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Macroecology of Australian tall eucalypt forests: baseline data from a continental-scale permanent plot network


Wood, SW and Prior, LD and Stephens, HC and Bowman, DMJS, Macroecology of Australian tall eucalypt forests: baseline data from a continental-scale permanent plot network, PLoS ONE, 10, (9) Article e0137811. ISSN 1932-6203 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Wood et al. Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137811


Tracking the response of forest ecosystems to climate change demands large (>=1 ha) monitoring plots that are repeatedly measured over long time frames and arranged across macro-ecological gradients. Continental scale networks of permanent forest plots have identified links between climate and carbon fluxes by monitoring trends in tree growth, mortality and recruitment. The relationship between tree growth and climate in Australia has been recently articulated through analysis of data from smaller forest plots, but conclusions were limited by (a) absence of data on recruitment and mortality, (b) exclusion of non-eucalypt species, and (c) lack of knowledge of stand age or disturbance histories. To remedy these gaps we established the Ausplots Forest Monitoring Network: a continental scale network of 48 1 ha permanent plots in highly productive tall eucalypt forests in the mature growth stage. These plots are distributed across cool temperate, Mediterranean, subtropical and tropical climates (mean annual precipitation 850 to 1900 mm per year; mean annual temperature 6 to 21 Celsius degree). Aboveground carbon stocks (AGC) in these forests are dominated by eucalypts (90% of AGC) whilst non-eucalypts in the understorey dominated species diversity and tree abundance (84% of species; 60% of stems). Aboveground carbon stocks were negatively related to mean annual temperature, with forests at the warm end of the temperature range storing approximately half the amount of carbon as forests at the cool end of the temperature range. This may reflect thermal constraints on tree growth detected through other plot networks and physiological studies. Through common protocols and careful sampling design, the Ausplots Forest Monitoring Network will facilitate the integration of tall eucalypt forests into established global forest monitoring initiatives. In the context of projections of rapidly warming and drying climates in Australia, this plot network will enable detection of links between climate and growth, mortality and carbon dynamics of eucalypt forests.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:eucalypt; permanent plot;monitoring; tree growth;climate
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial 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:Wood, SW (Mr Samuel Wood)
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Stephens, HC (Dr Helen Stephens)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:103724
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2015-10-27
Last Modified:2022-09-02
Downloads:352 View Download Statistics

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