Dry sclerophyll forests (shrubby sub-formation)

Vegetation formation map

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Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation formation


Dry sclerophyll forests are characterised by their scenic landscapes and diverse flora and represent south-east Australia’s last remaining areas of wilderness. One quarter of the vegetation classes mapped in New South Wales are types of dry sclerophyll forests, reflecting the variable topography, geology, climate and geographic range of these communities.

Sclerophyll forests are a typically Australian vegetation type having plants (typically eucalypts, wattles and banksias) with hard, short and often spiky leaves, which is a condition closely associated with low soil fertility (rather than rainfall/soil moisture). Low fertility also makes soils undesirable for agriculture and native vegetation has, therefore, remained relatively intact.

Plants grow slowly in nutrient-deficient conditions and some species have developed symbiotic relationships with nutrient-fixing bacteria and fungi to enhance nutrient availability. Others have root systems that increase the efficiency of nutrient uptake.

Bushfires play a vital role in regeneration of dry sclerophyll forests. Many species are able to resprout from buds protected beneath soils or within the trunk or branches. Other species have seeds that are protected by a hard seed-coat or woody fruit, which are stimulated to open or germinate by fire. The frequency, intensity, season of occurrence of fire (‘fire regime’) has an enormous effect on the composition and structure of these forests.

There are two subformations of dry sclerophyll forests: shrub/grass and shrubby. The shrubby dry sclerophyll forest has typically Australian species such as waratahs, banksias, wattles, pea-flowers and tea-trees. There is a sparse ground cover of sedges and grasses are rare. They grow on sandy soils that are among the world’s least fertile.

Threatened species in this vegetation formation

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the Dry sclerophyll forests (shrubby sub-formation) formation.

Find species in a more specific vegetation class

The Dry sclerophyll forests (shrubby sub-formation) 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: