Nature conservation

Threatened species

Cool Temperate Rainforests

Vegetation class map

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Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation class


Simple closed forest. Tree canopy 10-25 m, rarely 40 m tall comprising one or two dominant species with small leaves. Tree ferns and ground ferns dominate the understorey, while a high diversity of mosses and lichens festoon tree trunks and branches, and logs and rocks on the forest floor. Epiphytes and vines are scarce, with only a few species present. There are no palms.


North from Barrington Tops the canopy is dominated by Cryptocarya nova-anglica (mountain laurel), Elaeocarpus holopetalus (black olive berry), Nothofagus moorei (Antarctic beech), and Quintinia sieberi (possumwood), while south from Barrington Tops Acacia melanoxylon (blackwood), Atherosperma moschatum (black sassafras), Doryphora sassafras (sassafras), Elaeocarpus holopetalus and Eucryphia moorei (pinkwood) predominate.


Scattered throughout are Coprosma quadrifida (prickly currant bush) and Hedycarya angustifolia (native mulberry). North from Barrington Tops Aristotelia australasica (mountain wineberry), Orites excelsa (prickly ash), Tasmannia stipitata (northern pepperbush), Trochocarpa sp. A (mountain tree heath) and Vesselowskya rubifolia (southern marara) predominate, while south of this Tasmannia lanceolata (mountain pepperbush) is predominant.


Fieldia australis, Parsonsia brownii (mountain silkpod), Smilax australis (sarsaparilla).


The understorey is often dominated by Dicksonia antarctica (soft treefern). Also present are Asplenium bulbiferum subsp. gracillimum (mother spleenwort), Blechnum patersonii subsp. patersonii (strap water fern), B. wattsii (hard water fern), Diplazium australe, Grammitis billardieri (finger fern), Histiopteris incisa (bats wing fern), Hymenophyllum cupressiforme (common filmy fern), Microsorum pustulatum subsp. pustulatum, Polystichum proliferum (mother shield fern), Tmesipteris species, Australina pusilla, Drymophila moorei (orange berry), Hydrocotyle pedicellosa, Stellaria flaccida (forest starwort), Uncinia tenella, Veronica notabilis (forest speedwell), Cyperus disjunctus, Gahnia melanocarpa (black-fruited saw-sedge), Lomandra spicata..


Upper Gullies, slopes and summits of misty mountains & plateaux, on granite, siltstone and basalt. Typically above 900 m elevation where orographic effects produce more than 1750 mm of precipitation per year (in northern New South Wales), or as little as 1000 mm (in southern New South Wales). with high rainfall and mist, generally above 800 m elevation on fertile soils derived from basalt.


Scattered on higher parts of the escarpment range from Border Ranges to Barrington Tops to Border Ranges, and south from the Budawang Ranges across the Victorian border. Principally confined to north-east New South Wales and adjacent Lamington tablelands in south-east Queensland. scattered from the Lamington Plateau in south-eastern Queensland down the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range into Victoria.


Rarely forming stands larger than 100 ha. Low to moderate species richness. A major gap in the distribution occurs between Barrington Tops and the Budawang Ranges, but rainforest forms intermediate between Cool and Warm Temperate Rainforests occur within this gap on Robertson Plateau and restricted sites in the Blue Mountains, even in the north where they are much more extensive.   Despite conspicuous differences in some of the dominant species between the north and south, many of the shrub and fern species are the same throughout. Similar in composition to Southern Cool Temperate Rainforests, but distinguished by presence of Nothofagus and some subtropical elements.


Floyd (1990); Keith & Bedward (1999); Clarke et al. (2000)

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the Cool Temperate Rainforests vegetation class.