North Queensland Naturalist 49: 25-33

Abstract

Australian tall eucalypt forests have been the subject of awe and admiration since early colonial days. In the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, such forest occurs in transitional or ecotonal patches between rainforests and open woodland savannas. Rainforest species are commonly interpreted to be encroaching into the understorey of these tall eucalypt forests, namely those with statuesque Rose Gum (Eucalyptus grandis) dominants. This has led to concerns for the long term persistence of E. grandis forests, and ongoing debates over their need for active fire management. In this essay, I highlight the enigmatic ecology of these ecotonal forest habitats, and make the case that the management of these habitats should be grounded in ecological principles within a broader perspective of patterns in global vegetation change.