About the document
An Ecological Character Description describes the ecological character of a wetland at the time of its listing as a Wetland of International Importance. The Ecological Character Description is a fundamental management tool for site managers, forming the basis of management planning and action as well as including guidance on site monitoring requirements to detect changes in the ecological character of the site.
The Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve Ramsar site is located between Armidale and Glen Innes on the New England Tablelands in north-eastern New South Wales (NSW). The Ramsar site comprises all of the 257.6 hectare nature reserve which is managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The two main wetlands which occur within the Ramsar site, Little Llangothlin Lagoon and Billy Bung Lagoon, are upland lakes on the plateau of the New England Tablelands. Little Llangothlin Lagoon is a permanent lake of approximately 105 hectares in size and 2 metres in depth, one of the largest and deepest lakes within the New England Tablelands lakes system which enables it to contain water in almost all years except during extreme droughts. Its size and depth and its consequent ability to provide a relatively permanent water source makes it a valuable drought refuge for waterbirds. Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve Ramsar site also contains a portion, approximately 7.7 hectares, of the intermittent 17 hectare Billy Bung Lagoon.
The ecological character of a wetland is the sum of all the components, processes and services of that wetland. Ecosystem components are physical, chemical and biological parts of a wetland, from large-scale to very small-scale (e.g. habitat, species and genes). Ecosystem processes are the dynamic forces within an ecosystem. They include all those processes that occur between organisms and within and between populations and communities, including interactions with the non-living environment, that result in existing ecosystems and bring about changes in ecosystems over time. Ecosystem services are the benefits that people receive from ecosystems.
This document describes the critical components, processes and services for the Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve Ramsar site. Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve has five critical components and processes: surface water hydrology, groundwater hydrology, threatened ecological communities, threatened species, and waterbirds. It also has two critical services: supports representative near-natural wetlands and provides refuge during drought conditions. The description also identifies limits of acceptable change which describe the range of variation which key aspects of the ecology of the site can vary without representing a change in the ecological character. Limits of acceptable change for Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve Ramsar site have been proposed for those critical components, processes and benefits and services for which existing data is available.
This document also describes the current Ramsar listing criteria met by the site, the key threats and knowledge gaps for Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve Ramsar site. Recommended monitoring needs and communication messages are also provided.
Further information on what Ecological Character Descriptions are and how critical components, processes and services are identified is available in the National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australian Ramsar Wetlands - Module 2 of the National Guidelines for Ramsar Wetlands - Implementing the Ramsar Convention in Australia.