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A barren part of the main?: the vegetation of Hunter Island, Fleurieu Group, Bass Strait

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Harris, S and Lazarus, E (2002) A barren part of the main?: the vegetation of Hunter Island, Fleurieu Group, Bass Strait. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 136. pp. 107-126. ISSN 0080-4703

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Abstract

Hunter Island, visited over millennia by Aboriginal people and settled in the nineteenth century by sealers and later by a succession ofgrazing lessees, has preserved in its vegetation pattern the effects of a long history offiring and clearing. The vegetation also reflects the substrate and topographic features of the island with a major dichotomy between the heaths and scrub on the highly acid quartzites that underlie most of the island, and woodlands and grasslands on the highly alkaline sands that are rafted onto its western part. Eucalyptus viminalis occurs on alkaline sands on Hunter Island, in contrast to the absence of the species on calcareous coastal sands in the rest of its range in southeastern Australia. Heathlands make up 380/0 and scrub 37% of the island. Other vegetation types recorded are swamp forests, button grass moorland, exotic and native grasslands, Eucalyptus viminalis woodland, wetlands, mutton-bird rookery vegetation and lichen-fields. The flora has strong affinities with the northwestern coast of the Tasmanian mainland and a weaker affinity with Three Hummock Island, which is a granite island rather than a quartzite one. A Bassian floristic element occurs on the alkaline substrates; however, it is not as strong as that in the island flora of eastern Bass Strait. The flora and vegetation have components that are significant for nature conservation such as remnant Eucalyptus viminalisstands on the sands. The species ofconservation significance include rare and threatened species: Pterostylis cucullata, Calochilus herbaceous, Cyrtostylis robusta, Parietaria debilis, Ranunculus amphitrichus and Cotula vulgaris var. australasica.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 107-126
ISSN: 0080-4703
Additional Information: Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania
Date Deposited: 21 May 2012 02:20
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:33
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/13513
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