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Demographic vulnerability of an extreme xerophyte in arid Australia


Prior, LD and Hua, Q and Bowman, DMJS, Demographic vulnerability of an extreme xerophyte in arid Australia, Australian Journal of Botany, 66, (1) pp. 26-38. ISSN 0067-1924 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Journal compilation copyright CSIRO 2018

DOI: doi:10.1071/BT17150


Callitris glaucophylla (syn. C. columellaris F.Muell.) is an iconic Australian conifer that is suffering a recruitment deficit over much of the arid zone. Here, seedling establishment requires a series of unusually wet years, and protection from high levels of herbivory. The aim of our study was to determine the size class structure of C. glaucophylla populations in the most arid part (150 mm mean annual precipitation) of its range, and particularly whether seedlings had established during a wet period in 2010/11. We sampled C. glaucophylla populations throughout the region, including inside a 6000 ha feral animal exclosure. We found no seedlings from 2010/11, except on drainage lines adjacent to roads. Of 255 plots centred on mature trees, only 2% contained older seedlings, and 8% contained saplings, with no differences inside or outside exclosure, and 84% of trees were larger than 20 cm basal diameter. Matching dates of known regeneration with long-term rainfall records suggested that successful regeneration of C. glaucophylla requires a total of 600720 mm of rain over a 2 year period. Our radiocarbon dating showed the age of three large trees ranged from 106 to 268 years, signifying that such trees in this region likely have only 28 climatic opportunities to reproduce.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:arid zone, plant ecology, Callitris, conifer, regeneration, carbon dating
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:125732
Year Published:2018 (online first 2017)
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2018-05-02
Last Modified:2018-12-07
Downloads:39 View Download Statistics

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