Potential aboveground biomass in drought-prone forest used for rangeland pastoralism

Fensham, R. J., Fairfax, R. J. and Dwyer, J. M. (2012) Potential aboveground biomass in drought-prone forest used for rangeland pastoralism. Ecological Applications, 22 3: 894-908. doi:10.1890/11-1123.1

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Author Fensham, R. J.
Fairfax, R. J.
Dwyer, J. M.
Title Potential aboveground biomass in drought-prone forest used for rangeland pastoralism
Journal name Ecological Applications   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1051-0761
1939-5582
Publication date 2012-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/11-1123.1
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 22
Issue 3
Start page 894
End page 908
Total pages 15
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The restoration of cleared dry forest represents an important opportunity to sequester atmospheric carbon. In order to account for this potential, the influences of climate, soils, and disturbance need to be deciphered. A data set spanning a region defined the aboveground biomass of mulga (Acacia aneura) dry forest and was analyzed in relation to climate and soil variables using a Bayesian model averaging procedure. Mean annual rainfall had an overwhelmingly strong positive effect, with mean maximum temperature (negative) and soil depth (positive) also important. The data were collected after a recent drought, and the amount of recent tree mortality was weakly positively related to a measure of three-year rainfall deficit, and maximum temperature (positive), soil depth (negative), and coarse sand (negative). A grazing index represented by the distance of sites to watering points was not incorporated by the models. Stark management contrasts, including grazing exclosures, can represent a substantial part of the variance in the model predicting biomass, but the impact of management was unpredictable and was insignificant in the regional data set. There was no evidence of density-dependent effects on tree mortality. Climate change scenarios represented by the coincidence of historical extreme rainfall deficit with extreme temperature suggest mortality of 30.1% of aboveground biomass, compared to 21.6% after the recent (2003–2007) drought. Projections for recovery of forest using a mapping base of cleared areas revealed that the greatest opportunities for restoration of aboveground biomass are in the higher-rainfall areas, where biomass accumulation will be greatest and droughts are less intense. These areas are probably the most productive for rangeland pastoralism, and the trade-off between pastoral production and carbon sequestration will be determined by market forces and carbon-trading rules.
Keyword Acacia aneura
Australia
Biomass
Carbon accounting
Carbon sequestration
Drought
Dry forest
Grazing
Mulga
Tree mortality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
Ecology Centre Publications
 
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