Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Warm-temperate rainforests

Compared with Tropical and Subtropical Rainforests, Warm-temperate Rainforests grow at higher altitudes, in cooler climates and on less fertile soils. They occur from northern Queensland’s Atherton Tableland to eastern Victoria’s Gippsland. The key features of Warm-temperate Rainforests are order and uniformity. The most characteristic species of these rainforests are Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) a relative of the NSW Christmas Bush, Sassafras (Doryphora sassafras) and various members of the family Lauraceae. On slightly more fertile soils, or in southern, cooler locations, the Southern Sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum) may be more common. At the southern end of the range, Lilly Pilly (Acmena smithii) replaces Coachwood.

Characteristic features of warm-temperate rainforests include:

  • two tree layers usually present
  • vegetation less diverse than in Subtropical Rainforests with three to 15 species making up the canopy    layer
  • leaf size on average smaller than in Subtropical Rainforests. Leaves are usually simple and with toothed margin
  • absence of buttresses
  • thick woody vines replaced by thin wiry vines
  • palms and stranglers rare or absent
  • large epiphytes and vines present but usually neither abundant or diverse
  • trees of medium size mostly with slender trunks and a smooth grey bark mottled with lichens
  • ferns common

Warm temperate rainforests
Features of Warm-Temperate Rainforests