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Effect of landscape fires on the demography of the endangered New Caledonian conifer Callitris sulcata


Haverkamp, C and Prior, LD and Fogliani, B and L'Huillier, L and Anquez, M and Hua, Q and Bowman, DMJS, Effect of landscape fires on the demography of the endangered New Caledonian conifer Callitris sulcata, Biological Conservation, 191 pp. 130-138. ISSN 0006-3207 (2015) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.06.012


New Caledonia is a global biodiversity hotspot and an epicentre for Gondwanan conifers, many of which are threatened by mining and by altered fire regimes. We studied the distribution, abundance and demography of the endangered Callitris sulcata. The largest populations are restricted to one river system in the south-east of the island, with satellite populations in adjoining rivers. The local distribution is controlled by the fire protection afforded by terrain features such as scree slopes, creeklines and small cliffs. Adult trees, which have comparatively thick bark, are able to tolerate and recover from infrequent surface fires, but severe fires kill trees and the seeds they store, a pattern similar to that in many Australian Callitris species. Radiocarbon dating revealed the species is slower growing than Australian Callitris species, possibly due to the extreme infertility of the ultramafic soils. The species is of high cultural value to the indigenous population who also prizes the durable and aromatic timber, and harvests have been traditionally regulated. Illegal cutting of trees has become a problem, but uncontrolled fires, which have caused substantial population declines, dwarf this threat. Given these threats, conservation of the species hinges on ensuring some populations remain remote and rarely visited by humans.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bark thickness, Callitris sulcata, conifer, New Caledonia, tree age, tree rings
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:103722
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2015-10-27
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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