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The decline of tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephela) health in the Kwinana remnant bushland, Perth WA

Chilcott, C. (1994) The decline of tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephela) health in the Kwinana remnant bushland, Perth WA. In: Proceedings of the National Greening Australia Conference, 4 - 6 October, Fremantle, Western Australia pp. 241-243.

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Abstract

Poor tree condition of tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephela DC.), particularly around the Perth Metropolitan region has been noted by many authors. Cursory observations of tuart led authors to hypothesis causes of tuart decline without extensive investigation of the underlying mechanisms of decline of the distribution of affected trees. The complex interactions between human activity, environmental condition and the status of tuarts has made it impossible to accurately predict the cause of tuart decline.

A survey of tuart health throughout the natural range was undertaken to identify the distribution of affected trees and eliminate general hypotheses that failed to universally explain the observed problem.

The survey assessed tuart status, plus site and ecological characteristics at 30 sites, 16 within the metropolitan region and 14 in rural areas. Trees in urban areas were of significantly poorer health, with larger numbers of dead trees and fewer perfectly healthy trees than in rural areas. Decline in species other than tuart was uncommon, and not restricted to any on species.

The poorest tuart health was observed in. the Kwinana region where there is extensive industrial development. Distance from Kwinana, the largest industrial development within tuart distribution is positively correlated to tree health. A more intensive survey of tuart health was undertaken within the Kwinana remnant bushlands.

The survey found that poor tuart health was restricted to remnant bushland to the north east of the industrial strip, with tuarts in other areas of good condition. There was a strong positive relationship between the actual distance from the 'pollution source' and tuart crown condition. Exposed trees were of poorer health than those with close neighbours.

In conclusion, tuart decline was restricted to those areas influenced by industrial air pollution.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Institute for Science and Technology Policy
School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Greening Australia
Copyright: © 1994 Greening Australia Limited
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/22811
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