Tarkine ecological facts and statistics

* This page has been archived and is no longer updated.
[created on 02/04/2004]


Rainforest facts


  • Largest temperate rainforest in Australia.
  • Second largest temperate rainforest in the world (the largest being in western Canada).
  • Temperate rainforests are extremely rare worldwide, the only other remnants being in New Zealand, Chile, Siberia and western North America.
  • Includes three of Tasmania's four rainforest types: Callidendrous - comprising mainly tall trees with an open understorey; Thamnic - comprising mainly tall trees with more shrubs in the understorey; and Implicate - comprising shorter trees and a dense, tangled understorey.
  • Contains at least 15 of Tasmania's 34 identified temperate rainforest communities (National Estate listing).

Gondwana link
  • Tarkine myrtle (Nothofagus cunninghamii), leatherwood (Eucryphia lucida) and celerytop pine (Phyllocladus aspleniifolius) provide a link with South America's Patagonia, New Guinea and New Zealand, which - with Tasmania - were part of the super continent Gondwana.

Flora
  • Rainforest, wet and dry eucalypt forest, mixed forest, riverine, heathland, moorland and coastal ecosystems.
  • The wet eucalypt forest areas of the Tarkine "are large enough to be self-sustaining and support ongoing evolutionary processes".
  • Wet eucalypts taller than 41m cover over 2000 hectares.
  • Huon pine: The southern reaches of the Tarkine are at the northern limit of the now-rare and protected Huon pine, including five of the seven Huon pine rainforest communities recognised in Tasmania (National Estate listing). About 300 hectares of Huon pine exists in the Pieman River catchment. Hydroelectric water storages on the Pieman River drowned significant stands of Huon pine.

Fauna
  • 28 terrestrial mammals (including 24 of Tasmania's 35 endemic mammals), 111 land and freshwater birds, 11 reptiles (half of Tasmania's 20 reptile species, including all three snake species and Tasmania's only dragon species), eight frogs (of Tasmania's 11 amphibian species) and 13 freshwater fish (National Estate listing/2004 proposal).
  • Fauna includes the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), the world's largest extant carnivorous marsupial if the thylacine is extinct.
  • The world's largest freshwater crayfish (Astacopsis gouldi).
  • Almost no introduced predators.
  • Important habitat for birds using the trans-Bassian migratory corridor (including the orange-bellied parrot).

Fossils
  • Tasmania's oldest known fossils - algal stromatolite fossils (1000 to 700 million years old) - around the Arthur and Julius Rivers.
  • The southern hemisphere's oldest known insect fossils (also the world's only known insect fossils in sediments of true glacial origin).