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Reproductive Phenology of Woody Species in a North Australian Tropical Savanna

Williams, Richard J., Myers, Bronwyn A., Eamus, Derek and Duff, Gordon A. (1999). Reproductive Phenology of Woody Species in a North Australian Tropical Savanna. Biotropica,31(4):626-636.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Reproductive Phenology of Woody Species in a North Australian Tropical Savanna
Author Williams, Richard J.
Myers, Bronwyn A.
Eamus, Derek
Duff, Gordon A.
Journal Name Biotropica
Publication Date 1999
Volume Number 31
Issue Number 4
ISSN 0006-3606   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0033506660
Start Page 626
End Page 636
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Abstract Interspecific and interannual variation in reproductive phenology was quantified for 50 common species of trees and shrubs from a mesic savanna near Darwin, northern Australia. The presence of buds, flowers, and fruit was noted over a 30-month period, from September 1992 to February 1995. Surveys were undertaken at monthly intervals for the less common species, and at bimonthly intervals for ten of the common trees and tall shrubs. The majority of species flowered each year at about the same time. There was no evidence of sub-annual or continuous regimes of reproductive phenology. There was no supra-annual carryover of seed-bearing fruit in the canopy of any species. The peak flowering periods were the mid to late dry season (July–August) and the transition between the dry season and the wet season (October–November). The two dominant trees–Eucalyptus miniata and E, tetrodonta– flowered during the dry season, thereby providing resources for some elements of the vertebrate fauna. Flowering and fruiting were uncommon at the end of the wet season (February/March), although two species that flower and fruit at this time (E. porrecta and Terminalia ferdinandianas may provide resources to consumers at a time when floral or fruit resources are otherwise scarce. Because the peak of reproductive activity takes place during the late dry season, fruit maturity and seed dispersal have occurred prior to the onset of the rainy season for most species, and germination and seedling establishment potentially may take effect in response to the first rains. Late dry season fires, which tend to be extensive and intense, are a potential threat to the floral and fruit reserves within these savannas.
Keywords Eucalyptus
Northern Australia
Wet-dry tropics
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 19:54:25 CST by Anthony Hornby