AusLTER - Mallee Plot Network - Australia
AusLTER - Mallee Plot Network
The Mallee Plot Network is located in the red aeolian sand dunefield landscape of the Scotia district within Tarawi Nature Reserve, Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary and Danggali Conservation Park in south-western New South Wales and adjacent areas of South Australia. The study area sits on the south-eastern edge of the Australian arid zone and is close to the arid limits of distribution of the mallee woodland biome, which stretches across the temperate semiarid belt of southern Australia (Noble 1984). Mallee woodlands typically occur in regions In the Scotia district and its surrounding region, mallee woodlands occur within a landscape mosaic that includes patches of woodland dominated by Casuarina pauper (belah) and shrublands dominated by Maireana sedifolia and M. pyramidata (bluebush) (Westbrooke et al. 1998). These latter vegetation types occur on gently undulating sandplains with a calcareous crust not far below the soil surface. In contrast, mallee woodlands dominate transverse east–west oriented dunefields. The dunes are characterised by deep, red sandy loams dominated by Eucalyptus socialis (pointed mallee), E. dumosa and E. costata—occasionally with Callitris verrucosa - with a mixed understorey of hummock grasses and shrubs, and a largely ephemeral ground layer of tussock grasses and forbs. The intervening swales have finer-textured red loams and generally support a wider range of eucalypts including E. oleosa and E. gracilis, but C. verrucosa is absent. Their understoreys typically include a higher density and diversity of shrubs but lack hummock grasses, and the ground layer is typically sparse. Detailed descriptions of vegetation and landscapes are included in Westbrooke et al. (1998). Temporal visits were initially staggered, then annual for 3 years and is now decadal. Between 2012 and 2018 the Mallee Plot Network was a member of Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN), Australia, a facility of the Australian Government's Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN)..
General Characteristics and Status