A Survey of Sphagnum Moss in South Australia

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Abstract:

There is little information published on the distribution of Sphagnum moss in South Australia. Data on the known distribution of Sphagnum moss were compiled from South Australian Herbarium records, previous publications and information from field officers. A list of sites where Sphagnum moss was known to occur or might occur was prepared and as many of these sites were surveyed as possible during October 2006. Sphagnum was found not to form Sphagnum peatlands, as it does in other parts of eastern Australia and overseas, but tends to occur as a minor component in other peatland and/or heath vegetation communities. Sphagnum was most commonly found in conjunction with Melaleuca/Leptospermum heaths or Restionaceous sedge communities.

Many of the sites surveyed showed signs of drying, including the desiccation of Sphagnum moss, the germination of Acacia melanoxylon seedlings and the presence of several weed species. 'Big Swamp' described as a Sphagnum peatland in 1939 (Crocker & Eardley) was found to contain only two minute patches of drying Sphagnum novo-zelandicum. Many sites were surrounded by weeds, with the hydrology of many catchments with Sphagnum moss affected by eucalypt and/or pine plantations. The small populations of Sphagnum novo-zelandicum and the threats posed by lower moisture availability indicate that this species should be listed as threatened in South Australia.

Keywords: CLIMATE CHANGE; HEATHLANDS; PEATLANDS; SOUTH AUSTRALIA; SPHAGNUM; SURVEY; THREATENED SPECIES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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  • In 2004, the South Australian Museum and the Royal Society of South Australia became partners in Southern Scientific Press. This led to the amalgamation of their two professional journals. The Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia now incorporates the Records of the South Australian Museum.
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia deals with natural history relating to South Australia
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