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Drivers of rain-forest boundary dynamics in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia: a field assessment

Banfai, Daniel S. and Bowman, David M. J. S. (2007). Drivers of rain-forest boundary dynamics in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia: a field assessment. Journal of Tropical Ecology,23(1):73-86.

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

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IRMA ID A00004xPUB73
Title Drivers of rain-forest boundary dynamics in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia: a field assessment
Author Banfai, Daniel S.
Bowman, David M. J. S.
Journal Name Journal of Tropical Ecology
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 23
Issue Number 1
ISSN 0266-4674   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-33846187135
Start Page 73
End Page 86
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication Cambridge, U.K.
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Field of Research 0602 - Ecology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Understanding the Causes Of savanna-forest dynamics is vital as small but widespread changes in the extent of tropical forests can have major impacts on global climate. biodiversity and human well-being. Comparison of aerial photographs for 50 rain-forest. patches in Kakadu National Park had previously revealed a landscape-wide monotonic expansion of rain-forest boundaries between 1964 and 2004. Here floristic, structural, environmental and disturbance attributes of the changes were investigated by sampling 588 plots across 30 rain-forest patches. Areas that had changed from savanna to rain forest were associated with a significantly higher abundance of rain-forest trees and less grasses. relative to stable savanna areas. Ordination analyses showed that overall floristic composition was not significantly different between newly established rain forest and longer established rain forest. Generalized linear models also indicated that contemporary levels of disturbance (fire and feral animal impact) and environmental variables (slope and Soil texture) were poor predictors of historical vegetation change. We concluded that (1) the rain-forest boundaries are highly dynamic at the decadal scale: (2) rain-forest expansion is consistent with having been driven by global environmental change phenomena such as increases in rainfall and atmospheric CO,: and (3) expansion will continue if current climatic trends and management conditions persist.
Keywords climate
fire ecology
global environmental change
tropical rain forest
vegetation dynamics
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