Historical ecology and plantation characteristics of Melville Island

  • Sharmini Elizabeth Chabra

    Student thesis: Other thesis - CDU


    This study examines two aspects of the biology of Melville Island. The first component is the historical ecology of the island, which involves the impact on, and the changes to, the vegetational communities as a result of the change in climate and the effect that humankind has had on the island. The study examines the vegetational changes from the tertiary period to the present day.

    The second aspect of the study considers some characteristics of the softwood plantations on Melville Island. It is essentially a study of the different understorey community structures present, encompassing fertiliser treatment, rainfall, location, clearing, firing and age and relating these factors to the diversity of the understorey, with the natrffM!egetation being used as a control for this part of the study. As far as was possible, the information obtained here has been correlated to the historical ecology of the area. Examination of the characteristics of the different plantations as such yielded additional information with regards to community structure. This lent support to the conclusion that the different plantation species, through their biotic features, have effected some changes in the nature of the understorey communities.

    These two aspects are synthetised to demonstrate the definite changes the plantations have brought about over the years, changes which have modified the ecology of the planted areas on Melville Island.

    Optimum stand management for the plantation is discussed and considered for further study.

    This is an initial study and further research is essential for the success of the plantation and to produce a detailed and informative historical ecology of the area studied.

    Date of Award1993
    Original languageEnglish

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