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Holocene boundary dynamics of a northern Australian monsoon rainforest patch inferred from isotopic analysis of carbon, (14C and δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in soil organic matter

Bowman, David M. J. S., Cook, Garry D. and Zoppi, U. (2004). Holocene boundary dynamics of a northern Australian monsoon rainforest patch inferred from isotopic analysis of carbon, (14C and δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in soil organic matter. Austral Ecology,29(6):605-612.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 16 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Holocene boundary dynamics of a northern Australian monsoon rainforest patch inferred from isotopic analysis of carbon, (14C and δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in soil organic matter
Author Bowman, David M. J. S.
Cook, Garry D.
Zoppi, U.
Journal Name Austral Ecology
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 29
Issue Number 6
ISSN 1442-9985   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-3543143821
Start Page 605
End Page 612
Total Pages 8
Place of Publication Carlton, Vic, Australia
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Field of Research 0602 - Ecology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Soil organic matter (SOM) was sampled from lateritic soil profiles across an abrupt eucalypt savanna-monsoon rainforest boundary on the north coast of Croker Island, northern Australia. Accelerator mass spectrometry dating revealed that SOM that had accumulated at the base of these 1.5 m profiles had a radiocarbon age of about 5000 years. The mean carbon and nitrogen stable isotope composition of SOM from 10 cm deep layers from the surface, middle and base of three monsoon rainforest soil profiles was significantly different from the means for these layers in three adjacent savanna soil profiles, suggesting the isotopic 'footprint' of the vegetation boundary has been stable since the mid Holocene. Although there were no obvious environmental discontinuities associated with the boundary, the monsoon rainforest was found to occur on significantly more clay rich soils than the surrounding savanna. Tiny fragments of monsoon rainforest and abandoned 'nests' (large earthen mounds) of the orange-footed scrubfowl, an obligate monsoon rainforest species, occurred in the savanna, signalling that the rainforest was once more extensive. Despite episodic disturbances, such as tropical storm damage and fires, the stability of the boundary is probably maintained because clay rich soils enable monsoon rainforest tree species to grow rapidly and achieve canopy closure, thereby excluding grass and reducing the risk of fire. Conversely, slower tree growth rates, grass competition and fire on the savanna soils would impede the expansion of the rainforest although high rainfall periods with shorter dry seasons may enable rainforest trees to grow sufficiently quickly to colonize the savanna successfully.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2004.01394.x   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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