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Wet forests and rainforest

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What are wet forests and rainforest ecosystems?

The cool mountains and gullies of ranges in southern, central and north-eastern Victoria as well as areas at lower elevations are dominated by wet eucalypt forests and rainforests.

The wet eucalypt forests have Victoria’s tallest trees including the world’s largest flowering plant, the Mountain Ash which reaches up to 100 metres in height and 15 metres in circumference. This often grows in single species stands, but Messmate and Mountain Grey Gum, or Shining Gum and Alpine Ash at higher altitudes, and other eucalypts share the sky.

In rainforests and sheltered gullies a dense canopy of non-eucalypt tree species, climbers, broad-leafed shrubs and tree ferns provide umbrellas of shade for a variety of ferns, shrubs, mosses and myriad of other life-forms.

Wet forests and rainforests facts

  • Generally Myrtle Beech rainforests only form once a wet eucalypt forest reaches maturity, which takes several hundred years to do so
  • Trees in wet forests begin to develop hollows in trunks and larger branches after they are about 150 years old
  • Possums (such as the rare Leadbeater’s Possum), gliders, bats, owls, bats, and many bird species require tree hollows or standing dead trees for nesting or roosting or both

Threats

  • In young forests hollows are scarce resulting in less diverse and smaller populations of forest animals
  • Many understorey plants flourish after fires and are often older than the dominant eucalypts which may be killed in an intense fire
  • Weed infestation
  • Predation of native animals by introduced species
  • Phytophthora cinnamomi (fungal dieback)

Where do I find wet forests and rainforests?

Find out more

Deptartment of Environment and Primary Industries – Distribution map and information about the different types of rainforest ecosystems found in Victoria.

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