Comprehensive Regional Assessment World Heritage Sub-theme



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Comprehensive Regional Assessment

World Heritage Sub-theme:

Eucalypt-dominated vegetation.

Report of the Expert Workshop, Canberra, 8 & 9 March,1999








 Commonwealth Government of Australia, 1999
The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any advice or information in relation to this material.
This work is copyright. It may be produced in whole or in part for study or training purposes subject to the inclusion of acknowledgment of the source and no commercial use or sale.


Comprehensive Regional Assessment

World Heritage Sub-theme: Eucalypt-dominated vegetation

Report of the Expert Workshop, Canberra, 8 & 9 March 1999.

Table of Contents




Comprehensive Regional Assessment i

World Heritage Sub-theme: Eucalypt-dominated vegetation i

Report of the Expert Workshop, Canberra, 8 & 9 March 1999. i

Introduction 1



Comprehensive Regional Assessment 1

A thematic approach to identification of World Heritage values 1

Application of the thematic approach 1

The sub-theme of eucalypt-dominated vegetation 3

Representation of the sub-theme of eucalypt-dominated vegetation 3

Further assessment of the sub-theme of eucalypt-dominated vegetation 4

Workshop Report 6

The Eucalypts 6

General description 6

Eucalypt taxonomy 8

Eucalypt phylogeny 9

Outstanding Universal Values of Eucalypt-dominated Vegetation 10



Ancient origins in Gondwana and evolution of the eucalypts in Australia 10

Evolutionary history of the continent 10

Continental separation and tectonics 10

Palaeoclimates 11

Landscapes 12

Tertiary and Quaternary phytogeography 13

Evolution of the eucalypts 15

The fossil record 15

Present distribution 16

Origin of the eucalypts 16

Evolutionary considerations 17

Outstanding universal value: Ancient origins in Gondwana and evolution in Australia 19

Current understanding of evolutionary relationships and ongoing evolutionary processes 20

Evolutionary relationships 20

Biogeography of the major eucalypt groups 20

Evolutionary processes 21

Genetic diversity 23

Contribution to outstanding universal value: Evolutionary relationships and processes 23

Taxonomic diversity of the eucalypts 25

Contribution to outstanding universal value: Taxonomic diversity 27



The outstanding success of the eucalypts in dominating most of the woody vegetation of an entire continent 28

Outstanding universal value: Domination of an entire continent 30



The diverse range of growth forms expressed by the eucalypts 30

Outstanding universal value: Diverse range of growth forms 32



The wide diversity of eucalypt-dominated communities 33

The eucalypt overstorey 33

Understorey vegetation 36

Fauna 38


Outstanding universal value: Wide diversity of eucalypt-dominated communities 42

The unique ecology of eucalypt-dominated communities 45

Fire regimes 46

Eucalypt fuels 47

Long-distance propagation of fire 48

Survival and reproduction 49

The lignotuber 50

Epicormic growth 51

Regeneration from seed 51

Seedling establishment 52

Adaptation to a wide range of soil nutrient availability and moisture regimes 53

Adaptation to low nutrients 56

Formation of hollows 58

Other morphological and structural adaptations 59

Canopy structure and light characteristics 59

Juvenile leaves 60

Diversity of invertebrate groups 60

Outstanding universal value: Unique ecology of eucalypt-dominated communities 61

Cultural significance 64

Aesthetic significance 64

Economic significance 65

Genetic significance 66

Towards a Representative Expression of the eucalypt sub-theme 66



Attributes and the representation of outstanding universal values of eucalypt-dominated vegetation 66

Research Plan and Data Issues 67

Scale 68


Vegetation maps 68

Fauna 69


Workshop Conclusions 69

Bibliography 73

Attachment 1 World Heritage Convention: Criteria and Operational Guidelines (natural properties) 87

Attachment 2 Thematic approach to World Heritage Assessment 90

Attachment 3 Further assessment of the sub-theme of eucalypt-dominated vegetation 91

Methodology for documentation and assessment of potential places to represent the sub-theme 91

Documentation of the sub-theme 91

Documentation of potential places 91

Assessment of potential places 92

Assessment of potential places outside RFA regions 92

Attachment 4 Terms of Reference - Expert Workshop 94

Attachment 5 Workshop participants 95

Attachment 6 Summaries of biogeographic pattern amongst eucalypt-dominated vegetation at the continental scale 97



Vegetation pattern according to Beadle (1981) 97

1. Eucalypt Communities of the Tropics 97

2. Tall Eucalypt Forests of the Eastern Coastal Lowlands on soils of higher fertility 97

3. Eucalypt Forests and Woodlands of the Eastern Coastal Lowlands on soils of lower fertility 98

4. Eucalypt Communities of the cooler climates of the Eastern Highlands, Lowland Victoria and Tasmania 98

5. The Ironbark Forests and Woodlands 98

6. The Box Woodlands of the East and South-east 98

7. The Mallee and Marlock Communities 99

8. Eucalypt Forests and Woodlands in the South-West 99

Vegetation pattern according to Groves (1981, 1994) 100

Tall open-forests 100

Open-forests of southern Australia 100

Woodlands 101

Scrubs and shrublands 102

Vegetation pattern according to Bridgewater (1987) 103

Tropical/Subtropical evergreen wooded vegetation 103

Semi-arid grassland and shrublands 103

Temperate forests, grasslands and shrubland 103




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