Wildlife of the Australian Rainforests isn’t the type of book I would typically read. I prefer guides dedicated to specific regions or species. However, I found myself really enjoying this guide.
This book focuses on significant wildlife-watching sites in rainforests across Australia. It gives readers an overview of entire ecosystems.
It is a comprehensive and inspiring read that will give naturalists many ideas for new places to visit.
The Book Is Organized According To Bioregions
The book is sections for each state. All states bar South Australia and the ACT are included.
The rainforests are then organized into 22 bioregions. According to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, a bioregion is ‘a land area made up of a group of interacting ecosystems that are repeated in similar form across the landscape.’ Each bioregion is then broken up into sections featuring an introduction to the region, species profiles and significant wildlife sites.
The idea of bioregions is compelling. It groups smaller wildlife sites based on how similar ecosystems interact over a larger area. This allows you to think on a larger scale when planning trips. You can get ideas about multiple places to visit in a specific bioregion and get inspiration for further research. There were times when this didn’t quite mesh – such as The Otways inclusion in the Southern Eastern Highlands bioregion. Many animals featured in that section are found at just one wildlife site, such as the Otway black snail. This isn’t a criticism of the guide, which is a great foundation. It just shows that the book should be considered a starting point and that you should do additional research.
Each bioregion is organized into:
- An introduction
- Species Profiles
- Significant wildlife watching sites
There are two pages at the start of each chapter giving an overview of that bioregion. This has a brief introduction to the region, a list of key wildlife watching sites, and key species. The key species are organized into: birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.
The first page had a map that showed a visual overview of the specific sites. The rest of the overview had information on different habitat types.
The majority of each chapter is dedicated to profiles of the species found in that bioregion. There are two species profiles per page. Each profile includes a brief description and an image. The description provides identification tips, behaviour and tips for finding them.
The amount of species featured varies depending on the bioregion. Some of the larger areas had over 50 whereas, the smaller ones had just 8. A wide variety of species are featured: there is a healthy mixture of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates. The species vary from the common to the obscure; the common thread was that they highlighted something interesting about that bioregion. The invertebrates had a strong focus on butterflies and crayfish; however, they included other interesting species. I appreciated this, as invertebrates often fly under the radar for many naturalists.
Significant wildlife watching sites
The end of each chapter had smaller profiles dedicated to the significant wildlife watching site in that bioregion. These profiles cover two pages and give a brief overview of the site.
These pages include:
- GPS coordinates
- Key facilities
- Services nearby
- Tips for getting there
- Relevant fees and permits
- Tracks and trails
This is a pretty solid overview in a limited amount of pages. It isn’t enough for trip planning, but it will give you a lot of ideas. I especially appreciated the tips for tracks and trails to explore.
Do I recommend it?
I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. The focus on a specific ecosystem allowed me to make connections I hadn’t noticed before and has renewed my interest in certain locations.
I recommend this book to any nature enthusiast. It is great for naturalists at all levels of experience and would make a great gift. It should be an essential guide for anyone interested in rainforests.