Forests of East Australia: The 35th Biodiversity Hotspot

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Williams, Kristen; Ford, Andrew; Rosauer, Dan; De Silva, Naamal; Mittermeier, Russell; Bruce, Caroline; Larson, Frank; Margules, Chris

Williams, Kristen; Ford, Andrew; Rosauer, Dan; De Silva, Naamal; Mittermeier, Russell; Bruce, Caroline; Larson, Frank; Margules, Chris


2011-09-22


Book Chapter


Biodiversity Hotspots: Distribution and Protection of Conservation Priority Areas


Biodiversity Hotspot


295-310


Zachos, F.E.; Habel, J.C.


The newly identified Forests of East Australia Biodiversity Hotspot consists of a discontinuous coastal stretch along the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, extending inland beyond the New England Tablelands and the Great Dividing Range. Its boundaries correspond to a combination of two World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Ecoregions: the Eastern Australian Temperate Forests and Queensland’s Tropical Rainforests (Figure 1). The hotspot, although covering a large latitudinal range (15.5° to 35.6° South), has a predominantly summer rainfall pattern with increasing rainfall seasonality northwards into the tropical areas of north Queensland. Annual rainfall is unpredictable from year to year varying on average between 550 mm in the more arid savanna regions to 4,500 mm near the tropical coast. Mountain tops in the northern “Wet Tropics” region have recorded annual rainfall events in excess of 12,000 mm. Temperatures are also variable, with annual winter snowfalls at high elevations in the south and a tropical climate in the far north. Altitudinal variation is from sea-level to about 1,600 m. The hotspot covers large tracts of elevated tablelands and drier inland slopes, particularly in New South Wales. The dominant rock types include Mesozoic sandstones and acid igneous rocks, with recent basalts in the north. Varied soils result in a mosaic pattern of vegetation, with infertile soils throughout much of the hotspot, except for localised basalt-derived soils which are thinly spread throughout the latitudinal range of the hotspot. Sclerophyllous communities dominated by Australia’s iconic plant, the gum-tree (Eucalyptus species), are the most prevalent vegetation type. Significant areas of rainforest exist throughout the region, much of which has existed continuously since Gondwanan times, providing a rich living record of evolution during well over 100 million years. In higher rainfall area on more fertile soils, forest trees can reach 50m high. In both lower rainfall and sub-alpine areas, grasses and herbs become more dominant within grassy woodlands with eucalypts only 8-15m high.


Springer Press


New York


Biodiversity Hotspot; Forests; East Australia


Biogeography and Phylogeography


https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-20992-5


Link to Publisher's Version


© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011


EP101404


Book chapter


English


9783642209918


Williams, Kristen; Ford, Andrew; Rosauer, Dan; De Silva, Naamal; Mittermeier, Russell; Bruce, Caroline; Larson, Frank; Margules, Chris. Forests of East Australia: The 35th Biodiversity Hotspot. In: Zachos, F.E.; Habel, J.C., editor/s. Biodiversity Hotspots: Distribution and Protection of Conservation Priority Areas. New York: Springer Press; 2011. 295-310. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-20992-5



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