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Dynamics of forest clumps on chenier plains, Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory


Bowman, DMJS and Panton, WJ and McDonough, L, Dynamics of forest clumps on chenier plains, Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory, Australian Journal of Botany, 38, (6) pp. 593-601. ISSN 0067-1924 (1990) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1071/bt9900593


Forest clumps occur scattered throughout Sorghum plumosum grasslands on chenier plains at Gurig National Park, Cobourg Peninsula, a preferred habitat for the introduced banteng (Bos javanicus.). The clumps are dominated by Pandanus spiralis, Acacia auriculiformis, Alstonia actinophylla, Timonius timon and Casuarina equisetifolia and vary in size from the radius of one tree crown to large patches of over several hectares. Fifteen of the 32 woody species recorded in 42 clumps occurred as juveniles less than 1 cm diameter at breast height. Both the clumps and grasslands occur on uniform calcareous soils. The clumps are thought to be a stage in a succession towards monsoon forest. Field experiments showed that seedlings from a range of monsoon forest and savanna species can grow on the plains. Interpretation of aerial photography taken in 1963 and 1982 suggests that the clumps have expanded. Fire is thought to control the succession. A fire on the plains was found to kill between one and two-thirds of the basal area of Pandanus spiralis and A. auriculiformis and stimulated the establishment of six times more A. auriculiformis seedlings than in nearby unburnt clumps. Monsoon forest juveniles that invade the clumps typically resprout following fire. Stunted, fire-damaged monsoon forest species (e.g. Timonius timon, Alstonia actinophylla) occur in low densities in the grasslands. It is unclear whether banteng promotes the succession by reducing fuel loads in the grasslands and spreading A. auriculiforms seeds.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biogeography and phylogeography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:69106
Year Published:1990
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2011-04-19
Last Modified:2011-06-06

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