Australian Rainforests: Islands of Green in a Land of Fire

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 17, 2000 - Medical - 345 pages
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Why do Australian rainforests occur as islands within the vast tracts of Eucalyptus? Why is fire a critical ecological factor in every Australian landscape? What were the consequences of the use of fire by the Ice Age colonists? In this original and challenging book, David Bowman critically examines all hypotheses that have been advanced to answer these questions. He demonstrates that fire is the most critical factor in controlling the distribution of rainforest throughout Australia. Furthermore, while Aboriginal people used fire to skillfully manage and preserve habitats, he concludes that they did not significantly influence the evolution of Australia's unique flora and fauna. This volume, the first comprehensive overview of the diverse literature on this topic, solves the puzzle of the archipelago of rainforest habitats in Australia. It is essential reading for all ecologists, foresters, conservation biologists, and others interested in the biogeography and ecology of Australian rainforests.

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This is a politically correct book that totally rules out mans impact through fire stick farming and hunting on the flora and mega fauna of the Australian continent. Mans arrival 40,000 years ago coincides with the mass extinction of megafauna,the introduction of the destructive dog or 'dingo' and the gradual decline of temperate Araucaria forests and proliferation of the fire loving Eucalyptus. Its data has been skewed toward the authors views and no mention of mans impact is brought up. Definitely not recommended reading for truth seekers and realists. This publication is fantasy of the worst kind. 


Preface page ix
What is Australian rainforest?
The sclerophyll problem
The edaphic theory I The control of rainforest by soil phosphorus
The edaphic theory II Soil types drainage and fertility
The climate theory I Water stress
The climate theory II Light and temperature
The fire theory I Field evidence
The fire theory III Fire frequency succession and ecological drift
The fire theory IV Aboriginal landscape burning
The fire theory V Aridity and the evolution of flammable forests
The fire theory VI Fire management and rainforest conservation

The fire theory II Fire nutrient cycling and topography

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Popular passages

Page 291 - Beadle, NCW ( 1954). Soil phosphate and the delimitation of plant communities in eastern Australia. Ecology 35, 370-375. Beadle, NCW ( 1962a).
Page 315 - IM, 1937. The Ecology of the Central Coastal Area of New South Wales.
Page 291 - Baur, GN (1957). Nature and distribution of rain-forests in New South Wales. Australian Journal of Botany 5, 190-233.
Page 306 - Water balance of an Australian subtropical rainforest at altitude: the ecological and physiological significance of intercepted cloud and fog.
Page 295 - BRAITHWAITE, RW, DUDZINSKI, ML, RIDPATH, MG AND PARKER, BS, 1984. The impact of water buffalo on the monsoon forest ecosystem in Kakadu National Park.
Page 295 - Simulation of the effect of spatial and temporal variation in fire regimes on the population viability of a Banksia species. Conservation Biology 10, 776-784.
Page 295 - BROUGH, P., McLucKiE, J., AND PETRIE, AHK, 1924. — An Ecological Study of the Flora of Mouat Wilson.

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About the author (2000)

David Bowman is Professor of Forest Ecology in the School of Plant Science at the University of Tasmania. He uses a range of tools, including remote sensing and geographic information analysis, stable isotopes, ecophysiological analysis, mathematical modelling, biological survey and molecular analysis to understand how Australian landscapes have evolved in response to climatic change, varying fire regimes, the introduction of large vertebrate herbivores, and the impacts of contemporary and prehistoric management.

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