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Forests of East Australia: The 35th Biodiversity Hotspot

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Biodiversity Hotspots

Abstract

The newly identified “Forests of East Australia” Global High Biodiversity Hotspot corresponds with two World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Ecoregions: the Eastern Australian Temperate Forests and Queensland’s Tropical Rain forests. The region contains more than 1,500 endemic vascular plants, meeting the criterion for global biodiversity significance, and more than 70% of natural areas have been cleared or degraded, meeting the criterion for a hotspot. The hotspot, although covering a large latitudinal range (15.5°–35.6° South), has a predominantly summer rainfall pattern with increasing rainfall seasonality northwards into tropical areas of north Queensland. It covers large tracts of elevated tablelands and drier inland slopes, particularly in New South Wales, where it extends inland beyond the New England Tablelands and the Great Dividing Range. Varied soils result in a mosaic pattern of vegetation. Sclerophyllous communities dominated by Australia’s iconic plant, the gum-tree (Eucalyptus species), are the most prevalent vegetation type. Significant areas of rain forest exist throughout the region, much of which has persisted continuously since Gondwanan times, providing a rich living record of evolution over more than 100 million years. The human population of the hotspot as of 2006 was over nine million, with a population density of 36 people per square kilometer, mainly concentrated along the coast. About 18% of the land area is under some form of formal protection for its natural values. Gaps in the protected area network include some centers of plant endemism and some areas of critical habitat for threatened species. Whole of landscape conservation initiatives are enhancing connectivity throughout the Great Dividing Range through voluntary protection and restoration programs.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the use of data or assistance provided by the following institutions and individuals: CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Atherton and Canberra; the Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane; Australian National Herbarium, CSIRO Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Canberra; John Benson and Doug Benson, Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney; Daniel P. Faith and The Australian Museum, Sydney; David Keith and Department of Conservation and Environment, Sydney; Cameron Slatyer and Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra; Trevor Parker; Richard Thackway and Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra; National Land and Water Resources Audit, Canberra; Queensland Museum, Brisbane; CSIRO Australian National Wildlife Collection, Canberra; Birds Australia; NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change; NSW Department of Primary Industry, Forests NSW; Geosciences Australia; World Wildlife Fund; Kellee Koenig, Ian Harrison, and Conservation International; IUCN; Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Queensland; Land and Property Information, New South Wales; Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; Museum Victoria; South Australian Museum; Western Australian Museum; Commonwealth Department of Defence; Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts; WildNet, Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane; South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage; Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Water; Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. Support also was provided by the “2010 Working Group” within the Australian Research Council, Environmental Futures Network (see Williams et al. 2006). Photographs in Fig. 16.3 by A.F., CSIRO.

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Correspondence to Kristen J. Williams .

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Appendix 1: List of Genus-level Endemic Vertebrate Animals (Excluding Freshwater Fish) and Vascular Plants Known from the Forests of East Australia Hotspot

Appendix 1: List of Genus-level Endemic Vertebrate Animals (Excluding Freshwater Fish) and Vascular Plants Known from the Forests of East Australia Hotspot

Vertebrate group

Family

Genus

Birds

Acanthizidae

Oreoscopus

Birds

Acanthizidae

Origma

Birds

Ptilonorhynchidae

Scenopoeetes

Amphibians

Myobatrachidae

Taudactylus

Amphibians

Myobatrachidae

Rheobatrachus*

Amphibians

Myobatrachidae

Assa

Amphibians

Myobatrachidae

Adelotus

Reptiles

Elapidae

Tropidechis

Reptiles

Elapidae

Cacophis

Reptiles

Gekkonidae

Phyllurus

Reptiles

Gekkonidae

Carphodactylus

Reptiles

Scincidae

Calyptotis

Reptiles

Scincidae

Gnypetoscincus

Reptiles

Scincidae

Ophioscincus

Reptiles

Scincidae

Harrisoniascincus

Reptiles

Scincidae

Coeranoscincus

Reptiles

Scincidae

Eroticoscincus

Reptiles

Scincidae

Saiphos

Reptiles

Scincidae

Coggeria

Reptiles

Scincidae

Nangura

Reptiles

Chelidae

Elusor

Vascular plant group

Family

Genus

Flowering (dicots)

Akaniaceae

Akania

Flowering (dicots)

Alseuosmiaceae

Crispiloba

Flowering (dicots)

Anacardiaceae

Rhodosphaera

Flowering (dicots)

Araliaceae

Cephalaralia

Flowering (dicots)

Araliaceae

Motherwellia

Flowering (dicots)

Austrobaileyaceae

Austrobaileya

Flowering (dicots)

Celastraceae

Hedraianthera

Flowering (dicots)

Celastraceae

Hexaspora

Flowering (dicots)

Celastraceae

Hypsophila

Flowering (dicots)

Cunoniaceae

Acrophyllum

Flowering (dicots)

Cunoniaceae

Davidsonia

Flowering (dicots)

Cunoniaceae

Pseudoweinmannia

Flowering (dicots)

Cunoniaceae

Vesselowskya

Flowering (dicots)

Elaeocarpaceae

Peripentadenia

Flowering (dicots)

Ericaceae

Rupicola

Flowering (dicots)

Euphorbiaceae

Hylandia

Flowering (dicots)

Euphorbiaceae

Rockinghamia

Flowering (dicots)

Fabaceae

Almaleea

Flowering (dicots)

Flacourtiaceae

Baileyoxylon

Flowering (dicots)

Flacourtiaceae

Streptothamnus

Flowering (dicots)

Gesneriaceae

Lenbrassia

Flowering (dicots)

Grossulariaceae

Cuttsia

Flowering (dicots)

Hamamelidaceae

Neostrearia

Flowering (dicots)

Hamamelidaceae

Noahdendron

Flowering (dicots)

Hamamelidaceae

Ostrearia

Flowering (dicots)

Icacinaceae

Irvingbaileya

Flowering (dicots)

Loranthaceae

Atkinsonia

Flowering (dicots)

Loranthaceae

Benthamina

Flowering (dicots)

Meliaceae

Synoum

Flowering (dicots)

Menispermaceae

Echinostephia

Flowering (dicots)

Monimiaceae

Austromatthaea

Flowering (dicots)

Monimiaceae

Endressia

Flowering (dicots)

Monimiaceae

Hemmantia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Anetholea

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Austromyrtus

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Barongia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Choricarpia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Lenwebbia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Mitrantia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Ristantia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Sphaerantia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Stockwellia

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Tristania

Flowering (dicots)

Myrtaceae

Waterhousea

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Athertonia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Austromuellera

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Buckinghamia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Cardwellia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Carnarvonia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Catalepidia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Darlingia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Eidothea

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Floydia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Hicksbeachia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Hollandaea

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Megahertzia

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Musgravea

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Neorites

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Opisthiolepis

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Placospermum

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Sphalmium

Flowering (dicots)

Proteaceae

Triunia

Flowering (dicots)

Rhamnaceae

Schistocarpaea

Flowering (dicots)

Rubiaceae

Durringtonia

Flowering (dicots)

Rutaceae

Brombya

Flowering (dicots)

Rutaceae

Pentaceras

Flowering (dicots)

Sapindaceae

Castanospora

Flowering (dicots)

Sapindaceae

Sarcotoechia

Flowering (dicots)

Sterculiaceae

Franciscodendron

Flowering (dicots)

Surianaceae

Guilfoylia

Flowering (monocots)

Anthericaceae

Alania

Flowering (monocots)

Arecaceae

Laccospadix

Flowering (monocots)

Arecaceae

Normanbya

Flowering (monocots)

Arecaceae

Oraniopsis

Flowering (monocots)

Asteliaceae

Neoastelia

Flowering (monocots)

Convallariaceae

Kuntheria

Flowering (monocots)

Convallariaceae

Tripladenia

Flowering (monocots)

Cyperaceae

Ptilothrix

Flowering (monocots)

Doryanthaceae

Doryanthes

Flowering (monocots)

Juncaginaceae

Maundia

Flowering (monocots)

Orchidaceae

Cooktownia

Flowering (monocots)

Orchidaceae

Corunastylis

Flowering (monocots)

Orchidaceae

Corymborkis

Flowering (monocots)

Orchidaceae

Papillilabium

Flowering (monocots)

Orchidaceae

Peristeranthus

Flowering (monocots)

Orchidaceae

Rimacola

Flowering (monocots)

Orchidaceae

Schistotylus

Flowering (monocots)

Petermanniaceae

Petermannia

Flowering (monocots)

Poaceae

Alexfloydia

Flowering (monocots)

Poaceae

Notochloe

Flowering (monocots)

Poaceae

Potamophila

Flowering (monocots)

Restionaceae

Coleocarya

Gymnosperms

Araucariaceae

Wollemia

Gymnosperms

Zamiaceae

Lepidozamia

Ferns and allies

Blechnaceae

Pteridoblechnum

Ferns and allies

Dryopteridaceae

Revwattsia

  1. *Probably extinct

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Williams, K.J. et al. (2011). Forests of East Australia: The 35th Biodiversity Hotspot. In: Zachos, F., Habel, J. (eds) Biodiversity Hotspots. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-20992-5_16

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