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Trajectory of change in land cover and carbon stocks following European settlement in Tasmania, Australia


Romanin, LM and Prior, LD and Williamson, GJ and Bowman, DMJS, Trajectory of change in land cover and carbon stocks following European settlement in Tasmania, Australia, Anthropocene, 9 pp. 33-40. ISSN 2213-3054 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ancene.2015.07.001


The conversion of temperate biomes in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand by European colonists, creating ‘neo-European landscapes’, is emblematic of the global environmental change inherent in the Anthropocene concept. The Midlands of Tasmania is a valuable model system for studying changes to land cover and above ground biomass in neo-European landscapes. Europeans colonized this area in early 19th century and disrupted a hunter-gatherer economy that has persisted for over 30,000 years. Aerial imagery, historical reconstructions, field surveys and future climate projections provided tools to chart changes in tree canopy cover and carbon stores in the Northern Midlands for the period 1788–2070. In the ∼160 years between 1788 and 1940s, large areas of open woodland were cleared but carbon loss was modest (−14 %). In the ∼60 years between 1940s and 2010, carbon loss accelerated (a further −21%) as clearing shifted from woodlands to forests. An estimated ∼28% of the study area would need to be replanted with eucalypt plantations to capture the carbon lost between 1788 and 2010. Three general circulation models (GCMs) representing climate predictions for 2070 suggest that carbon storage in the landscape would change by +13% to −13.2% of 2010 levels, without any restoration intervention.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Anthropocene, climate change, Eucalyptus, land clearance, land use change, restoration
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Landscape ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Romanin, LM (Ms Louise Romanin)
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:103723
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2015-10-27
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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