Forested wetlands

Vegetation formation map


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Key:
<1%
1-10%
10-50%
>50%
Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation formation

Overview

Forested wetlands occur throughout New South Wales but are restricted to riverine corridors and floodplains. These wetlands are dominated by trees and occur on fertile soils, mostly at low altitude.

The dominance of sclerophyllous trees (Eucalypts, tea-trees, paper barks, she-oaks) are reminiscent of sclerophyll forests and some semi-arid woodlands, however the presence of hydrophytes in the understorey is the distinguishing feature. These plants (mostly monocots – grasses, sedges, rushes) are adapted to periodic inundation by floodwaters.

Floodwaters are an important factor in the nutrient cycle of forest wetlands, and soils are capable of absorbing large quantities. Nutrient retention is highest where water flows and drying rates are slow, turbulence is low, sediments high in organic matter or clay and where biological decomposition rates are low.

Invertebrates are numerous, with insects dominating forest floors while streams and standing water have an abundance of crustaceans. Many species have both aquatic and terrestrial life stages. A complex food-web exists in forested wetlands; submerged debris is a substrate for algae, microbes and filter-feeders, which in turn are food for larger animals. Many fauna species are also reliant on trees for feeding, nesting, shelter and hunting.

Much of Australia’s forested wetland has been cleared for timber or agriculture, due to their rich alluvial soils. Some inland areas were withheld from agricultural development as a perpetual source of timber, while coastal patches survive in areas of steep terrain or where acidic soils are unsuitable for agriculture.

Threatened species in this vegetation formation

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the Forested wetlands formation.

Find species in a more specific vegetation class

The Forested wetlands formation can be divided into the following classes. Select a vegetation class on the list below to see a list of species associated with it: