North Coast Wet Sclerophyll Forests

Vegetation class map


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

Structure

Tall dense forests with straight-boled dominant eucalypts 30-60 m tall, and subdominant stratum of mesophyllous small trees or tall shrubs up to 15 m tall. The understorey comprises a second layer of mesophyllous shrubs, which interrupt an otherwise continuous ground stratum of ferns and herbs. Vines are a conspicuous feature, sprawling over shrubs and smaller trees.

Trees

Throughout the distribution of this class Eucalyptus acmenioides (white mahogany), E. microcorys (tallowwood), E. pilularis (blackbutt), E. saligna (Sydney blue gum), Lophostemon confertus (brush box), Syncarpia glomulifera ( turpentine) occur in various combinations in the canopy. On rich lowland soils in high rainfall areas north of the Hunter River Eucalyptus grandis (flooded gum) dominates, while on basalt and colluvial soils at mid elevations in the foothills of the Dorrigo plateau and Richmond Range E. dunnii (white gum) is predominant. In sheltered gullies between Newcastle, Gosford and the lower Blue Mountains E. deanei (mountain blue gum) is common.

Shrubs

Synoum glandulosum, Cryptocarya rigida, Guioa semiglauca, Breynia cernua, Cordyline stricta (narrow-leaved palm lily), Cryptocarya rigida (forest maple), Diospyros australis (black plum), Elaeocarpus reticulatus (blueberry ash), Eupomatia laurina (bolwarra), Guioa semiglauca (wild quince), Psychotria daphnoides (smooth psychotria), P. loniceroides (hairy psychotria), Rapanea variabilis (muttonwood), Synoum glandulosum (scentless rosewood), Wilkiea huegeliana ( veiny wilkiea).

Scramblers

Cissus antarctica, C. hypoglauca (giant water vine), Clematis glycinoides ( headache vine), Dioscorea transversa (native yam), Geitonoplesium cymosum (scrambling lily), Hibbertia dentata (twining guinea flower), H. scandens var. scandens (climbing guinea flower), Pandorea pandorana (wonga wonga vine), Smilax australis (sarsaparilla).

Forbs

em>Geranium homeanum, Gymnostachys anceps (settlers flax), Hydrocotyle acutiloba, Lomandra spicata, Plectranthus parviflorus, Pratia purpurascens (white root), Pseuderanthemum variabile (pastel flower), Blechnum cartilagineum (gristle fern , Calochlaena dubia (common ground fern), Cyathea australis (rough treefern) , Doodia aspera (prickly rasp-fern), Hypolepis glandulifera (downy ground fern), Lastreopsis decomposita (trim shield fern).

Habitat

Coastal ranges and foothills, or on alluvium in sheltered creek flats, generally below 500 m elevation on relatively fertile rocky substrates and alluvium where rainfall exceeds 1000 mm per annum.

Distribution

Coast and foothills north from the Illawarra region and lower Blue Mountains, continuing into south-east Queensland. Major areas of occurrence include the foothills and slopes of the Richmond Range, Bellinger Valley, Hastings River catchment, south-east slopes of Barrington Tops, Watagan Mountains, and major gullies in the Blue Mountains and Illawarra escarpment. Principally in New South Wales..

Notes

A diverse and variable group of assemblages that vary in composition depending on soil fertility, terrain and elevation. Phytosociological study may indicate that reclassification into several units is warranted. Grades into Northern hinterland semi-mesic forests with decreasing shelter or moisture or Subtropical rainforests with increasing shelter, moisture or soil fertility. Important source of hardwood timber. Eucalypt dieback due to psyllid outbreaks is an emerging conservation problem.

Sources

Benson & Hager (1993); NPWS (1999); Clarke et al. (2000)

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the North Coast Wet Sclerophyll Forests vegetation class.