Mallee, where is?

Following on from my last blog post, ‘Mallee, what is?‘, I thought I would briefly introduce some geographic context to my mallee musings with ‘Mallee, where is?‘…

The Mallee is on Earth, in Australia, in Victoria, NSW, SA and WA.

‘Mallee’ is a vegetation that is typically mapped based on the biogeography of dominant ‘mallee’ eucalypts. It is uniquely Australian, with large tracts of open scrub mallee occurring in north west Victoria, south west NSW, south SA and south east WA.

National Parks in and around the Mallee region

In the east of Australia, the mallee  is restricted to sand plains and sand dunes of the  of the Murray basin, and large tracts of remnant mallee vegetation occur across Victoria, NSW and SA.

In Victoria, good places to see mallee type vegetation are The Little Desert, Wyperfeld, Big Desert and Murray Sunset National Parks.

Sometimes referred to as ‘Victoria’s Deserts’ these parks contain a rich diversity of flora and fauna…. as well as quite a bit of sand.

Sand dunes are a prominent feature of the mallee landscape and are clearly visible from satellite imagery.  The Murray Basin has a complex geological history, but broadly speaking many landscape features visible today  were established in the Pliocene and early Holocene due to marine and fluvial deposition, as inland seas expanded and retreated.

Murray Sunset NP and east west sand dune formations, both clearly visible from sat imagery

I will be mainly working in Murray Sunset National Park, which has a diverse vegetation driven by changing soil types across the region.  What does this look like from the ground? Some major plant families in the area include Myrtaceae, Chenopodiaceae and Myoporaceae … stay tuned for more info on these plant families in future posts.

For now, heres a sampler of some of the plants you might see in this region:

From top left: Lomandra leucocephala (Xanthorrhoeaceae), Eremophila sp. (Myoporaceae), Zygophyllum apiculatum (Zgyophyllaceae), Enchylaena tomentosa (Chenopodiaceae), Maireana sp (Chenopodiaceae), Eremophila sp. (Myoporaceae), Scaveola spinescens (Goodeniaceae), Eucalpytus sp. (Mrytaceae) and Goodenia sp. (Goodeniaceae)

References:
  • Noble, J. C. & Bradstock, Ross Andrew. & CSIRO.  (1989).  Mediterranean landscapes in Australia : mallee ecosystems and their management.  East Melbourne, Vic. :  CSIRO.
  • National Mallee Conference. & Noble, J. C. & Joss, P. J. & Jones, G. K. & CSIRO.  (1990).  The Mallee lands : a conservation perspective : proceedings of the National Mallee Conference, Adelaide, April, 1989.  Melbourne :  CSIRO Australia.
  • White, M., A. Oates, et al. (2003). “The vegetation of north-west Victoria: a report to the Wimmera, North Central and Mallee catchment management authorities.” Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Melbourne.
  • For mallee related photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cracoo/ and Google Earth.
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