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Data from: Without management interventions, endemic wet-sclerophyll forest is transitioning to rainforest in World Heritage listed K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia

Citation

Krishnan, Vithya et al. (2019), Data from: Without management interventions, endemic wet-sclerophyll forest is transitioning to rainforest in World Heritage listed K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p0h2678

Abstract

Wet-sclerophyll forests are unique ecosystems that can transition to dry-sclerophyll forests or to rainforests. Understanding of the dynamics of these forests for conservation is limited. We evaluated the long-term succession of wet-sclerophyll forest on World Heritage listed K’gari (Fraser Island)the world’s largest sand island. We recorded the presence and growth of tree species in three 0.4 hectare plots that had been subjected to selective logging, fire, and cyclone disturbance over 65 years, from 1952 to 2017. Irrespective of disturbance regimes, which varied between plots, rainforest trees recruited at much faster rates than the dominant wet-sclerophyll forest trees, narrowly endemic species Syncarpia hillii and more common Lophostemon confertus. Syncarpia hillii did not recruit at the plot with the least disturbance and recruited only in low numbers at plots with more prominent disturbance regimes in the  10 cm at breast height size. Lophostemon confertus recruited at all plots but in much lower numbers than rainforest trees. Only five L. confertus were detected in the smallest size class (< 10 cm diameter) in the 2017 survey. Overall, we find evidence that more pronounced disturbance regimes than those that have occurred over the past 65 years may be required to conserve this wet-sclerophyll forest, as without intervention, transition to rainforest is a likely trajectory. Fire and other management tools should therefore be explored, in collaboration with Indigenous landowners, to ensure conservation of this wet-sclerophyll forest.

Usage Notes

Location

Fraser Island
Australia
Queensland