The coastal areas on the Furneaux Group have been heavily modified by grazing. Before European settlement, vegetation on the Bass Strait islands was mostly dry sclerophyll woodland, forest, and heath. King Island is a low plateau with rolling hills and a substrate composed of metamorphic rocks. As a result of European occupation, the Tasmanian Temperate Forests have suffered more irreversible disturbances than any other ecoregion on Tasmania. Rainfall is heaviest in winter, but in general, is not strongly seasonal. Kirkpatrick Forest Ecology and Management Volume , Issue 4 , 30 July , Pages — The natural age structure of wet eucalypt forest has important implications for biodiversity conservation and the mode of wood production. Rainforest at higher elevations is dominated by Nothofagus spp.
This ecoregion also contains large areas of wet schlerophyll forest, and contain the greatest diversity of living plants and animals in Tasmania. Exotic plants are a significant threat to both alpine and grassland ecosystems. As a result of European occupation, the Tasmanian Temperate Forests have suffered more irreversible disturbances than any other ecoregion on Tasmania. Eastern Tasmania differs greatly from western Tasmania, and is largely low-lying, with the granitic Ben Lomond Mountains as the only significant area of relief. In contrast, most regrowth stands of all species combinations were single-cohort. Eucalyptus globulus , E. Formerly glaciated regions are especially likely to hold endemics because the diversity in soil types and the migration of species provided ample opportunity for speciation, microevolution, and hybridization. Types and Severity of Threats The forests of this ecoregion have considerable economic value: Dry eucalypt forests exhibit a very open canopy, typically dominated by peppermint eucalypts subgenus Monocalyptus series Piperitae more than five metres in height, with a scattered layer of small xerophytic species, such as Acacia , Allocasuarina , and Exocarpos spp. European settlement has had even more profoundly disastrous consequences both on the mainland and the Bass Strait Islands. Lowland rainforests are also dominated by Nothofagus spp. Today, between 30 to 40 percent of the dry sclerophyll vegetation present in has been completely transformed by agriculture , urbanization, and intensive forestry. Delicate alpine vegetation is also susceptible to trampling from recreational users and a recently discovered cold-tolerant species of Phytophthora , a root-rotting pathogen. Fires eliminate rainforest, replacing it with mixed forest and scrub. Although rainforest is well-conserved in the large Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area, fire is a pervasive threat to rainforest vegetation throughout the region, and logging and mining continue outside protected areas. The fire regime for this ecoregion is also complicated: As a result this ecoregion is the most degraded in Tasmania, and endemic species such as the Tasmanian thylacine Thylacinus cynocephalus and the King Island emu Dromaius ater are now extinct. Other threats to this ecoregion are inappropriate increase in tourist frequency and use in protected areas and the spread of Phytophthora cinnamomi , a root-rotting fungus that attacks a range of native plants. Snow, frost, and fog are common. Over half the stands studied were multi-cohort. Nearly half of Tasmania's species of lichens occur in rainforest, mostly as epiphytes. However, this ecoregion is of interest in its own right. Rainforest at higher elevations is dominated by Nothofagus spp. Biodiversity Features Tasmania's environment is thought similar to that once found on Gondwana. Turner Jayne Balmer J.
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