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Nature Notes - Mulga Country

Mulga WoodlandSurrounding the ranges and plains is a broad band of laterite plains with infertile red soils. Mulga Woodland dominates these landforms. Mulga (Acacia aneura) is a long-lived Acacia shrub, which is resistant to all but the severest drought.

Mulga country occupies as much as 20% of the Australian continent, with their range extending from inland Western Australia, across the arid Australian interior, to western New South Wales and south-west Queensland.

The distribution of mulga is related to climate, with its occurrence coinciding with areas receiving between 200 mm and 500 mm of rainfall per year. This species can occur as the sole shrub dominant, or with a mixture of other shrubs or trees. The occurrence of mulga relates to the combined influence of moist neutral-acidic soil and the absence of frequent fires.

In some areas mulga forms continuous stands, while in others it occurs as ‘groves’. Compared with spinifex, mulga rarely burns and is intolerant of repeated firing. Evidence suggests that desert Aboriginal people have never focussed burning in mulga.

Threats throughout mulga country include clearing, grazing, excessive levels of firing, and firewood extraction.

Compare with Sonoran Desert habitat.