MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What biome does a koala live in?

Date: Mon May 1 10:53:49 2000
Posted By: June Wingert, RM(NRM),Research Associate
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 955915684.Zo

Hi Melissa,
I am assuming that by saying Biome you are referring to their Habitat.
Habitat' refers to the types of bushland that koalas like to live in.
They are found in a range of habitats, from coastal islands and tall
eucalypt forests to low woodlands inland. Today, they do not live
 in rainforest, although it is thought that millions of years ago, the
ancestors from which today's koalas evolved lived in the
rainforests which covered much of Australia at that time.
 Koala populations only occur if suitable habitat is available. The two most 
important factors which make habitats suitable are (1) the presence of tree 
species preferred by koalas (usually eucalypts, but also some non-eucalypts) 
growing in particular associations on suitable soils with adequate rainfall and 
(2) the presence of other koalas. 

 Research shows that socially stable koala populations occur only when there are 
primary (or favourite) tree species present. Even if a selection of tree species 
known to be used by koalas occurs within an area, it will not support a koala 
population, or at least the koala population will not use it, unless one or two 
favourite species are present. 

 This is one reason why it is not a good idea to rely on a general list of 
preferred koala food trees. Leaving out the key species from tree plantings to 
restore koala habitat, could be a waste of time and effort. 

 With the latest research, it is becoming clear that the koalas' selection of 
tree species influences the social structure of populations and the maintenance 
of each individual koala's home range within the population. A greater 
understanding of the koala's behaviour is a very important factor when 
identifying suitable koala habitat.
 Planning for future protection and management of koala habitat needs to take 
such factors into consideration. 

 Koalas live in societies, just like humans, so they need to be able to come 
into contact with other koalas. Because of this they need to have areas of 
suitable eucalypt forest which are large enough to support a healthy koala 
population and to allow for expansion by maturing young koalas.
The information was taken from the Australian Koala Foundation located at

Thanks for taking the time to send in a question to the MadSci Group

June Wingert
Research Associate
Lexicon Genetics

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