Nature conservation

Biodiversity Reform

Australian Alps - subregions

The entire NSW portion of the Australian Alps Bioregion has been delineated as a sub-region.

Subregion of the Australian Alps Bioregion
Geology Characteristic landforms Typical soils Vegetation
Block-faulted granites and Palaeozoic metamorphic rocks. Small areas of Tertiary basalt with buried river gravels and lake sediments. Quaternary glacial landforms and sediments above



1,800 m, more extensive periglacial features above 1,200 m.

Low-relief high plains with steep margins and slopes and fault aligned river valleys with deep gorges and waterfalls. Relic cirque glaciers, blockstreams and periglacial solifluction lobes in highest regions. Soils change with altitude. At lower levels in forests texture contrast soils are the norm. In the sub-alpine snow gum areas deep gradational soils with moderate amounts of organic matter are common. Above the tree line, wet, alpine humus soils with abundant organic matter are widespread. Steep slopes have stonier, shallow profiles. Vegetation changes with altitude, aspect, cold air drainage and soil saturation. Low elevations with dry aspects carry red stringybark, white gum, broad-leaved peppermint, candlebark and brittle gum. Moist sites have alpine ash, mountain gum, narrow-leaved peppermint, manna gum and brown barrel, with tree ferns, blackwood and sassafras in gullies. Between 1,000 and 1,500 m alpine ash and mountain gum dominate and abruptly change to sub-alpine snow gum woodlands, heath, grasslands and bogs between 1,500 and 1,800 m. Common species include snow grasses, leafy bossiaea, yellow kunzea, alpine pepper and sphagnum bogs, with candle heath and swamp heath. Alpine herbfield and rare feldmark communities are found above the tree line at 1,800 m. Common species include prickly snow grass, alpine wallaby grass, silver snow daisy, ribbony grass, white purslane, eye-brights, gentians and buttercups. Most alpine species have a limited range.

From Morgan 2001

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