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BARRIER REEF AUSTRALIA Accommodation, Tours, Attractions & Interesting Facts About The Great Barrier Reef.

 

 

Tropical Rainforest
Overview
Dangerous Animals
Birds Of the Tropic
Harmful Plants
Insects
Frogs
Mamals

   
  Great Barrier Reef - Rainforest Overview
       
 

Information obtained from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage

The rainforest is the most complex and diverse ecosystem on earth.
Being home to more than half the world's plant and animals species.
The rainforest is a valuable source of cultivated plants, drugs and medicines.

The rainforest now covers less than 10% of the earth's land surface, this is why we must utilise the few remains of our forests wisely.

In Australia, rainforests covers 0.3 percent of the continent (about 2 million hectares)


An overview of Australia's Wet Tropics Rainforest

Treetop canopies are so dense they they are virtually closed and little sunlight penetrates to the forest floor. The true tropical rainforest is only found in Far North Queensland, In isolated areas along the east coast.

Buttresses: Are distinctive flanges at the base of large rainforest trees. Buttressing probably helps trees breathe in waterlogged soils or enables them to take up nutrients from shallow soil.

Epiphytes: Grows on another plant for support or anchorage. They live on rainwater that washes
down the trunks of trees and rotting leaves and animal droppings.
Examples of epiphytes are: ferns (elfhorns & staghorn) lichens and mosses.

Lianas: Lianas are climbing vines which grow from ground roots but use other
plants for anchorage as they climb toward the light of the sun.

Strangler Figs: Starting from seed dropped in humus (Pronounced As: hyooms , organic matter that has decayed to a relatively stable, amorphous state. It is an important biological constituent of fertile soil. Humus is formed by the decomposing action of soil micro-organisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi), which break down animal and vegetable material into elements that can be used by growing plants.) high in a canopy tree, the strangler fig sends down prop roots
which thicken, interlace, join and eventually strangle its host tree to death. This process can take from
500 to 1000 years!

Cauliflory: A cauliflower like mass of flowers and fruits that grow directly on the tree trunk and main branches of some trees. These are essential food for many birds, fruit bats and possums.

Palms: With woody stems, few or no branches and surface roots at the base. Typical of moist rainforests.


The ever-changing world of the Rainforest:
In a typical rainforest eco system there is a never-ending cycle of generation, growth, maturity and death.
Change can be very rapid when mother nature steps in with a cyclone, strong wind, flood or land slip.
humans can cause catastrophic changes to any forest eco system by clearing the forest of trees and under growth.

Although regeneration of a forest is fast, it may take a 100 years to fully recover from a major cyclone or flood.


Threats to conserving our rainforest:

Weeds such as rubber vine and lantana, fire, feral pigs, cats and dogs, clearing for residential development
and visitor pressures such as vandalism and littering threaten the very life our remaining forests.


Caring for the forest:
It is up to us to help maintain the forest when we visit. Follow these few simple rules and every little bit will help conserve what's left of this natural wonder.

Stay on walking tracks. Delicate ground cover plants are easily disturbed by trampling.

Use only a fuel stove when needing a fire: Nutrient recycling is critical in a rainforest environment, so gathering leaf litter and branches for fires can cause unnecessary damage.

REMEMBER: Everything is protected. Don't pick, break or remove ferns, vines or any other plant.

Take your rubbish with you when you when you leave. Don't bury it, as feral pigs will quickly smell out the rubbish and dig it up.

Leave your pets at home: They chase, scare and even kill the local wildlife.

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to feed the wild life. Human food can be harmful to the animals and feeding may lead to aggressive behavior.

Where the mountains hug the coast and the Coral Sea brings drenching rains to the lowlands and creates the lush and complex world of the tropical rainforest.

A scenic grandeur on the Atherton Tablelands is created by cloud capped mountains, carpeted by steamy jungles that tower over the lowlands. The jungle represents the largest remaining fragments of tropical rainforest in Australia. North of Cairns, between Port Douglas and Mossman, The Great Dividing Range rises to the peaks and gorges of the Mount Windsor Tableland. The precipitous mountain slopes, covered in thick forest, plunge uninterrupted to meet the shoreline.

The World Heritage Area covers about 900,000 hectares.

The rainforests now only exist as a patchy belt up to 70kilometres wide from Cooktown to almost as far south as Townsville. Modest sized waterfalls and cascades flowing with crystal clear water are found through out the Wet tropics rainforest. They carve a ruggedly spectacular landscape into the mountains and provide breathtaking sights for the visitor. Wallaman Falls at 305 metres (1000 ft) are Australia's highest single drop falls.  The north-eastern highlands have Australia's heaviest rainfall, with an annual reading of over 4000 millimetres for the Tully-Babinda strip.

Did you know?

That the Wet tropics Rainforest were World Heritage listed in 1989!
Mount Bartle Frere is Queensland’s highest mountain at 1622 metres.

That the wettest parts of the rainforest receive as much as 7600mm [296inches] of annual rainfall.

The wet tropics covers only 1% of the Australian continent yet contains 30% of all marsupials, 23% of the reptiles and 18% of the bird populations