Shore & Coastal Forest

About Shore and Coastal Forest

Despite high rainfall much coastal land is covered by open forests. Canopy trees allow sufficient light to penetrate for a diverse understory of small trees, scrubs, vines and grasses to flourish. These forest merge with rainforest at higher altitudes, often with a very distinct boundary maintained by fire. Although subject to naturally occurring fire, it is likely that these forests originated over thousands of years through planned burning by aboriginal people. Controlled burning attracts much controversy in Australia and is far from an exact science. Arson often complicates issues. Too frequent burning may damage biodiversity and create favourable conditions for significant environmental weeds. Inadequate burning will increase fuel loads and may create very damaging wild fire conditions. Ultimately lack of burning will result in large areas of open coastal forest being reclaimed by rainforest with the resulting change in flora and fauna.

Trees in these forests are far less diverse than rainforest being dominated by a few species of Eucalypts and Acacias and there is much overlap with species found in the inland wet and dry sclerophyll forests. Close to the shore flora has to deal with very harsh conditions in the form of saline spay, strong trade winds and very poor quick drying soils. However diversity in species increases here with some overlap with species also present in rainforest.

Mangrove forests also cover significant areas. Queensland has 4,600 square kilometres or 40 per cent of the habitat within Australia. The greatest number of mangrove species (34) are found in north Queensland. Mangroves are a highly productive system and provide a rich habitat for birds, reptiles and many groups of Arthropods. Once cleared without thought, it is now known that this ecosystem is a nursery for numerous fish and Arthropods, including many commercially important species. Most mangrove systems are now protected.

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Beach Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) (left)
Beach Pandan (Pandanus tectorius) (right)

Beach Pandan (Pandanus tectorius)

Coconut Palms (Cocus nucifera)

Beach Almond (Terminalia catappa)
Bat's Wing Coral Tree (Erythrina vespertilio)

Sea Lettuce Tree (Scaevola taccada)

Goats Foot Morning Glory (Impomea pres-carpa)

Grey Samphire (Tecticornia australasica)

Cottonwood (Hibiscus tiliaceus)

Bay Bean (Canavalia maritima)

Native Lasiandra (Melastoma malabathricum)

Blush Macaranga (Macaranga tanarius)

Blush Macaranga (Macaranga tanarius)

Morton Bay Ash (Corymbia tessellaris)

River Lily (Crinium pendunculatum)

River Lily (Crinium pendunculatum) Flower
Beach Calophyllum (Calophyllum inophyllum)

Beach Calophyllum (Calophyllum inophyllum) Flower
Fan Palm (Licuala ramsayii)

Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla)
Velvet Bean Tree (Cassia tormentella)
Velvet Bean Tree (Cassia tormentella)
Flower and pod detail.
Red Beach (Dillenia alta)

Mangrove Forest
Predominantly Yellow Mangrove (Ceriops tagal)

Red Mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa)

Cannonball Mangrove (Xylocarpus granatum)
Thick-leaved Rhaphidophora
(Rhaphidophora hayi)
Cedar Bay Cherry (Eugenia reinardtiana)