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Pits, mounds, and vernal ponds in a Tasmanian subalpine grassland

Harrison-Day, V ORCID: 0000-0002-2701-5961 and Kirkpatrick, J ORCID: 0000-0003-2763-2692 2019 , 'Pits, mounds, and vernal ponds in a Tasmanian subalpine grassland' , Geographical Research, vol. 57, no. 2 , pp. 230-237 , doi: 10.1111/1745-5871.12328.

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Falling trees commonly turbate soils in primary forest, creating characteristic edaphic patterns related to pit and mound topography. Vernal ponds with associated mounds were observed in mineral soils on a treeless plain in subalpine Tasmania, Australia. The hypothesis that paired ponds and mounds on the plain originated as pit and mound features in forests that were later destroyed by fire was tested by comparing the soils and landforms caused by recent tree falls in adjacent forest with those on the plain. The soil characteristics, orientations, and dimensions of the ponds and mounds were consistent with a tree fall origin, although rare secondary ponds on the tops of mounds may derive from the burrowing activities of the medium‐sized marsupial, Vombatus ursinus (common wombat). The characteristics of pond and mound soils suggested that most were hundreds to thousands of years old, with the ponds persisting because of differences in deflation, deposition, and organic matter formation between themselves and adjacent persistently dry land.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Harrison-Day, V and Kirkpatrick, J
Keywords: fire, pond formation, temperate rainforest, tussock grassland, wombat digging, Tasmania, subalpine
Journal or Publication Title: Geographical Research
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1745-5863
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/1745-5871.12328
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Institute of Australian Geographers

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