Grassy woodlands

Vegetation formation map


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

Overview

The Grassy Woodlands are a widespread and quintessential feature of rural Australia. Dominated by eucalypts, typically boxes and red gums, grassy woodlands have a relatively open canopy with sparsely distributed shrubs and a conspicuous and diverse ground cover of tussock grasses and herbs. Ephemeral grasses and herbs appear from seed banks following rain, while ground orchids and lilies emerge after fires to produce a spectacular floral display.

Tree-hollows and seed-bearing grasses and herbs host a variety of birds, including parrots, cockatoos, finches and robins. Many nomadic birds, are attracted by mass-flowering of the eucalypts. Nectar- and pollen-feeding mammals are also present, however many tree- and ground-dwelling species have now been lost due to clearing of habitat, hunting and feral predators.

Originally distributed as an extensive band, ‘the sheep-wheat belt’, running from southern Queensland to central Victoria, grassy woodlands have been extensively modified for agriculture. Remnants now occur as small patches in varying states of degradation, the most botanically valuable occurring in areas that have escaped land clearing, pasture improvement and overgrazing such as travelling-stock reserves, cemeteries and churchyards. However these refuges are now under threat from rural dieback, weed invasion, soil erosion and salinisation, over grazing by stock and feral herbivores and the effects of introduced predators like the European red fox. A number of grassy woodlands have been listed as endangered ecological communities under state and Commonwealth legislation in recognition for the need for greater protection, management and restoration of remnants.

Threatened species in this vegetation formation

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the Grassy woodlands formation.

Find species in a more specific vegetation class

The Grassy woodlands 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: