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Leaf Nutrient Concentrations and Timber Productivity in the Dry Sclerophyll Forests of South-East Queensland, Australia: Implications for Arboreal Marsupials

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Abstract:

The species richness and abundance of arboreal marsupials are positively related to the proportion of total stand basal area occupied by Corymbia citriodora ssp. variegata and tree height in South-East Queensland and have been related to nutrient availability and productivity in other parts of Australia. The objectives of this study were to assess the relationships of stand basal area occupied by C. citriodora and tree height, and the available nutrients and productivity in the dry sclerophyll forests of South-East Queensland. Leaf nutrient analysis of seven species of trees in South-East Queensland showed that the percentage by weight of phosphorus in leaves increased with the proportion of the total stand basal area of C. citriodora. This rate of increase was greater for C. citriodora than other species, indicating that C. citriodora may be more competitive on soils with greater available phosphorus. C. citriodora leaves also contained higher concentrations of nitrogen and potassium than the other tree species on multispecies sites. Timber productivity was greater at the sites where trees were taller, and tree height was positively correlated to the proportion of total stand basal area of C. citriodora and rainfall but was negatively correlated to the slope. These findings indicate that the most used habitat by arboreal marsupials in the dry sclerophyll forests of South-East Queensland (i.e., taller forests with a high proportion of the stand basal area occupied by C. citriodora) had higher concentrations of foliar nutrients and were more productive than less used habitats.

Keywords: Corymbia; Eucalyptus; arboreal marsupials; habitat quality; nitrogen; phosphorus; potassium; timber production

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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