CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Australian Journal of Botany   
Australian Journal of Botany
Journal Banner
  Southern Hemisphere Botanical Ecosystems
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Turner Review Series
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
Awards and Prizes
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn

red arrow PrometheusWiki
blank image
Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 48(1)

The Big Ash forest, Wallaby Creek, Victoria— changes during one lifetime

D. H. Ashton

Australian Journal of Botany 48(1) 1 - 26
Published: 2000


In 1949 the area of mature Eucalyptus regnans F.Muell1 (the Big Ash) on the Hume Range, Victoria, was a largely even-aged 230-year-old forest with a component of the overstorey derived from a fire in 1851. Subsequent fires have resulted in patchy regeneration where suitable gaps in the overstorey were present. In 1949 three main types of the understorey were present: type A, mature Pomaderris aspera; type B, dense immature Pomaderris aspera; and type C, coppiced Olearia argophylla and Bedfordia arborescens. In type A, ground fern was patchy and statistically correlated with patches of lower density Pomaderris aspera. Over a period of 48 years the eucalypt overstorey has been depleted by death and windthrow while understorey trees and shrubs have been severely damaged by sporadic heavy snowfalls and insect and fungal attack. The type A understorey is now showing signs of changing to Olearia argophylla dominance and the cover of ground fern and tree fern strata has doubled to more than 80% over this period in spite of damage caused by infrequent, but severe, droughts. The type B understorey is now mature and resembles type A, while the type C understorey shows invasion by Pomaderris aspera and regeneration of Olearia argophylla. No successful establishment of E. regnans has occurred. The rainforest in the gullies consists of alternating patches of forest and tree fern groves, the latter, together with rotting logs and upthrown root balls, providing niches for rainforest tree establishment. In swampy flats of Leptospermum grandifolium on the plateau Atherosperma moschatum is becoming increasingly dominant. Atherosperma moschatum is also invading mature understorey adjacent to riparian communities. This species and Olearia argophylla may constitute the final stage of the long secondary succession after fire in the Big Ash area. However, the Hume Range is adjacent to drier foothills and plains to the north, west and south. Whether the Big Ash will be spared from fire in future centuries is very doubtful.

Full text doi:10.1071/BT98045

© CSIRO 2000

blank image
Subscriber Login

PDF (2.1 MB) $25
 Export Citation
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2015