- Evolutionary ecology research
- Australian rainforest - evolutionary ecology
- Australian rainforest through time
- Biodiversity adaptation transect
- Botany of Botany Bay
- Ceratopetalum - Phylogenetic relationships
- Conservation genetics
- Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland
- Eucalypts: adaptive variation vs vicariance
- Floristic Lists of NSW
- Habitat fragmentation
- Isopogon prostratus - ecology
- Liverpool Plains grasslands
- Native plants of Sydney Harbour NP
- Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamps
- Plants of the Newnes Plateau
- Plants, vegetation, landscape, country
- Podocarpus elatus - rainforest conifer
- Post-glacial range shift
- Proteaceae - natural hybridisation
- Proteaceae - shifting species boundaries
- Proteaceae - speciation
- Rainforest diversity
- Testing speciation models
- Horticultural research
- Plant diversity research
- Plant pathology research
- Herbarium & resources
- Scientific publications
Climate, physical features and habitats
Climate has a major impact on Cumberland Plain Woodland ecology; rainfall and temperature patterns have a strong and direct influence on vegetation.
Averaging rainfall figures for recording stations in the Australian Botanic Garden area gives a long-term average of about 730 mm per annum for the period 1850 to 1960, with a higher average of about 830 mm for 1950 to 2004. Rainfall since 2000 has been considerably lower with all years (up to 2006) receiving less than 700 mm (based on records for Eaglevale). Recent figures are well below all long-term averages.
Long-term average annual rainfall records are 747 mm at Campbelltown (period 1845-1961); 764 mm at Camden (Bowling Club) (1883-1968); 683 mm at Menangle (Camden Park) (1878-1968); 828 mm for Camden Airport (1943-2004); 830 mm at Campbelltown Swimming Centre (1959-1984).
Mean monthly rainfall peaks in February (99 mm) and March (94 mm), and is lowest in September (43 mm) (based on Camden Airport records 1943-2004).
Temperatures are important for seed germination. Air temperatures are hottest in January with a mean daily maximum of 29.2 °C and a highest recorded maximum of 45 °C. Temperatures are coldest in July with a mean daily minimum of 2.9 °C and a lowest recorded minimum temperature of -6 °C (based on Camden Airport records).
We have recently begun monitoring soil surface and subsurface temperatures, in shaded and unshaded sites in the woodland, to relate laboratory experimental work to field conditions. For images and graphs of recent climatic events go to Climate picture gallery. You can also see today's weather details at the Australian Botanic Garden.
Diary of seasonal conditions
To give an idea of seasonal conditions in the woodland we’ve included a month by month account based on Jocelyn Howell's diary records in 2001-2003, with some delightful illustrations by Nancy Rollason. If you would like to look at this diary see A Year in the Woodland.
Soils and geology
The Conservation Research Woodland occupies a gentle east-facing slope from a ridge running along Mount Annan Drive about 130 m elevation to Mount Annan Creek (110 m elevation), a change in elevation of about 20 m.
Soils are derived from Bringelly shales in the Wianamatta Group, and are yellow podzolic on the hillside with some alluvium along Annan Creek.
While the woodland vegetation has been our main area of interest, sites with particular soil, topographic or past management conditions within the general woodland context provide localised habitats and microhabitats for particular plant species . These are important to maintain the full range of local biodiversity. Within the woodland localised habitats include
Away from the woodland are other important habitat areas including
Asterisk * indicates exotic species naturalised at Mount Annan Botanic Garden.