Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

White cypress pine (Callitris glaucophylla): a review of its roles in landscape and ecological processes in eastern Australia

W. A. Thompson A and D. J. Eldridge B C

A School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Botany 53(6) 555-570
Submitted: 4 August 2004  Accepted: 26 May 2005   Published: 30 September 2005


Callitris glaucophylla (J.Thompson & L.Johnson, white cypress pine) woodlands are an important vegetation community over relatively large areas of continental eastern Australia. C. glaucophylla communities were originally reserved because of their value to the timber industry, but renewed attention is being placed on these woodlands because of their putative role in the conservation of native plants and animals. The pre-European distribution of C. glaucophylla was altered dramatically in the past century because of a combination of grazing by domestic livestock and feral animals, altered fire regimes and weed invasion. Today, the majority of C. glaucophylla woodlands are highly fragmented remnants, with many managed as formal forestry reserves. Selective logging during the past 30 years has led to a community that is dominated by single-aged stands, often at high densities, leading to the perception that C. glaucophylla communities are severely degraded and floristically depauperate. Increased interest in the structure and function of grassy woodlands in eastern Australia over the past decade has led to a re-evaluation of the importance of this vegetation community for habitat and for maintaining essential ecosystem processes. The timing of this review is appropriate because (1) much has been published on the ecological role of C. glaucophylla over the past decade in Australia, although mostly in unpublished reports, and (2) there is a need to resolve some of the conflicting issues relating to the value of C. glaucophylla woodlands for healthy soils and vegetation. Here, we review the ecological role of C. glaucophylla, with an emphasis on eastern Australia, drawing on a range of published and unpublished literature. We describe the characteristics and distribution of C. glaucophylla in eastern Australia, its role in soil and ecological processes, and the impacts of fire and grazing. Finally, we discuss the management of C. glaucophylla for a range of landuses.


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