On the 24th session of UNESCO that held its sittings in the city of Cairns in year 2000, The Greater Blue Mountains Area, located in New South Wales Australia, was declared a World Heritage Site. This may not sound like a very significant agenda for the UN body tasked with science, environment and education; but only because you may not know what this region hosts. Here is your chance to learn.
During the Cenozoic Era, a lot of natural processes happened on planet earth. The most significant one is called the Gondwana Separation that included separation of Australia and Antarctica. The post Gondwana separation is one characterized with proliferation of flora and fauna on the Australian continental shelf. One of those fauna phenomenons is located in the Greater Blue Mountains Area where the evolutionary process of Eucalyptus is easily studied from 91 taxa of the tree.
The Greater Blue Mountain Area is nestled on a sandstone plateau and includes 8 protected areas that include a national reserve and 7 national parks. They include;
The Greater Blue Mountains Area is not a mountainous region perse, but most of the plateau lies at about 100 meters to 1300 meters above the sea level. The plateau has allowed proliferation of a rich biodiversity even in the face of climatic changes.
Of all the plants that you can find here, the Eucalyptus survives the best. It seems the tree can survive in heathlands, swamps, wetlands as well as grasslands. The area is home to 91 species of the Eucalyptus tree, which is about 13 percent of the total species found on earth.
Of course there is also one of the rarest trees in the world – The Wollemi Pine – that was recently discovered in the remote and inaccessible crests of the region. The tree was thought to have been extinct for millions of years. It was indeed a refreshing surprise to rediscover it.
Fauna species found in the Greater Blue Mountain Area include endemic species such as koala, long nosed potoroo, green and golden bell frog, Blue Mountain water skink spotted tailed quoll and yellow-bellied glinder. Trust me; a tour of this area will be one of your most unforgettable experiences!