An advocacy group has called for better protection of "critically endangered" Illawarra subtropical rainforest.
The Illawarra-Shoalhaven Subtropical Rainforest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion was recently listed as a critically endangered ecological community, in accordance with the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The listing essentially means that the area is recognised for both its environmental value, and the threats that it's potentially under.
It can also possibly mean restrictions on activities that can occur in that area.
There are patches of subtropical rainforest still present on suitable sites in Illawarra, but they face many challenges.
However, the Illawarra Escarpment Alliance is calling for better protection for the remaining areas of the region's rainforest that were not incorporated in this announcement.
Spokesperson, Bulli's Catherine Moyle said the listing would call for more careful consideration about the ways the community engages with the escarpment.
She said the new listing should be the impetus for better protection of the remaining areas of this rainforest community across the Illawarra.
"Whether it's on the Illawarra escarpment or the coastal plain, our local subtropical rainforest is precious and unique," she said.
Leon Fuller, vice-president of Urban Biodiversity Illawarra, a member group of EscA, said that the conservation advice underlying the listing was clear about why local subtropical rainforest is critically endangered.
"There are patches of subtropical rainforest still present on suitable sites in Illawarra, but they face many challenges," he said.
"The key threats in the conservation advice include clearing for development, agriculture and hobby farming, unauthorised trail construction and invasive plants and animals such as deer."
Mrs Moyle said that EscA supports the recommendations in the conservation advice.
"The advice approved by the Minister recommends better protection, restoration, and engagement with key groups such as landholders, land managers and indigenous communities, as well as ongoing research and monitoring," she said.
"EscA supports all these recommendations.
"State and local government can and should take these recommendations on board and address the threats identified."
A spokesperson for Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the aim of listing is to prevent further decline and to promote recovery through landholder and community efforts.
"The listing as a threatened ecological community acknowledges these rainforest remnants as a matter of national environmental significance.
Listing raises the profile of these areas, can provide protection from future development and attracts funding for actions to prevent the decline and promote recovery through landholder and community efforts."