- 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
Vegetation communities of the Newnes Plateau
General patterns and past paleo history
Vegetation on the Newnes Plateau is very diverse and includes structural formations of forest, woodland, heath and shrubswamp, as well as areas of planted pine forest. Vegetation patterns are related to geology, topography, soils and hydrology. Forest is found on the deeper soils of the upper plateau with the highest rainfall, and in deep canyons on the edge of the Plateau. This grades into woodland on shallower soil. Very shallow areas of soil around the margins of the plateau and on high rocky tops have heath while the margins of the plateau terminate in characteristic sandstone pagoda formations. Long narrow low-slope valleys have accumulations of sediment and peat with permanently moist shrub swamp.
The imprint of past climatic factors is strong, and recent work has begun to probe some of their impacts over the last 20,000 years. The Newnes Plateau is the highest part (up to 1200 m) of the sandstone plateau systems that makes up the Blue Mountains and includes features not found elsewhere, including elongate plateau swamps, and soft sandy plateaus with some interesting remnant sand dunes. These dunes have only been recently recognised, despite the Newnes Plateau being an important site for botanical study since the early 20th century. A recent geomorphological study of the dunes by Hesse et al. 2003 provides strong evidence of the landscape and by implication the vegetation at the time of the last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years bp. Hesse et al. conclude that the sand dunes found on the Newnes Plateau indicate sparse vegetation, presumably above the treeline, at the Last Glacial Maximum and that remnant stands of trees must have survived through the cold glacial interval, perhaps only in deep moist valleys. Elsewhere, above the treeline or in the greatly expanded steppe-like vegetation of lower areas, sand dunes demonstrate that vegetation was sparse and unlike the thick alpine meadows of today.
There have also been recent palynological studies for a sites on the Newnes Plateau, in Newnes State Forest (Chalson & Martin 2009) and Gooches Crater (Black & Mooney 2006) which provide pollen and charcoal records over the last 12,000 years.
Below are details of the main structural habitats, forest, heath, pagoda, swamps and vegetation communities on the Newnes Plateau with images showing different aspects of each community.
Vegetation communities on the Newnes Plateau have been included in the NSW Office of Envirnment and Heritage (formerly the Department of Environment and Conservation) study, The Vegetation of the Western Blue Mountains including the Capertee, Coxs, Jenolan & Gurnang Areas. It contains descriptions with structural information, diagnostic species and maps. This information is available here.
Links to individual communities on the Newnes Plateau area given below: