Littoral rainforest is a coastal rainforest. It is a distinct type of rainforest that is well suited to living in the harsh salt laden and drying wind conditions on the coast. It is now estimated that a majority of the littoral rainforest, which was in NSW 200 years ago, has been destroyed or severely degraded. Clearing, development and sand mining have attributed to this. This has led to the requirement to protect the remaining stands of littoral rainforest.
Littoral rainforests occur on sand dunes and soils derived from underlying rocks. Littoral rainforest generally occurs where protection is afforded from the direct coastal winds and they can be found in dune swales and behind hind dunes and headlands. When located in areas such as exposed headlands and dunal areas they are usually displayed as wind pruned thickets. Littoral rainforests are usually found within two kilometres of the sea but can be found further inland where there is influence from the ocean.
Littoral Rainforest Common Tree Species
Littoral rainforest tree canopy species in the Ballina Shire area are dominated but not restricted to the Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anarcardioides) and the Guioa (Guioa semiglauca). Many other trees species are found within littoral rainforests in the Ballina Shire. These can include the Lilly Pilly (Acmena smithii), Beach Alectyron (Alectyron coriaceus), Coogera (Arytera divaricata), Red Kamala (Mallotus philippensis), Hard Quandong (Elaeocarpus obovatus) and the Three-Veined Cryptocarya (Cryptocarya triplinervis).
Locations of Littoral Rainforests within Ballina Shire
Some locations where existing littoral rainforest remnants can be viewed include;
- The Lennox Head area - particularly on the edges of the coastal escarpments and at Boulder Beach.
- The East Ballina area - particularly at Flat Rock, Angels Beach and the Shaws Bay escarpment.
- The South Ballina area - various locations along the Richmond River.
Protection of Littoral Rainforests
Due to the fragmented nature and conservation significance of the remaining littoral rainforests, legislative protection has been afforded to them through "State Environmental Planning Policy No 26 - Littoral Rainforests" and as a listed endangered ecological community under the "Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995". For more information about this protection please contact either Ballina Shire Council, the Department of Environment and Conservation - National Parks and Wildlife Service or the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources.