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Title: Environmental correlates of coastal heathland and allied vegetation
Contributor(s): Griffith, Stephen  (author); Bale, C (author); Adam, P (author)
Publication Date: 2008
DOI: 10.1071/BT06147
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Abstract: The east Australian coastline supports regionally distinct heathlands and allied structural formations, and of particular interest is the vegetation on Quaternary dunefields and beach ridge plains containing aquifers. Groundwater is abstracted from these aquifers for domestic, industrial and agricultural consumption, and this abstraction proceeds without a sound understanding of plant–water relations. This study examined relationships between the vegetation and a range of simple and complex environmental variables. Aspects of intra-habitat and micro-site environmental heterogeneity were also explored. Watertable depth varied spatially and temporally relative to vegetation type, although differences were not consistently significant. Differences in watertable depth were significant for vegetation samples grouped by topographic position. Plant roots were invariably present at the upper boundary of the aquifer and these were observed at depths of up to 10.5 m. Groundwater was found to have the chemical composition of dilute seawater. Soil properties for the A1 horizon (total phosphorus, total nitrogen and organic matter content) varied with vegetation type and topography, and although mean values were generally higher in wetter habitats, differences were not consistently significant. Ordination identified topography as the more important determinant of vegetation pattern. Intra-habitat and micro-site differences in soil and groundwater properties were detected, and the likely causes of this variation are discussed.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Botany, 56(6), p. 512-526
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 0067-1924
Field of Research (FOR): 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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