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The desertification of a Bass Strait Island and a plan for its recovery : the case of East Kangaroo Island, Furneaux Group

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Harris, S and Summers, S 2000 , 'The desertification of a Bass Strait Island and a plan for its recovery : the case of East Kangaroo Island, Furneaux Group' , Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, vol. 134 , pp. 83-90 , doi: 10.26749/rstpp.134.83.

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Abstract

East Kangaroo Island is a low, mostly calcarenite-covered granitic island in the Furneaux Group which was observed in 1828 to have been fertile and well-wooded by Allocasuarina verticillata. Over 160 years of grazing and a succession of drought years have contributed to the decline of the native vegetation in biomass, ground cover and native species diversity. In the summer of 1999/2000, bare ground comprised 80% of the island, and the sparse vegetation mostly consisted of heavily browsed exotic grasses and herbs. The meagre flora of 91 taxa comprises 45% introduced species. The increased exposure from lack of vegetative cover has assisted the salt-wind-tolerant Austrostipa stipoides to spread inland, particularly from the west coast. An evaluation of the biomass puts the island within the range of that recorded for semi-arid deserts. Stock were removed in early 2000, and methods to restore the vegetation are proposed.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Harris, S and Summers, S
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
ISSN: 0080-4703
DOI / ID Number: 10.26749/rstpp.134.83
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
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