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The comparative ecology of mainland Australian and Tasmanian alpine vegetation


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Kirkpatrick, JB 1989 , 'The comparative ecology of mainland Australian and Tasmanian alpine vegetation', in R. Good (ed.), The Scientific Significance of the Australian Alps , Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, pp. 127-142.

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The comparative ecology of mainland Australia and Tasmania alpine vegetation
J.B. Kirkpatrick
Department of Geography and Environmental Sttldies
University of Tasmania
GPO Box 252C
Hobart TAS 7001
Our knowledge of pattern and process in the cl5OO km' of alpine and treeless sub-alpine
vegetation in Australia is beaer than that of any other major ..Austnlian vegetation type. We
have quadrat data from almost every mountain (McVean 1969; McDougall 1982; Waisll et
al. 1986: Kirkpitrick 19RGa.b). and the short to medium term dynamics of the major plant
communities are moderarely well-known (e.g. Carr and Turner 1959; Wimbusll and Costin
1979: Kirkpatrick and Dickinson 1984: Kirkpatrick and Gibson 1984: Williams and Ashton
1987: Leigh eral. 1987). The relative recency of alpine research in Tasmania has meant that
reviews of the alpine vegetation of Austnlia as a whole have been almost totally based on
work carried out in the mainland mountains (e.g. Costin 1981). A study of the
phytogeography of Austnlian alpine floras (Kirkpatrick 1982) indicated that Tasmania
contained more florisric variation than the mainland. In (his paper the earlier analysis is
extended to include more mountains. using Tasmanian and mainland quadrat data to form
a nationwide classification of alpine vegetation and to discuss the nature and putative causes
of the differences in pattern and process between the treeless vegetation of the high country
of the two islands.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Kirkpatrick, JB
Publisher: Australian Academy of Science
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