The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, formerly known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, are the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest in the world. Collectively, the rainforests are a World Heritage Site with 50 separate reserves totalling 366,500 hectares from Newcastle to Brisbane, clustered around the New South Wales – Queensland border.
The Gondwana Rainforests are so-named because the fossil record indicates that when Gondwana existed it was covered by rainforests containing the same kinds of species that are living today. Not all Gondwanan rainforests in Australia are located in the New South Wales – Queensland region; the largest Gondwanan rainforest in Australia is located in Tasmania's Tarkine wilderness. The number of visitors to the Gondwana rainforest reserves in New South Wales and Queensland is about 2 million per year.
The World Heritage status of the region was created and negotiated initially in 1986, with the area extended in 1994.
The forests were inscribed to the World Heritage list in 1986, covering only the New South Wales sites of approximately 310,800 hectares and extended in 1994 to cover the Queensland sites of approximately 59,200 hectares which is a total of approximately 370,000 hectares. The rainforest reserves have an extremely high conservation value, with more than 200 rare or threatened plant and animal species.
Eight separate areas have been identified as having outstanding heritage significance to Australia and are included on the Australian National Heritage List. The altitude of the reserves ranges from sea level to almost 1,600 metres.
The Queensland areas include the Main Range National Park, at its most northern point; and extending south, the Lamington National Park, Mount Chinghee National Park, Springbrook National Park and Mount Barney National Park.
The New South Wales areas include the Barrington Tops National Park, at its most southern point; and extending north, the Dorrigo National Park, Mount Warning National Park, New England National Park, Mebbin National Park, Nightcap National Park, Border Ranges National Park, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, Washpool National Park, Willi Willi National Park and Werrikimbe National Park.
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