Southern Escarpment 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 eucalypt forest with straight-trunked trees 30-60m tall. The understorey is highly variable in structure and species composition. At some sites tall mesophyllous shrubs, small trees or tree ferns form a closed subcanopy 515 m tall, allowing only a scattering of shade- tolerant ferns and herbs to persist amongst the copious leaf litter. However, at more open sites there is a relatively diverse ground cover of ferns and herbs, and this form of understorey attains its maximum cover and diversity on basalt soils.

Trees

Eucalyptus cypellocarpa (monkey gum), E. fastigata (brown barrel), E. nitens (shining gum), E. obliqua (messmate), E. viminalis (ribbon gum).

Shrubs

An open or dense subcanopy beneath the eucalypts may be formed by Acacia dealbata ( silver wattle), Bedfordia arborescens (blanket bush), Olearia argophylla (native musk) and Pomaderris aspera (hazel pomaderris). Smaller shrubs include Coprosma quadrifida (prickly currant bush), Hedycarya angustifolia ( native mulberry), Leucopogon lanceolatus, Prostanthera lasianthos (Victorian Christmas bush), Tasmannia insipida (brush pepperbush), Telopea oreades (Gippsland waratah) and T. mongaensis (Monga waratah).

Scramblers

Clematis aristata (old mans beard), Parsonsia brownii (mountain silkpod).

Forbs

Dianella tasmanica (blue flax lily), Geranium potentilloides, Hydrocotyle 'acutiloba', Lagenifera stipitata (blue bottle-daisy), Poranthera microphylla, Viola hederacea (ivy-leaved violet), Blechnum nudum (fishbone water fern), Calochlaena dubia (common ground fern), Dicksonia antarctica (soft treefern), Polystichum proliferum (mother shield fern), Pteridium esculentum (bracken), Hierochloe rariflora (scented holygrass), Lomandra longifolia (spiny-headed mat- rush), Poa meionectes.

Habitat

High elevation sheltered slopes and moist plateaux of the escarpment where mean annual rainfall exceeds 1300 mm, extending down moist gullies through rugged terrain where rainfall may decline below 1000 mm per annum. Typically on moderately fertile granitic soils, but also on loams derived from siltstones, or fertile clay loams on basalt.

Distribution

From Monga southwards along the escarpment, and from the Brindabella Range south to the foothills of the Kosciuszko plateau, extending to the Errinundra Plateau in eastern Victoria. Further north, large stands occur on the ranges east of Oberon, while transitional examples are found as low as 500-600 m on the coastal escarpment between Macquarie Pass and Cambewarra Mountain in the Illawarra region, and as remnants on the basalts of Robertson Plateau.

Notes

Assemblages of low to moderately high species richness, relatively consistent in composition throughout their range, and prone to intense bushfires.

Sources

Keith & Benson (1988); Keith & Bedward (1999); Thomas et al. (2000).

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

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