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The ecology and conservation of bryophytes

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Turner, PAM (2003) The ecology and conservation of bryophytes. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the factors that affect bryophyte richness and
species composition in wet eucalypt forest, including old growth and forest disturbed by
wildfire or silvicultural practice.
Approximately one third of the total bryophyte flora for Tasmania was recorded in old
growth mixed forest, with more livenvort than moss species found. Bryophyte species
composition was significantly different between groups of sites of forest from the
northwest, central and southern areas of the state. Mean annual temperature, altitude,
rainfall of the driest month and aspect were most significant in predicting variation in
bryophyte species composition.
The use of vascular plants as surrogates for the conservation of bryophyte species was .
examined. Vascular plant and fern species richness were significant but poor predictors
of bryophyte species richness. A minimum set of 3 1 sites reserved all vascular species
and a large percentage (82.9%) of bryophyte species at least once. Thus, reserves
selected using vascular plants are likely to reserve a large proportion of bryophyte
species. The reserve sets included more sites of regenerating forest than old growth
forest indicating the importance for conservation of multi-aged wet eucalypt forest.
Many species preferentially occurred on a substrate type within a particular forest age
class. The bryophyte species composition on old growth Nothofagus cunninghamii and
Atherosperma moschatum trees were significantly dissimilar to a large number of other
substratetage class groups. Consistent with previous literature, bark type affected
species composition.
Comparisons of bryophytes in sites disturbed by wildfire and logging found four moss
species occurred more frequently in logging than wildfire regeneration, whereas six of
the seven bryophytes species that occurred more frequently after wildfire than logging
disturbance were livenvorts. Overall, little difference in bryophyte and vascular species
composition was found between logging and wildfire regeneration. When sites were
separated into regions, bryophyte species composition differed between logging and
wildfire only in the forests of central Tasmania, where Eucalyptus regnans is dominant. Successional stages of bryophytes species occurrence after disturbance were
documented. Species occuning frequently in primary succession did not survive into
later successional stages. Many species that established in post-primary successional
forest persisted into late successional forest. Livenvort species dominated in late
successional forest. The exclusive occurrence of the epiphytic mosses Neckera pennara
and Calypropogon mnioides in regenerating forest is strongly associated with the
presence of Pomaderris apetala and Acacia dealbata trees.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2014 05:22
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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