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The mallee

Belah Woodland (Photo: P.Sandell)

Belah Woodland (Photo: P.Sandell)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The mallee

Desert Baeckea (Photo: Mark Antos)

Desert Baeckea (Photo: Mark Antos)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The mallee

Bandy Bandy (Photo: J.Tscharke)

Bandy Bandy (Photo: J.Tscharke)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The mallee

Wyperfeld. Photo: Mark Antos

Wyperfeld. Photo: Mark Antos

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The mallee

Bluebush, Murray-Sunset NP. Photo: P.Sandell

Bluebush, Murray-Sunset NP. Photo: P.Sandell

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The mallee

Mallee ecosystems take their name from the small, multi-stemmed eucalypts which feature lignotubers (mallee roots) just below the soil surface, which store carbohydrates and water, and allow the tree to reshoot from the base if stems are destroyed by fire.

The blanket of sandy soil which characterises the mallee, has created a gentle scenery and superficially simple landscape, with species of mallee and understorey of saltbush, heathy shrubs, sedges, grasses or ephemeral herbs varying subtly according to soil type, depth and salinity.

More about the mallee:

  • Low, unreliable rainfall, high summer temperatures and poor fertility of the sandy soils are a key characteristic – leading some parts to be called ‘deserts’
  • Surprisingly diverse flora and fauna including many species of reptiles
  • Small nocturnal ground-dwelling mammals use burrows for breeding and protection
  • Has a distinctive range of birds including the Mallee Fowl which constructs huge mounds of sand and litter to incubate its eggs
  • Parrots are prominent, including the colourful Mallee Ringneck, Major Mitchell Cockatoo and Regent parrot.

Key Threats

  • Grazing by exotic animals (e.g. rabbits, goats)
  • Predation by foxes
  • Weed invasion
  • Increased temperatures and decreased rainfall are potential threats to species that already ‘live on the edge’
  • A potential increase in the frequency of large, intense fire events is also a threat to species that require ‘old-growth’ habitat.

Where to see the mallee

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Parks Victoria's Junior Ranger Program offers fun ranger-guided activities in parks. Discover hidden worlds, learn about Victoria's wildlife and amazing natural and cultural heritage.