Greater Blue Mountains Area

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Greater Blue Mountains Area
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Jamison Valley, Blue Mountains, Australia - Nov 2008.jpg
A view over Jamison Valley, in 2008.
Location New South Wales, Australia
Criteria Natural: (ix), (x)
Reference 917
Inscription2000 (24th Session)
Area1,032,649 ha (2,551,730 acres)
Buffer zone86,200 ha (213,000 acres)
Coordinates 33°42′S150°0′E / 33.700°S 150.000°E / -33.700; 150.000 Coordinates: 33°42′S150°0′E / 33.700°S 150.000°E / -33.700; 150.000
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Location of Greater Blue Mountains Area in New South Wales
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Greater Blue Mountains Area (Australia)

The Greater Blue Mountains Area is a World Heritage Site located in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The 1,032,649-hectare (2,551,730-acre) area was placed on the World Heritage List at the 24th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Cairns in 2000. [1]

Contents

Etymology

When the atmospheric temperature of the region rises, the essential oil from the eucalyptus species evaporates and disperses in the air, causing visible spectra of sunlight to scatter. The scattering causes the shorter wavelength colours (blue) to propagate more than the longer wavelength colours (red). This causes reflections from the mountains to appear bluish to human eyes, giving the mountain region their signature name, "Blue Mountains". [2]

Description

The Greater Blue Mountains Area consists of 10,300 square kilometres (4,000 sq mi), of mostly forested landscape on a sandstone plateau 60 to 180 kilometres (37 to 112 mi) inland from the Sydney central business district. [3] The area includes vast expanses of wilderness and is equivalent in area to almost one-third the size of Belgium, [4] or twice the size of Brunei. [5]

The property, which includes eight protected areas in two blocks separated by a transportation and urban development corridor, is made up of seven national parks as well as the famous Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve. These are the Blue Mountains National Park, Wollemi National Park, Yengo National Park, Nattai National Park, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Gardens of Stone National Park and Thirlmere Lakes National Park.

The area does not contain mountains in the conventional sense, but is described as a deeply incised sandstone plateau rising from less than 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level to 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) at the highest point. There are basalt outcrops on the higher ridges. This plateau is thought[ by whom? ] to have enabled the survival of a rich diversity of plant and animal life by providing a refuge from climatic changes during recent geological history. It is particularly noted for its wide and balanced representation of eucalypt habitats from wet and dry sclerophyll, mallee heathlands, as well as localised swamps, wetlands, and grassland. Ninety-one species of eucalypts (thirteen percent of the global total), occur in the Greater Blue Mountains Area. Twelve of these are believed to occur only in the Sydney sandstone region.

Flora

The area has been described as a natural laboratory for studying the evolution of the eucalypts. The largest area of high diversity of eucalypts on the continent is located in southeast Australia. The Greater Blue Mountains Area includes much of this eucalypt diversity.

As well as supporting such a significant proportion of the world's eucalypt species, the area provides examples of the range of structural adaptations of the eucalypts to Australian environments. These vary from tall forests at the margins or rainforest in the deep valleys, through open forests and woodlands, to shrublands of stunted mallees on the exposed tablelands.

The Greater Blue Mountains Area also contains relict species of global significance. The most famous of these is the recently discovered Wollemi pine, a "living fossil" dating back to the age of the dinosaurs. Thought to have been extinct for millions of years, the few surviving trees of this ancient species are known only from three small populations located in remote, inaccessible gorges within the area. The Wollemi pine is one of the world's rarest species.

Fauna

More than 400 different kinds of animals live within the rugged gorges and tablelands of the Greater Blue Mountains Area. These include threatened or rare species of conservation significance, such as the tiger quoll, the koala, the yellow-bellied glider and the long-nosed potoroo as well as rare reptiles and amphibians including the green and golden bell frog and the Blue Mountain water skink.

The largest predator of the area is the dingo. These wild dogs hunt for grey kangaroos and other prey. [6]

The greater Blue Mountains region has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports a high proportion of the global populations of the range-restricted rockwarbler as well as populations of flame robins, diamond firetails and pilotbirds. The endangered regent honeyeater is seen there regularly. It is also a migration bottleneck for yellow-faced honeyeaters. [7]

UNESCO listing

The Greater Blue Mountains Area was unanimously listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO on 29 November 2000. It thus became the fourth area in New South Wales to be listed. [8] The area totals roughly 10,300 square kilometres (4,000 sq mi), including the Blue Mountains, Kanangra-Boyd, Wollemi, Gardens of Stone, Yengo, Nattai and Thirlmere Lakes National Parks, plus the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve. A buffer zone of 86,200 hectares (213,000 acres) lies outside the protected area. [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blue Mountains (New South Wales)</span> Region in New South Wales, Australia

The Blue Mountains are a mountainous region and a mountain range located in New South Wales, Australia. The region borders on Sydney's metropolitan area, its foothills starting about 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of centre of the state capital, close to Penrith on the outskirts of Greater Sydney region. The public's understanding of the extent of the Blue Mountains is varied, as it forms only part of an extensive mountainous area associated with the Great Dividing Range. As defined in 1970, the Blue Mountains region is bounded by the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers in the east, the Coxs River and Lake Burragorang to the west and south, and the Wolgan and Colo rivers to the north. Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney Basin.

The Protected areas of New South Wales include both terrestrial and marine protected areas. As of June 2020 there are 225 national parks in New South Wales.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blue Mountains National Park</span> Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Blue Mountains National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The 267,954-hectare (662,130-acre) national park is situated approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of Sydney, and the park boundary is quite irregular as it is broken up by roads, urban areas and inholdings. Despite the name mountains, the area is an uplifted plateau, dissected by a number of larger rivers. The highest point in the park is Mount Werong at 1,215 metres (3,986 ft) above sea level; while the low point is on the Nepean River at 20 metres (66 ft) above sea level as it leaves the park.

Gardens of Stone National Park Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Gardens of Stone National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Central Tablelands region of New South Wales in eastern Australia. The 15,080-hectare (37,300-acre) national park is situated 125 kilometres (78 mi) northwest of Sydney, and 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Lithgow. The national park draws its name from the natural stone pagodas within its boundaries.

Kanangra-Boyd National Park Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Kanangra-Boyd National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Central Tablelands region, west of the Southern Highlands and Macarthur regions, in New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The 68,660-hectare (169,700-acre) national park is situated approximately 180 kilometres (110 mi) south-west of Sydney and is contiguous with the Blue Mountains National Park and the Nattai National Park. The park was established in 1969.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nattai National Park</span> Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Nattai National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Macarthur and Southern Highlands regions of New South Wales, in eastern Australia. 48,984-hectare (121,040-acre) It is situated approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) southwest of the Sydney central business district and primarily encompasses the valley of the Nattai River, which is surrounded by spectacular sandstone cliffs. Part of the Southern Highlands Shale Forest and Woodland, the park is covered in dry sclerophyll forest – mostly eucalypt and has fairly frequent forest fires. It is largely an untouched wilderness area and receives very few visitors, as it has virtually no facilities and is fairly remote, despite its proximity to Sydney.

Thirlmere Lakes National Park Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Thirlmere Lakes National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Macarthur region of New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The 629-hectare (1,550-acre) national park is situated approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) southwest of the Sydney central business district, and just to the west of Thirlmere. It was gazetted in 1972 as Thirlmere Lakes State Park, before being subsequently reclassified as a national park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wollemi National Park</span> Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Wollemi National Park is a protected national park and wilderness area that is located in the northern Blue Mountains and Lower Hunter regions of New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The 501,703-hectare (1,239,740-acre) park, the second largest national park in New South Wales, contains the 361,113-hectare (892,330-acre) Wollemi Wilderness – the largest such wilderness area in Australia – and is situated approximately 130 kilometres (81 mi) northwest of Sydney.

Yengo National Park Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Yengo National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Lower Hunter region of New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The 154,328-hectare (381,350-acre) park is situated 85 kilometres (53 mi) northwest of the Sydney central business district, 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of Cessnock, 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of Wisemans Ferry, and 155 kilometres (96 mi) southwest of Newcastle. The average elevation of the terrain is 309 meters.

Boodjamulla National Park Protected area in Queensland, Australia

Boodjamulla National Park, formerly known as Lawn Hill National Park, is a national park in the Shire of Burke, Queensland, Australia. The Riversleigh World Heritage Area is a World Heritage Site within the park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Springbrook National Park</span> Protected area in Queensland, Australia

The Springbrook National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Gold Coast hinterland of Queensland, Australia. The 6,197-hectare (15,310-acre) park is situated on the McPherson Range, near Springbrook, approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Brisbane. The park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jenolan Caves</span> UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Jenolan Caves are limestone caves located within the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve in the Central Tablelands region, west of the Blue Mountains, in Jenolan, Oberon Council, New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The caves and 3,083-hectare (7,620-acre) reserve are situated approximately 175 kilometres (109 mi) west of Sydney, 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Oberon and 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of Katoomba.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Myles and Milo Dunphy</span>

Myles Dunphy and Milo Dunphy were Australian conservationists who played an important role in creating the Australian wilderness movement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan</span>

The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan is a 416-hectare (1,030-acre) botanical garden located in a hilly area of the southwestern Sydney suburb of Mount Annan, between Campbelltown and Camden, New South Wales. It is the largest botanical garden in Australia, specializing in native plants, with a collection of over 4000 species. Officially opened in 1988, it was known as Mount Annan Botanic Garden, until 2011.

The Tonalli River, a perennial river that is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia.

<i>Eucalyptus expressa</i> Species of eucalyptus

Eucalyptus expressa, commonly known as the Wollemi stringybark, is a recently discovered Australian tree species. It has rough, fibrous stringybark on the trunk and larger branches, lance-shaped to curved adult leaves, flower buds in groups of between seven and twenty four and hemispherical to shortened spherical fruit with the valves extending well beyond the rim of the fruit.

Kanangra Creek River in New South Wales, Australia

The Kanangra Creek, a perennial stream of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia.

Blue Mountains Conservation Society Non-governmental environmental organization

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society is an incorporated non-governmental organisation working to protect, conserve, and advocate for the natural environment of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area in New South Wales, Australia. Its work includes the listing and protection of threatened species, populations and ecological communities of the Greater Blue Mountains and campaigns regarding climate change.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands Basalt Forests</span> Ecological community in New South Wales

The Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands Basalt Forests are a sclerophyll temperate forest community that stretch from the northern fringes of the Blue Mountains to the Southern Highlands. Featuring both wet and dry sclerophyll forests, as well as small rainforest pockets, the community features tall (30m+) and open eucalypt forests and woodlands that lie on igneous rock.

References

  1. 1 2 "Greater Blue Mountains Area". World Heritage List. UNESCO. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  2. Hager, Tim (2010). "The Eucalypts of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area: distribution, classification and habitats of the species of Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia (family Myertaceae) recorded in its eight conservation reserves". Cunninghamia. 10 (4): 425.
  3. "Blue Mountains". Visit NSW. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  4. "Land area (sq. km) - Belgium | Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  5. "Land area (sq. km) - Brunei Darussalam | Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  6. Brad V. Purcell (15 September 2010). "A novel observation of dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) attacking a swimming eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)". Australian Mammalogy. Australian Mammalogy 32(2) 201–204 (2): 201. doi:10.1071/AM10001.
  7. "IBA: Greater Blue Mountains". Birdata. Birds Australia. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  8. Gardens of Stone National Park Information Sheet, National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales, October 2001