You are here

Home > Learn > Info for students > Ecosystems > The alps

The alps

Alpine Ash sapling

What are alpine ecosystems?

The alps are characterised by granite and sandstone peaks with rounded mountain tops and plateaus.

The highest mountain areas support a rich mosaic of heathland, grassland and alpine bog communities.

At slightly lower altitudes these ‘treeless islands’ give way to subalpine woodlands comprising small, multi-stemmed, snow gums usually less than 10m tall.

Alpine facts

  • A mere 0.5 per cent of Australia is truly ‘treeless’ alpine.
  • Climatic conditions are harsh
  • Typically covered in snow for more than a third of the year
  • Plants and animals have evolved to cope with environmental extremes – low temperatures, high winds, snow cover for long periods and seasonal inundation
  • Many species are found only in the alpine area including several species at risk of extinction, such as the Baw Baw Frog, Alpine Water Skink, Mountain Pygmy-possum and Stirling Stonefly.

Threats

Alpine-adapted species are vulnerable to:

  • Climate change impacts such as changes in snow cover, streamflows and frequency of large scale wildfire
  • Weed invasion
  • Grazing by exotic animals and predation by foxes.

Where to find alpine ecosystems?

Find out more

Australian Alps National Parks – Comprehensive information about Austalia’s alpine national parks across Victoria, NSW and the ACT.

Deptartment of Environment and Primary Industries – Distribution map and information about the alpine and sub-alpine habitats found in Victoria.

Melbourne Museum – Alps in Victoria  – Information about some of the endangered species found in the Victorian alps.

Kids from the Bush Kinder program at Coolart Homestead Click to view the news RSS feed.

Coolart Bush Kinder and its Kids Continue to Thrive

25 Jul 2016

Five years after it started, the Bush Kinder program at Coolart Homestead continues to be a great success, thanks to the partnership between Somers Pre-School and Parks Victoria. “I’m still amazed at the joy, confidence and self-esteem I see children experiencing,” says teacher Julie Georgiou. “There are so many natural…

View all latest news