Drawing upon methods recently developed in the savannah-rainforest systems of the monsoon tropics of Australia this study will combine a 'top down' approach based on digitised sequences of aerial photography with a 'bottom up' approach based on stratified field surveys to investigate the rate, magnitude and direction of forest-scrub-moorland boundary shifts.
This information is of an appropriate spatio-temporal resolution to test the applicability of the various models of vegetation dynamics proposed for the southwest Tasmania. Are particular vegetation communities expanding or contracting according to Jackson's (1968) model of ecological drift? Or are vegetation patterns in a state of inertia according to Mount's (1964, 1979, 1982) model of stable fire cycles?
The relationship between observed boundary dynamics and spatial estimates of environmental variables (i.e. wetness index, slope, aspect, elevation, topographic fire protection) will be investigated to explore the role of the fire-vegetation-soil fertility feedbacks proposed by these models.
Authorised by the Head of School, Biological Sciences
19 April, 2012