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Mountain Ash:
Mature Trees

Mature Trees

mature forest
Mature Forest
Photographer- Thomas Greenwood

Mature Mountain Ash trees reach maximum height of 60-100 m after 100-300 years. They have a complex root system of wide-spreading lateral roots with sinker roots. They reach maximum leaf production and leaf litter production. Tree hollows form. There is an average of 40-80 trees per hectare at 150 years. There is a thick litter layer on ground (up to 8.1 t/ha) that provides cover for the Agile Antechinus Antechinus agilis and the Bush Rat, Rattus fuscipes. Lyrebirds turn over top soil. The lizard Niveoscincus coventryi, inhabits all stages of the forest, but is most common in forests aged 50-140 years.

Variation in habitat is important in the forest. Snakes are present in most forest stages, although like other reptiles which require the suns' heat to become active, they tend to congregate around suitable basking sites. Amphibians are dependent on suitable feeding sites, so some frog species, such as Litoria ewingii, tend to be near small streams or semi permanent water holes (such as fire dams). Other frogs, such as Crinia signifera, Geocrinia victoriana and Pseudophryne bibroni, tend to breed in ephemeral areas, and often use old logging sites where they 'nest' in ruts and under bark. The ground-layer invertebrate fauna is dominated by springtails, mites, spiders, ants, beetles, flies and wasps, and to a lesser extent, centipedes, millipedes, amphipods and isopods.

Tree hollows are essential as nest sites for many vertebrates such as the maternal colonies of some forest bats, the Agile Antechinus Antechinus agilis, and large owls such as the Sooty Owl Tyto tenebricosa. Eight species of arboreal marsupials live in holes in Mountain and Alpine Ash forests: the Feathertail Glider Acrobates pygmaeus, the Sugar Glider Petaurus breviceps, Leadbeater's Possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri, Yellow-bellied Glider, Petaurus australis, Common Ringtail, Pseudocheirus peregrinus, Greater Glider, Petauroides volans, Mountain Brushtail Possum, Trichosurus caninus and Eastern Pygmy Possum, Cercartetus nanus.

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