Forests of East Australia: The 35th Global Biodiversity Hotspot

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


2010-12-06


Conference Material


Ecological Society of Australia 2010 Annual Conference: Sustaining biodiversity - the next 50 years, Manning Clark Centre, ANU, Canberra, 6-10 December 2010


Conference Handbook


2010


Session 2e


97


The newly identified 'Forests of East Australia' Global 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. The region contains more than 1500 endemic vascular plants, triggering criteria for global biodiversity significance, and more than 70% of natural areas have been cleared or degraded. 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. Temperatures are also variable, with annual winter snowfalls at high elevations in the south and a tropical climate in the far north. The hotspot covers large tracts of elevated tablelands and drier inland slopes, particularly in New South Wales. Varied soils result in a mosaic pattern of vegetation. 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 persisted continuously since Gondwanan times, providing a rich living record of evolution over more than 100 million years. The human population of the hotspot as of 2006 was over 9 million, with a population density of 36 people per square kilometre, mainly concentrated along the coast supported by extensive inland production regions. About 18% of the land area is under some form of formal protection for its natural values. Gaps in the protected area network include some centres of plant endemicity and some areas of critical habitat for threatened species. Here we present an overview of the data and methods used to define the hotspot and its characteristics, that will be published in the New Year.


Ecological Society of Australia


Canberra


Biodiversity Hotspot; Endemic vascular plants; Land use; forest condition; protected areas


Conservation and Biodiversity


© Ecological Society of Australia


EP103304


Conference Abstract


English


Williams, Kristen; Ford, Andrew; Rosauer, Dan; De Silva, Naamal; Mittermeier, Russell; Bruce, Caroline; Larson, Frank; Margules, Chris. Forests of East Australia: The 35th Global Biodiversity Hotspot. In: Ecological Society of Australia 2010 Annual Conference: Sustaining biodiversity - the next 50 years; 6-10 December 2010; Manning Clark Centre, ANU, Canberra. Canberra: Ecological Society of Australia; 2010. 97.http://hdl.handle.net/102.100.100/105697?index=1



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