degraded. Manning Coastcare Group was involved in the early 2000s in protecting small areas of vegetation in the popular picnic area so the rainforest canopy was not completely lost.
Some 39 rainforest tree and shrub species have been recorded here. The better developed core areas of littoral rainforest are dominated by Lilly Pilly, Red Olive Berry, Brush Muttonwood and Native Guava. On the edges, littoral rainforest has developed in association with Coastal Banksia, Swamp Oak and Broad-leaved Paperbark. Some sections of the canopy are formed exclusively by Lilly Pilly, Broad-leaved Paperbark, Red Olive Berry, or Brush Muttonwood. The species Goodia lotifolia (Golden-tip) has to date only been identified in this littoral rainforest in the Manning.
8. Diamond Beach and Red Head
The littoral rainforest on Red Head headland and behind Diamond Beach and Red Head Beach is floristically diverse with at least 61 species of rainforest trees and shrubs having been recorded. Abundant species found include Common Acronychia, Large Mock-olive, Black Apple, Flintwood, Veiny Wilkiea, Forest Maple and Brushbox.
Unlike the sandy hind-dunes, the rainforest on the headland has developed on Upper Devonian – Lower Carboniferous mudstones and tuffs.
Most of the remnant is subtropical rainforest but there is also a patch of dry rainforest which has species such as Native holly, Brush Caperberry, Silver Croton and two-leaved Tuckeroo.