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.
23 Sep 2014
Visitors to East Gippsland’s Snowy River National Park this school holidays will marvel at the park’s recovery as they are able to gain access to Raymond Creek Falls for the first time since the devastating fires in February this year. District Manager, Will McCutcheon said over 80 per cent of…
22 Sep 2014 12:00am - 3 Oct 2014 12:00am
Parks Victoria’s Discovery program is designed to encourage kids and adults to explore Victoria’s parks with a ranger. Whether it’s discovering mini beasts through a microscope, learning about creatures’ tracks and traces and their habitats, or discovering the fascinating life beneath the sea during a rock pool ramble, kids will…
22 Sep 2014 12:00am - 5 Oct 2014 12:00am
Drop in and pick up your explorer pack from the Mansion with activity sheets, magnifying glass and pencil. Complete the activities and return the pack to collect some Junior Ranger goodies. Activities are available every day of the school holidays.
1 Oct 2014 9:30am-11:00am
Get up close and personal with the animals of Serendip Sanctuary while helping the ranger during feeding time. This activity is suitable for children aged 6-12, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please meet at the Serendip car park picnic area 10 minutes prior to the activity.