Gondwana Forests of Australia and Archaeological Monuments of Xochicalco
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia is a serial property comprising the major remaining areas of rainforest in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales. It represents outstanding examples of major stages of the Earth’s evolutionary history, ongoing geological and biological processes, and exceptional biological diversity. A wide range of plant and animal lineages and communities with ancient origins in Gondwana, many of which are restricted largely or entirely to the Gondwana Rainforests, survive in this collection of reserves. The Gondwana Rainforests also provides the principal habitat for many threatened species of plants and animals.
Before its separation from Gondwana Australian forest was dominated by southern beech and podocarps. Today the only southern beech is Nothofagus moorei which grows in small populations at higher elevations from Lamington National Park to the Barrington Tops. The Podocarps are represented by Podocarpus elatus, the Plum Pine. The only Araucarian is Araucaria cunninghamii var. cunninghamii, the Hoop Pine, which was all but logged out and is now mostly to be found either in plantations or naturalising outside them. Another, A. bidwillii, the bunya pine, occurs further north. A close relative, Wollemia nobilis, the Wollemi pine, occurs in a few gorges of the Blue Mountains, further south.
These forests are home to a select group of tree Proteaceae. Tallest among them is probably Floydia praealta which can be found at CCRRS growing as a rainforest emergent. Eidothea hardeniana, the Nightcap Oak, and Grevillea robusta, the Silky Oak, both grow to 40m. The Silky Oak was so heavily logged for its finely figured timber that by the beginning of the 20th century it was in danger of extinction; it is in fact a fast-growing pioneer with considerable weed potential. Another rainforest Grevillea, G. hilliana, is smaller and rather less common. The several subspecies of Banksia integrifolia that grow in the rainforest are unusual in that they do not require fire to release their seeds. Two species of Stenocarpus, as well as Orites excelsus and Alloxylon pinnatum, the Dorrigo Waratah, grow to 25m or so. The genus Macadamia is represented by two indistinct species, both of which grow only in a very restricted area, Macadamia tetraphylla from the Richmond and Tweed Valleys to the headwaters of the Nerang River, and M. integrifolia along the Queensland side of the Macpherson Range. Once common but now similarly restricted in its distribution is the Bopple Nut, Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia.
Xochicalco is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a fortified political, religious and commercial centre from the troubled period of 650–900 that followed the break-up of the great Mesoamerican states such as Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, Palenque and Tikal.
The architecture and iconography of Xochicalco shows affinities with both Teotihuacan and the Maya area and it is probable that the city of Teotihuacan was a multicultural city, although it also does seem to have had a connection to the Tlahuica culture. The main ceremonial center is atop an artificially leveled hill, with remains of subsidiary buildings, mostly unexcavated, in the surrounding area.
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