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An investigation of tree decline on Tasmanian farms


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McMurray, SK 1983 , 'An investigation of tree decline on Tasmanian farms', Other Degree thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Little attention has been given to the death and decline of
remaining native trees on Tasmanian farms. This phenomenon is
prevalent in the pastoral Midland region of the state and, so far,
is unstudied. The present study, as an exploratory investigation,
seeks to ascertain certain characteristics of this loss of farm trees.
The rate of loss of scattered, native trees on 14 grazing properties
was estimated from tree counts of aerial photographs, separated
by a period of 32 years. A mean rate of 54 per cent was found
for this period. This considerably exceeds estimated rates of tree
decline found in similar studies in mainland states.
Factors associated with tree decline were also investigated.
Photographic interpretation and landholder interviews enabled areas
within properties to be classified according to pasture type and
associated management practices. Tree count data from these areas
showed an increasing rate of tree decline appeared to be associated
with increasing intensity of land management.
Biological and physico-chemical factors potentially associated
with tree decline were assessed through landholder interviews.
Drouqht emerged as an important non-lethal incitant in farm tree
decline, althouqh other biophysical factors were not widely implicated
in causal or predisposing capacities. In this respect, neither
severe insect defoliation nor excessive soil salinity, important in
tree decline elsewhere, is apparent in the Midlands. Tree decline
in the region appears largely to be a land-use related phenomenon. The finding that there has been a high rate of loss of remaining
farm trees in the region is seen as timely. It coincides with
initial efforts by governmcnt to encouraqe replacement of trees on
farms. These efforts are in need of considerable expansion. Land-holders, generally, did not recognize tree decline and efforts are
also required to raise awareness to the existence of, and problems
associated with, such a hiqh rate of tree loss.

Item Type: Thesis - Other Degree
Authors/Creators:McMurray, SK
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