Australia’s Gondwana Rainforests protect more than 200 rare or threatened plant and animal species.
Site: Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
Year Designated: 1986
Criteria: (viii), (ix), (x)
Reason: The protected areas include the world’s largest subtropical rain forest, a remnant of the rain forest-covered ancient supercontinent of Gondwana.
Australia’s Gondwana Rainforests are a living snapshot of history, an echo of the days when rain forests covered the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. In the remaining rainforest enclaves, where green canopies surround ancient volcanic craters and rushing rivers are punctuated by crashing waterfalls, visitors might well feel themselves transported to another era.
Gondwana was a giant landmass comprising what later became Africa, Antarctica, Australia, South America, and the Indian subcontinent. Forty-five million years ago, Australia separated from Antarctica, which drifted south and froze as Australia drifted north—a northward trajectory that continues gradually today.