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Title: The influence of fire and rainfall upon seedling recruitment in sand-mass (wallum) heathland of north-eastern New South Wales
Contributor(s): Griffith, Stephen (author); Bale, C (author); Adam, P (author)
Publication Date: 2004
DOI: 10.1071/BT03108
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Abstract: Wallum heathland is extensive on coastal sand masses in north-eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland. Here the climate is subtropical, although monthly rainfall is highly variable and unreliable. We examined the influence of fire and rainfall on seedling recruitment in bradysporous dry-heathland ['Banksia aemula' R.Br., 'Melaleuca nodosa' (Sol. ex Gaertn.) Sm.] and wet-heathland ['Banksia oblongifolia' Cav., 'B. ericifolia' L.f. subsp. 'macrantha' (A.S.George) A.S.George, 'Leptospermum liversidgei' R.T.Baker and H.G. Sm.] species. Two specific questions were addressed: (1) do elevated levels of soil moisture facilitate seedling recruitment; (2) is the post-fire environment superior for seedling recruitment? Field experiments demonstrated that heathland species studied here are capable of successful recruitment in atypical habitat, and this proceeds irrespective of fire and unreliable rainfall. Conditions for growth and reproduction were found to be adequate if not more favourable in dry heathland, and this outcome included species usually associated with wet heathland. Spatial and temporal trends in seedling emergence and survival were examined in relation to post-fire predation and plant resource availability. Existing ideas about wallum management and conservation are evaluated, in particular the role of fire.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Botany, 52(1), p. 93-118
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 0067-1924
Field of Research (FOR): 060207 Population Ecology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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