Dry sclerophyll forests are characterised by their scenic landscapes and diverse flora and represent south-east Australia’s last remaining areas of wilderness. Sclerophyll forests are a typically Australian vegetation type having plants (typically eucalypts, wattles and banksias) with hard, short and often spiky leaves, which is a condition closely associated with low soil fertility (rather than rainfall/soil moisture).
Low fertility also makes soils undesirable for agriculture and native vegetation has, therefore, remained relatively intact. Plants grow slowly in nutrient-deficient conditions and some species have developed symbiotic relationships with nutrient-fixing bacteria and fungi to enhance nutrient availability. Others have root systems that increase the efficiency of nutrient uptake.
Bushfires play a vital role in regeneration of dry sclerophyll forests. Many species are able to resprout from buds protected beneath soils or within the trunk or branches. Other species have seeds that are protected by a hard seed-coat or woody fruit, which are stimulated to open or germinate by fire. The frequency, intensity, season of occurrence of fire (‘fire regime’) has an enormous effect on the composition and structure of these forests.
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Trees & Bushes meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.