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1- Characteristics of different outdoor environments

Fast Facts-
• Australia is the sixth largest country
• It comprises a land area of over 7 million km2
• This is equal to 5% of the worlds land area
• It is the flattest and driest inhabited continent in the world
• Its size allows for varying climatic zones, from deserts and
tropical rainforests to grasslands and snow covered
• It is prone to long periods of erosion, inundation, deposition
and glacial action- all resulting in the landforms present
• This makes Australia one of the most biologically diverse
countries on the planet.
In Victoria
 Victoria is unique in Australia- though small in size, it
supports a wider range of biological ecosystems (biomes)
than any area of similar size in Australia.
 These include:

 Victoria's various biomes support a high level of biodiversity.

This includes at least 3140 species of vascular plant, 900
lichens, 750 mosses, 111 mammals, 447 birds, 46 freshwater
and 600 marine fish, 133 reptiles, 33 amphibians and
countless invertebrates, fungi and algae.

Biodiversity = the number and variety of

organisms found within a specified area
Factors affecting outdoor environments
The type of outdoor environment that exists within a specific
location is the result of the interaction of three key factors:



Position & Aspect

Details of these three factors are on pg.70 – Summarise these

factors in your work books.
How do these factors interact?
Lets look at the alpine environment-
Geology- Alpine areas are generally rocky with poor soil.
While Australia is predominantly flat, alpine areas very high- at
least 1300m above sea level. Our mountains are old, flat
topped and are continually worn down by erosion.
Climate- The height above sea level creates a unique
climate. High rainfall and great seasonal variation – hot dry
summers, cold winters with snow covering the ground for
around a third of the year.
Position & Aspect- Alpine areas can only occur in
mountainous regions, all of these are in the south east of
Australia, along the southern end of the Great Dividing
Range. Its position far enough south exposes it to weather
from the southern ocean.
Affect on the Alps
 Erosion has shaped the Australian Alps, the mountain tops
are rounded and flat.
 They are vegetated in heath and herb plants and the
unique sphagnum bogs that have adapted to the poor soils
and varied climate.
 The only tree occurs in alpine areas is eucalyptus
pauciflora, the snowgum.
 It is also home to the only
hibernating marsupial, the
mountain pygmy possum,
which has adapted to
survive the alpine
Learning Activity – Australian ecosystems
1. Identify and describe how the different factors have
influenced the environments present in the Grampians.
2. In small groups- build on the biomes posters created
earlier this year.

3. Use information from all of the posters to complete the

table below, summarising the characteristics of each type
of outdoor environment