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Climate change and other factors influencing the decline of the Tasmanian cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii)

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Calder, J and Kirkpatrick, JB (2008) Climate change and other factors influencing the decline of the Tasmanian cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii). Australian Journal of Botany, 56 (8). pp. 684-692. ISSN 0067-1924

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Abstract

Global climatic change has been strongly implicated in the decline of many species. However, other processes can contribute towards the extinction risk of these species. Could management of these processes arrest or slow climatically related decline? We test the relationship between climate change, and other potential threatening factors, and the decline of Eucalyptus gunnii, a tree endemic to the subalpine regions of Tasmania, Australia. Through observing the spatial patterns of both climatic change and dieback, we found there was a stronger pattern of increasing droughts in the eastern part of the species range, the region which also displayed the worst dieback. A time series of aerial photographs revealed that the most severe drought periods in the last several decades have coincided with the most rapid tree decline. However, the sites that suffered the worst dieback were also more heavily used for stock grazing, a factor which had a stronger spatial relationship with tree decline than climate. Other factors were also implicated in the decline, including possum browsing. The good health of some populations in the most climatically stressed areas suggests that the amelioration of non-climatic stresses could be effective in maintaining the health of the surviving populations.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Botany
Page Range: pp. 684-692
ISSN: 0067-1924
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1071/BT08105
Additional Information: Copyright © 2008 CSIRO
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2012 04:31
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:22
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/11892
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