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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.

Damaged sandhills Click to view the news RSS feed.

Ancient sandhills damaged by off road bikes

12 Dec 2014

Patrols will be stepped up to identify off-track motor bike riders causing damage to rare plants and significant cultural heritage sites at two sand hill sites on Sand Hill Track off O’Reillys Road, between Gunbower and Cohuna. Yorta Yorta Nations Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) Cultural Heritage Officer Ray Ahmat said the…

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25 Dec 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families, prams 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…

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Westerfolds parkrun

27 Dec 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families, prams 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…

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Junior Ranger holiday program

29 Dec 2014 12:00am - 24 Jan 2015 12:00pm

Join in for some fun ranger-guided activities these holidays.

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Junior Ranger holiday program

29 Dec 2014 12:00am - 24 Jan 2015 12:00pm

Join in for some fun ranger-guided activities these holidays.