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.
- 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.
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.
07 Oct 2014
A new all-terrain wheelchair at Apollo Bay will help people with a disability to enjoy sections of the spectacular Great Ocean Walk and parks in the region. The TrailRider will allow people with limited mobility to access one of the most breathtaking sections of the walk with the help of…
25 Oct 2014 8:00am-9:00am
parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families and dogs are all welcome! Westerfolds parkrun occurs every Saturday morning. We're based near the main carpark off the Fitzsimons Lane entrance, and the course is run entirely on sealed paths within the park.
25 Oct 2014 9:00am - 26 Oct 2014 4:00pm
This year’s ARS National Conference focuses on the pressing topic of Rhododendron conservation in this time of steeply accelerating forest loss, climate change and human population.
25 Oct 2014 12:30pm-1:30pm
A walk through the ex koala reserve identifying and recording birds around us To celebrate Bird Week 2014, join a Parks Victoria ranger on a free guided bird watching walk through Mount Alexander Regional Park. The ranger will take you through the ex koala reserve to help identify and record…
26 Oct 2014 9:30am-10:30am
To celebrate Bird Week 2014, join a Parks Victoria ranger on a free guided bird watching walk through Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. The ranger will guide you along the Loddon River to identify and record the park's bird species. All experience levels and ages are welcome – from novice…