Key eucalypt info

Key points from the Eucalypts of Northern Australia reports include –

  • Northern Australia hosts the world’s largest intact savanna and it’s dominated by eucalypts
  • Across Australia more than 80% of original eucalypt woodlands have been cleared or heavily modified
  • Eucalypts in the North differ from those in the south: most are pollinated by birds or bats, have lower leaf oils, and some are deciduous
  • There are 188 species of eucalypt in Northern Australia, with 105 of these endemic
  • Eucalypt species richness is highest in the central Kimberley, Top End and northeast Queensland, peaking at 46 species per degree cell on and around the Atherton Tableland
  • 16 eucalypt species are ‘extremely restricted’ in range, with many restricted species in the central Kimberley and southwest of Charters Towers
  • 19 Northern Australian eucalypts are rated using IUCN criteria as Threatened and 9 as Near-Threatened, a result which differs markedly from official ratings
  • 11 eucalypt species are not present in protected areas, 28 species have reservation indices of <10% and 52 species <30%. 12 of 84 eucalypt communities are not within protected areas
  • In the North, the strongest shift in eucalypt species composition is east and west of the Gulf of Carpentaria
  • The biggest threat to eucalypts across the North is land clearing, with more local threats from frequent intense fires
  • For eucalypt conservation in the North it’s important to a) improve recognised Threat listings, b) minimise clearing and establish offsets, c) mange fire, d) improve reservation of identified priorities,  and e) undertake research on e.g. reproductive ecology, pollination ecology and evolutionary relationships.