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Climate change impacts on the northern sandplain Kwongan vegetation of south-west Australia

Williams, A., Fontaine, J. and Enright, N. (2011) Climate change impacts on the northern sandplain Kwongan vegetation of south-west Australia. In: Ecological Society of Australia, 2011 Annual conference, 21 - 25 November, Hobart, Australia.


The southwest of Australia is a global biodiversity hotspot with high levels of plant species richness and endemism. Kwongan vegetation makes up part of this high diversity area and is dominated by woody shrub species. The focus of previous research on kwongan is dominated by fire, examining the role of fire in species lifecycles and the effect of differing fire regimes. However, little has been done thus far to investigate the potential effects of a changing climate on kwongan. This study aims to examine the effects of changing climate on the northern sandplain kwongan of southwest Australia, specifically, the effects of changes in rainfall and temperature on the demography of key sandplain shrub species. To achieve this, rainout shelters have been established to create a drought treatment by reducing rainfall, and this intercepted rainfall is being used to then create an increased rainfall treatment using gravity fed irrigation. Open top temperature chambers are being used to create an increased temperature treatment. The treatments are being applied to contrasting topo-edaphic locations: dune tops and swales, in newly burnt and unburnt sites, allowing comparison of effect between mature phase and regeneration phase vegetation.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Notes: Poster
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