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Pits, mounds, and vernal ponds in a Tasmanian subalpine grassland


Harrison-Day, V and Kirkpatrick, J, Pits, mounds, and vernal ponds in a Tasmanian subalpine grassland, Geographical Research, 57, (2) pp. 230-237. ISSN 1745-5863 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Institute of Australian Geographers

DOI: doi:10.1111/1745-5871.12328


Falling trees commonly turbate soils in primary forest, creating characteristic edaphic patterns related to pit and mound topography. Vernal ponds with associated mounds were observed in mineral soils on a treeless plain in subalpine Tasmania, Australia. The hypothesis that paired ponds and mounds on the plain originated as pit and mound features in forests that were later destroyed by fire was tested by comparing the soils and landforms caused by recent tree falls in adjacent forest with those on the plain. The soil characteristics, orientations, and dimensions of the ponds and mounds were consistent with a tree fall origin, although rare secondary ponds on the tops of mounds may derive from the burrowing activities of the medium‐sized marsupial, Vombatus ursinus (common wombat). The characteristics of pond and mound soils suggested that most were hundreds to thousands of years old, with the ponds persisting because of differences in deflation, deposition, and organic matter formation between themselves and adjacent persistently dry land.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fire, pond formation, temperate rainforest, tussock grassland, wombat digging, Tasmania, subalpine
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Geomorphology and earth surface processes
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Harrison-Day, V (Ms Violet Harrison-Day)
UTAS Author:Kirkpatrick, J (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
ID Code:138916
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2020-05-11
Last Modified:2020-06-17

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