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Native vegetation

Vegetation in the Murray

Vegetation communities in the NSW Murray catchment broadly reflect the altitude, available moisture and land form gradients across the catchment.

Plant species limited to alpine and montane conditions dominate in the east, but are replaced by other species over a relatively short distance within the South Eastern Highlands or the upper NSW South Western Slopes bioregion, depending on the individual species.

Other changes in vegetation composition occur between the lower NSW South Western Slopes and the Riverina bioregions, and between the Riverina and the Murray–Darling Depression.

The NSW South Western Slopes has its own characteristic species, but also mixes with species more characteristic of the South Eastern Highlands (higher altitudes and more moisture) and the Riverina (lower altitudes and drier).

At the local level, vegetation communities are influenced by the underlying substrates (geology and soils). Some vegetation communities are only found on particular types of soils or geological formations; for example, the tall open forest community of broad‑leaved peppermint (Eucalyptus dives), Norton’s box (Eucalyptus nortonii) and red stringy bark (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha) is found only on red clay on hills.

The effects of land management history can be seen in the landscapes of the central and western catchment. Historical and ongoing land clearing has led to changes in vegetation, such as grasslands and areas of scattered trees replacing forest and woodland.