Lord Howe Island subtropical forests

Australia

A crescent-shaped volcanic island ecoregion comprised of subtropical coastal to montane rainforest vegetation, fringed with coastal mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs.

Lord_Howe_Island-map

Status

Protection
0 %

Size

15 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​

 

Background – CC Attribution 2.5 Generic – Fanny Schertzer, 2006 / Map – Public Domain – M. Minderhoud, 2006

ACT
Help your Ecoregion
So what can you do to help your ecoregion? Below is a list to help you support your ecoregion, while also achieving life's everyday tasks. Don’t underestimate your power in doing good for nature!

PRODUCTS

Services

Accommodation: Lord Howe Island Accommodation

At Home
Below is a list of actions you can easily take at home to minimise your impact on the ecoregion in which you live, and the rest of the planet too!
In your Garden
Below is a list of native plants and habitat creation tips you can use in your garden or on your property to give your ecoregion and its species a boost!

CANOPY LAYER

Plant Sallywood (Lagunaria patersonia) and if you have space, Scalybark Tree (Syzygium fullagarii) and Lord Howe Banyan (Ficus macrophylla subsp. columnaris). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds, growing native vines up your trees and creating hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SUB-CANOPY LAYER

Plant native palm species endemic to the island such as Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) and Curly Palm (Howea belmoreana), along with Forky-tree (Pandanus forsteri), Fitzgerald Tree (Dracophyllum fitzgeraldii) and Stinkwood (Coprosma putida). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.

SHRUB LAYER

Plant native shrubs such as Lord Howe Tea-tree (Melaleuca howeana) and Mountain Rose (Metrosideros nervulosa) to create dense shrubby refugia for birds and mammals. To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.

GROUND LAYER

Plant native groundcover such as diverse ferns (Lastreopsis nephrodioides, Parablechnum howeanum, Asplenium goudeyi and Asplenium milnei) to create a lush ground-layer. Plant native butterfly and other insect foodplants. To create habitat, consider installing a pond or bog-garden with native aquatic and riparian plants like Gahnia howeana and Luzula longiflora, log-piles for sheltering amphibians and reptiles and leave areas of leaf-litter for important insects.

Learn

Around 300km east of the Australian mainland, lies Lord Howe Island. This ancient chain of extinct volcanoes is a small ecoregion, packed with amazing biodiversity. It’s humid, subtropical climate provides for an array of different plant communities ranging from coastal grassy headlands to dense, closed-canopy forests. Atop the highest peaks, the Gnarled Mossy Cloud Forest ecosystem is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, and forms unique assemblages of damp gnarled trees, ferns and mosses. There are 239 species of native plants with 47% of them endemic to the island (found nowhere else on earth). Animals are also specialised with many species having suffered from the invasion of the island by rats and other feral animals with humans. Of the 26 land birds, for example, nine (9) are now extinct.

Ecoregion Structure
The structure of the ecoregion is defined as the key living and non-living features characterising its ecosystems, and the differences between how these ecosystems are arranged. For example, layers of vegetation, geology, habitat features and landscapes.

Geology

Extinct volcanic island chain

Climate

Subtropical

Iconic Landscapes

Native plant communities

Scenes by @blueringmedia
Ecoregion Composition
The composition of the ecoregion is defined as the biodiversity that inhabits its ecosystems, and the differences between this biodiversity. For example, communities, populations, species, subspecies and genetic traits.
Keystone Species​
Keystone species are those that have a disproportionately large effect on the ecosystems in which they live, relative to their natural abundance there. In other words, species with a really important role in the health of ecosystems.
Flagship Species
Flagship species are those that are chosen by people to represent a wider conservation message, usually for a given place or social context, and as such often carry conservation messages for wider biodiversity.

Lord Howe Giant Stick-insect
(Dryococelus australis)

Lord Howe Woodhen
(Hypotaenidia sylvestris)

Recently Extinct Species
All around the world, biodiversity is declining at a concerning rate. For some species it's already too late, and they have disappeared from the ecoregions they once called home. These are some examples of those lost species.

Lord Howe Fantail
(Rhipidura cervina)

Lord Howe Thrush
(Turdus vinitinctus)

Ecoregion Function
The function of the ecoregion is defined as how its structural and compositional components all work together to form ecological relationships and processes which change over time through geological shifts and evolution by natural selection.

Keystone Relationships

Birds like boobies, shearwaters and petrels produce droppings around their island nest-sites which are high in phosphates. As they break down into the soil, these phosphates are used by specialised plants to grow.

Life-support Systems​

Biodiversity is fundamental to a healthy planet and thriving communities, but the world's species are under tremendous threat.