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Stand structure of the emergent conifer Araucaria laubenfelsii) in maquis and rainforest, Mont Do, New Caledonia

Rigg, L.S., Enright, N.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2979-4505 and Jaffré, T. (1998) Stand structure of the emergent conifer Araucaria laubenfelsii) in maquis and rainforest, Mont Do, New Caledonia. Austral Ecology, 23 (6). pp. 528-538.

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Despite its small size, New Caledonia has a flora which includes 43 endemic species of conifer. This study examines the stand structure of the New Caledonian conifer, Araucaria laubenfelsii Corbasson, a species which occurs on ultramafic soils as an emergent tree in rainforest and in an unusual structural association with maquis vegetation. Fire and cyclone blow-down are the primary disturbances in the maquis, but fire is infrequent in the rainforests which is evident from the low proportion of fire scarred trees. Preliminary results show abundant seedlings and saplings of A. laubenfelsii both in maquis and forest. Size class distributions of individuals suggest that the species is continuously regenerating in the maquis and immature forests. Variability in the stand structure in maquis communities reflects the probable patchy nature of disturbance from small-scale fires and blow-down from tropical cyclones. In mature forests, Nothofagus codonandra (Baillon) Steenis is the dominant canopy species and 'other tree species' are continuously regenerating, while the size class distributions and basal area of A. laubenfelsii suggest that there is, at present, limited regeneration of this species. Tree ring counts indicate that individuals in forest areas grow at a slower rate than those in maquis, but attain greater age, probably as a result of greater protection from fire.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
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