A new classification of savanna plant communities on the igneous rock lowlands and Tertiary sandy plain landscapes of Cape York Peninsula bioregion

Addicott, Eda, Newton, Mark, Laurance, Susan, Neldner, John, Laidlaw, Melinda, and Butler, Don (2018) A new classification of savanna plant communities on the igneous rock lowlands and Tertiary sandy plain landscapes of Cape York Peninsula bioregion. Cuninghamia, 18. pp. 29-72.

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Classifying and mapping landscapes are tools to simplify complex systems into the discreet subsets widely used in landscape management. In 1999, the Queensland Government adopted a Regional Ecosystems approach as a state-wide landscape classification scheme. For the Cape York Peninsula bioregion in north-eastern Australia, Regional Ecosystems (RE) were initially recognised based on a pre-existing vegetation map and classification for the bioregion. The classification had been developed using expert-techniques based on extensive field plot data. Here, we use numerical analyses to classify the field plot data and identify savanna plant communities associated with two widespread landform groups in the bioregion (the old loamy and sandy plains (land zone 5) and the hills and lowlands on igneous rocks (land zone 12). Communities were identified at the plant association level, using species importance values calculated from foliage cover and vegetation height at each plot. We developed a descriptive-framework for each community using statistically based characterising species and biophysical attributes. We recognise 57 communities compared with 110 that had been previously identified using expert-techniques. This classification is used to recommend refined Regional Ecosystems under the government’s regulations. The descriptive-framework supported consistent descriptions of communities and assignment of new sites to the classification. We conclude that incorporating quantitative methods in classifying and describing plant communities will improve the robustness and defensibility of Regional Ecosystems and their use in landscape management across Queensland.

Item ID: 55856
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2200-405X
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Copyright Information: © 2018 Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
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A version of this publication was included as Chapters 2 & 4 of the following PhD thesis: Addicott, Eda Patricia (2019) A new classification approach: improving the regional ecosystem classification system in Queensland, Australia. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2018 02:52
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310302 Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology) @ 60%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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