Temperate Forests

Dry Schlerophyll Forest - VicPark, Echuca

Schlerophyll means hard leafed.

Take a walk through the scenic drive.
Note the different plant communities, the fall of the land and how it has been used.
Try and understand what has happened to the land and how this has affected the forest community and species as you walk through.

Biodiversity of Victorian Temperate Forests

Refer to SIMON for the most up to date files and resources.

Natural processes
The scenic drive is a riverine forest. It is subject to seasonal floods.
  • Some areas are less susceptible to floods than others. These area are colonised by Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa). Microcarpa means fine barked.
  • Those area which are regularly flooded are colonised by river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). It can handle weeks of flooding, whereas Grey box cannot.

In the riverine forest in the scenic drive there is a clear
  • Canopy (the layer of leaf cover provided by the trees). Some species of animals live predominantly in tree canopies.
  • Understory (the layer of bushes beneath the trees and above the ground cover).
  • Ground-cover (the layer of living plants and organic matter on the ground).

Canopy species include:
Understory species include:
Ground cover includes:

Find or take pictures of each of these and describe their characteristics.

Keith Stockwell - Indigenous Plants of Northern Victoria and Southern NSWKeith Stockwell - Murray River Park
Keith Stockwell - Barmah Millewa National Park
Australian Government Biodiversity Database - Flora of Australia Online
Australian Native Plants Society - good for information and distribution maps once you have identified your plant
Victorian Resources Online - Salinity Indicator plants
Australia's Floral Emblem - Golden Wattle
NSW Dept Primary Industries - Paddock Plants Fact Sheets

Present the characteristics of and information about these plants and forest communities in an understandable way. (one page)

  • common name + sci name (big bold)
  • family + category
  • distribution map
  • photo near info (at least 2 )
  • botanical description - easy to understand
  • habitat requirements
  • where it grows (works ....)
  • Quality
  • Uses
  • Ecosystem notes

Grey Box bark (Eucalytpus microcarpa)

Grey Box

Grey Box
Eucalyptus microcarpa

River Red Gum - Eucalyptus camaldulensis - leaves nibbled by insects


Golden wattle - Acacia pycnantha

Acacia pycnantha, Golden Wattle, is a shrub or small tree about 4 to 8 metres tall. After the seedling stage, true leaves are absent, their function being performed by phyllodes which are modified flattened leaf stalks lacking leaf blades. The leathery phyllodes are 6 to 20 cm long, broadly lance or sickle-shaped and bright green in colour. In spring large fluffy golden-yellow flower-heads with up to eighty minute sweetly scented flowers provide a vivid contrast with the foliage. The dark brown mature fruit, 7 to 12 cm long, splits along one side to release the seeds.

River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) This type of gum tree demands occasional flooding. If it has not received floodwaters for some time, this species of gum tree becomes stressed and may die. There have been floods where Red Gums grow....so don't build a house amongst Red Gums unless you are prepared to be flooded out!

• Tree growing 15–45 m with a large spreading crown of dull green or greyish-green foliage
• Bark sometimes rough and dark at base; smooth and pale above with patches of cream and grey or yellow/pink/green tones
• Buds in clusters of 5–11, caps with distinctive pinched points; flowers small, cream, July to February; seed capsules up to 9 mm across

• The eucalypt with the largest distribution and range across Australia; grows along inland watercourses and on adjacent low country that is inundated occasionally, or where subsurface water is available
• Prefers deep moist subsoils with higher clay content
Acacia pycnantha, Golden Wattle, is a shrub or small tree about 4 to 8 metres tall. After the seedling stage, true leaves are absent, their function being performed by phyllodes which are modified flattened leaf stalks lacking leaf blades. The leathery phyllodes are 6 to 20 cm long, broadly lance or sickle-shaped and bright green in colour. In spring large fluffy golden-yellow flower-heads with up to eighty minute sweetly scented flowers provide a vivid contrast with the foliage. The dark brown mature fruit, 7 to 12 cm long, splits along one side to release the seeds.

Gold Dust Wattle - Acacia acinacea

Chinese scrub - Cassinia

Bushy or straggly open shrub, 0.3–2 m tall
• Branches may be arching, or stiff and upright; stems smooth or hairy, somewhat angled at extremities
• ‘Leaves’ are extremely variable; rounded or elongated, smooth or hairy, 5–20 mm long, 3–10 mm wide, with a soft point at the tip
• Golden-yellow ball flowerheads (1–2 per leaf axil) are profuse from August to October
• Seed pods are rough, twisted and coiled many times, 3–7 cm long
Drooping Chinese Scrub (Cassinia arcuata). Contrary to popular belief, this plant is native... and it is a good colonising plant, protecting other species until they can become established. If a fire occurs, it burns fiercely, however.


Old Man Saltbush - Atriplex nummularia
This drought-tolerant plant can survive on salty land and sheep which graze on it produce meat which some restaurants are prepared to pay a premium price for.
Ruby Salt Bush - Enchylaena tomentosaRuby Saltbush ~a prostrate plant with fleshy bluish-coloured leaves and small red berries, favoured by such bush birds as thornbills, Diamond Firetail and Red-browed Finch. Often dismissed as a weed, this plant is worthy of place in any local native garden!


Flax as ground cover on higher ground

Flax plant

Spreading Flax Lily (Dianella admixta) (Formerly Dianella revoluta) is a small plant with sword-like leaves.The leaves resemble those of Agapanthus, a widely-grown introduced weed. But, unlike the large blue blooms of the Agapanthus, the flowers of Flax Lillies are small


Dwarf Native Cherry Exocarpus stricta. This shrub is a semi-parasitic on the roots of River Red Gum and some other plants. It is next to impossible to cultivate and so it is probably necessary to rely on natural regeneration. It is common growing with River Red Gum along local rivers.

2011_10_ScenicDrive - 01.jpg
2011_10_ScenicDrive2 - 1.jpg


Changes due to natural processes.

Refer to SIMON for the most up to date files and resources.

Change can be seen that is...
  • natural:
    • seasonal flooding and drought, Sjesci Floods Info
    • movement of the rivers leading to formation of billabongs and
    • the effect of fire (natural, planned back-burns and campfires).
    • invasive species (desert ash, bridle creeper... )

  • pioneer species
  • climax community
  • ecological succession

  • man-made:
    • planned and unplanned roads,
    • channels,
    • removal or piling of fallen wood,
    • slashing of some areas,
    • building facilities like the toilet block, BBQ's and boat ramp,
    • construction of levee banks,
    • dumping of soil and garden waste,
    • moorings
    • campsites
    • littering

Hydrology = The Study of how water. In this case we will look at River Formation



How floods shape rivers


currrents undercut a redgum at the Campaspe junction (Riv Herald)


gradually changing the river's shape

  • river beds move over time
  • cut and deposit
  • billabongs

Erosion on outside of a river bend.
Deposition on the inside of a river bend.
River red gums can survive having wet feet if floods occur in the spring and do not last too long.
Billabongs are rich sources of biodiversity in river red gum forests.

Impact of human activities on Vic Park


Bridal creeper infestation.


Once it has covered the undergrowth bridal creeper replaces it.

Finally a native pine! There is an old stand of these on the sand hill in Vic Park.

Pausing to record data on the field trip.

Removal of sand has exposed the roots of old trees, making it difficult for them to survive.

Removing the top soil leaves the sand beneath it bare and devoid of its protective nutritious layer.

4WD damage to the sand hill accelerate erosion within the reserve.

Fox burrow.

More 4WD damage.


Huts from year 7 bushcraft or outdoor ed.

Xmind task
Construct a mind map using XMIND with the 9 spatial concepts you learnt last term.
Identify three questions that you have about geographical change in the park and send these and a jpeg of your mind map to your teacher for grading.

In groups, find out data detailing...
  1. the location of Victoria Park (including latitude and longitude, map and google images)
  2. the scale of Victoria Park (in terms of kilometres, square metres)
  3. the distance of Victoria Park (from the city centre, from the nearest bus stop, from the tourist information centre)
  4. the distribution of facilities and natural and man-made features in Victoria Park (sandhill, toilets, boat ramp, BBQ's, moorings, roads and tracks)
  5. the features of the region including Victoria Park (that distinguish it from other areas in the Echuca-Moama district)
  6. how the area has shown spatial change over time. (Features like beaches, forest cover, tracks. Patterns of use over a period of time).
  7. how some of the natural features of Victoria Park have shown movement over time. (river beds, sandhills, billabongs, tree cover).
  8. how natural and man-made features show spatial association. (Strong association between... and ... , weak association between ... and ....).
  9. spatial interaction: how phenomena are related, are influenced by each other and interact in the park.

Combine your information, present, copy and discuss.

Data gathering activity

DATA based on 1m x 1m plots in locations throughout Vic Park

Group Members

Type of vegetation
Photo of plot from above
Victoria Park
Description of plot location (short paragraph)
Ground cover (%)
Litter ( bark, leaves, twigs, dead vegetation)
Total Ground cover (litter + plants)
Species name, photo + description

Changes due to Human Activity

Major changes are planned to the area through the building of a bridge from the western side of Echuca, along the sandhill and next to the boat ramp. This construction will have some impact on the forest in that it alters the use of the land in those areas. For the forest there are potential positive and negative impacts. Can you think of some.
Mid-West Route May 2010

The alignment of the bridge has stirred considerable local interest and emotions as it will affect the quality of life of people whose properties are nearby. Its effects on Vic Park are debated, however, it will make it a noisier place.

Echuca-Moama Bridge Planning Study
Frequently asked questions

Find articles about the bridge. Record the sentiment and the reasoning of the arguments in the articles.

Here is a recent example...


More delays expected for second Murray bridge

Posted Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:26am AEDT

* ****MAP:**** Echuca 3564

A report to the Campaspe Shire indicates new planning studies for a second Murray River bridge at Echuca could take 18 months to complete.
The wrangling over a new bridge linking Echuca and Moama is a long-running saga.
After years of debate, Campaspe councillors voted in late 2009 to support the so-called mid-west option, despite strong community opposition.
However, work on the option was curtailed when the Coalition won last year's Victorian election, having promised to examine a slightly different proposal.
The report for tonight's Campaspe council meeting says work to assess the new option could take 18 months, which will be another significant delay to the project and put further strain on the existing Murray River bridge.
The report also casts doubt on community support for the new option, saying no conclusive study has been completed.
Tags: urban-development-and-planning, local-government, bendigo-3550, echuca-3564,

Revisit the mind map you made earlier. How does the bridge issue affect each geographic concepts.



1976 Echuca Floods - 1 - Version 2.jpg

2004_10_17_train echuca.jpg


2011_08RachelJamievisit - 10.jpg




Echuca-Moama Bridge Info - 17.jpg

Echuca-Moama Bridge Info - 18.jpg