Southern Australia Mallee and Woodlands

About the Area

This Global ecoregion is made up of these terrestrial ecoregions: Naracoorte woodlands; Eyre and York mallee; Mount Lofty woodlands; Murray-Darling woodlands and mallee.
Together with the Southern Australia ecoregion, it is one of only five Mediterranean shrubland complexes in the world.

Together, these shrublands support 20 percent of the plant species on Earth. Although not as rich as the nearby Mediterranean shrublands in southwestern Australia, these woodlands are extremely diverse, supporting an array of plant and animal wealth.

Here, the coastal dunes habitat is dominated by mallee (Eucalyptus diversitfolia) - a type of eucalyptus, while species of Gahnia are widespread in the swampy areas.

Local Species

Dominant plants include Mallee (Eucalyptus diversitfolia), Melaleuca lanceolata, and Hakea rugosa in addition to numerous herbaceous species such as Morning flag (Orthrosanthus multiformis), Desert baeckea (Baeckea crassifolia), and Silvery phebalium (Pheballium bullatum).

Birds found in this ecoregion are numerous; among those with the smallest ranges are beautiful Firetail (Stagonopleura bella), Skylark (Alauda arvensis), Little raven (Corvus mellori), Gilbert's whistler (Pachycephala inornata), and the endemic Red-lored whistler (P. rufogularis).

Threats
Much of the native vegetation in this ecoregion has been cleared for agriculture or for grazing. Today portions of the ecoregion are managed for commercial forestry including some public lands.

Resources

Size:
310,000 sq. km (120,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub

Geographic Location:
Southern Australia

Conservation Status:
Critical/Endangered

Quiz Time!

How have the plants in this ecoregion adapted to the scorching South Australia?

Answer:
South Australia is the driest of the Australian states. The Murray River is the only waterway that is filled all year round. The plants found in Mallee and Woodlands survive because they have evolved strategies for making do with the little moisture available, for example, some have thick, leathery leaves that prevent water loss during hot weather.

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