Meet the in­hab­i­tants of Aus­tralia’s most iconic tree

World of Animals - - Front Page - Words Vic­to­ria Wil­liams

An iconic im­age of Aus­tralia is the koala munch­ing away at eu­ca­lyp­tus leaves, but these trees are vi­tal to many other an­i­mals too, in­clud­ing en­demic and en­dan­gered species.

Evolv­ing from rain­for­est trees to cope with drought and a lack of nu­tri­ents, eu­ca­lypts are hardy plants from three gen­era – Eu­ca­lyp­tus, Co­rym­bia and An­gophora – able to sur­vive in ar­eas un­in­hab­it­able to other species.

Eu­ca­lypt forests com­prise around 900 dif­fer­ent trees and make up three­quar­ters of Aus­tralia’s na­tive forests. The trees, also known as gum trees, can live for hun­dreds of years and grow to over 70 me­tres (229.7 feet) tall, cre­at­ing vast canopies or open forests for birds and climb­ing an­i­mals to ex­plore. The un­der­storey and for­est floor are just as busy, filled with an­i­mals that make their homes in the shel­ter of the trees.

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