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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology

 

Article << Previous     |         Contents Vol 61(1)

Interactions between Callitris above-ground biomass, species density and plant form in north-eastern New South Wales

John T. Hunter

School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia. Email: jhunter8@bigpond.com

Australian Journal of Botany 61(1) 73-79 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT12317
Submitted: 28 November 2012  Accepted: 16 January 2013   Published: 21 February 2013


 
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Abstract

Dense Callitris endlicheri (Parl.) F.M.Bailey (black cypress pine) and C. glaucophylla Joy Thomps. & L.A.S.Johnson (white cypress pine) stands are often viewed as problematic and thinning is often encouraged from a biodiversity perspective. In the present investigation, canonical correspondence analyses (CCAs) of 997 survey sites were undertaken within the public and private reserve network that contains a variety of above-ground biomass (AGB) of C. endlicheri and C. glaucophylla (as measured by diameter at breast height (DBH) and dispersion) and the evenness of the species distribution was undertaken. This was done to further dissect the effect of Callitris AGB on species density (richness per quadrat) of native and introduced species and on broad life-form groupings. Other landscape features such as altitude, physiography, drainage and soil depth were also included in analyses. C. endlicheri and C. glaucophylla grow in different biophysical locations in most instances and this was reflected in the results of the study. No level of AGB or clumping of C. endlicheri was found to affect species density of native or introduced taxa or the distribution of life-forms. Increasing AGB of C. glaucophylla had a positive effect on native species density. The species density of introduced taxa was also increased with an increase in C. glaucophylla AGB. The distribution of life-forms was significantly affected by an increase in Callitris AGB with a decrease in trees, shrubby taxa and hemi-parasites, although herbaceous species had a concomitant increase in number. There is no reason to thin dense Callitris stands to increase local species richness. However, because the distribution of life-form types is significantly affected by C. glaucophylla, there is a need to understand what is occurring in species replacements and what landscape mosaic of structural types is required for this species. It is likely that dense stands of Callitris are important, along with a variety of stand densities so as to maintain the highest regional diversity.



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