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

The Nutritional Status of Healthy and Declining Stands of Banksia integrifolia on the Yanakie Isthmus, Victoria

L. T. Bennett and P. M. Attiwill

Australian Journal of Botany 45(1) 15 - 30
Published: 1997


Banksia integrifolia L.f. has been in decline on calcareous sands of the Yanakie Isthmus, southern Victoria, since early 1980. Early studies indicated that the decline is associated with a particular soil condition possibly a nutritional imbalance involving Fe. However, in foliage samples collected from the three main soil types of the Isthmus, declining trees had similar concentrations of Fe but lower concentrations of Ca than healthy trees. Comparisons were made of seasonal variation in concentrations of macro- and micro-nutrients in foliage and litterfall from healthy trees (to minimise secondary changes associated with decline) within healthy and declining sites on the same soil type. On average, litterfall and the nutrient content of litterfall was greatest within the canopy area of B. integrifolia of the healthy stand. Banksias of the healthy stand also had greater concentrations of N, P, K and Na in fully-expanded leaves, resorbed greater proportions of phloem-mobile nutrients from senescent leaves and accumulated more Ca in senescent leaves. However, there was no evidence of nutritional imbalance in healthy trees within declining stands. It is argued that the lower foliar Ca in declining trees on three soil types and lower nutritional status of healthy trees within declining stands were due to lower productivity and lower water use and were therefore a result or an indication of decline rather than a cause.

© CSIRO 1997

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