The NRM Plan area includes areas of the New England Tablelands, Southern Brigalow Belt and Mulga Lands bioregions. The original natural habitat areas have been extensively modified initially for grazing, timber and agricultural production and more recently for mining and gas projects as well as expanding urban development. Increased levels of water harvesting and utilisation (both surface and underground reserves) have further changed natural system dynamics. Fragmentation of the landscape continuity, introduced weeds and pests, and significant changes to regional fire regimes have also contributed to further modification of natural habitats.
Regional ecosystems are vegetation communities associated with a particular combination of geology landform and soils. Significant natural vegetation community types within the NRM Plan area include:
- brigalow forests and woodlands on fertile clay soils,
- eucalypt forest and woodlands on sandstone landscapes,
- eucalypt woodlands on basalt soils,
- eucalypt forest and woodlands on granite landscapes,
- cypress pine woodland and forest on sandstone landscapes,
- mulga woodlands on sandy earths,
- dry rainforest and softwood scrubs,
- riparian forests,
- grasslands and open woodlands on floodplains and fertile clay soils, and
- aquatic vegetation.
The region contains some significant biodiversity refugia that have provided shelter from previous climatic extremes as demonstrated by the presence of rare and threatened relic species. The key areas within the region include the Granite Belt highlands, and the Upper Maranoa area, but numerous smaller areas scattered across the region also form a network of key biodiversity hotspots.