Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/61912
Type: Thesis
Title: Plant ecology of part of the Mt. Lofty Ranges and a reconnaissance survey of the soils and vegetation of the hundreds of Tatiara, Wirrega and Stirling of county Buckingham.
Author: Specht, R. L.
Issue Date: 1949
School/Discipline: Dept. of Botany
Abstract: This paper deals with the ecology of that part of the Mount Lofty Ranges between the Torrens Gorge in the north and Noarlunga in the south. The area surveyed by Specht lies between the Torrens Gorge in the north, grid line 80 of the Adelaide and Echunga ordnance map in the east and grid line 68 in the south, while Perry surveyed the area from grid line 68 in the north to 52 in the south extending east from the coast to grid line 68. The only previous ecological work on this area was a reconnaissance survey by Adamson and Osborn (1). As can be expected from reconnaissance survey, some generalisations were made which probably apply to part of the Mount Lofty Ranges but not necessarily to the whole. Adamson and Osborn did not publish any vegetation map, nor did they indicate in the text the exact localities studied. Since then detailed work on the soils of the southern portion of the Hundred of Kuitpo, by Taylor and O'Donnell (21) and on the geology by Sprigg (17, 18, 19) form a useful background to this study of ecology. Considering the limited size but complexity of the area, it was deemed necessary that the ecology should be approached from a study of the autecology of the dominant tree species and of the formations. With this in view the distribution of the tree species and formations was mapped by projecting their limits on a contour map. As many factors as possible of the environment were examined and attempts were made to correlate the distribution of the species with the environment. The soils were surveyed by borings at each grid intersection on the ordnance survey maps, i.e. at approximately 1,000 yard intervals. Because of the complexity of the environment the study of the vegetation could be regarded as a number of specially designed experiments in which possibly only one factor at a time was variable. For instance, it was found that soils of different nutrient status occurred contiguously under the same climatic conditions, while soils of one group extended from regions of low to high rainfall. Of course, any generalisation can only be accepted on the understanding that it may not necessarily apply to other areas of the Mount Lofty Range. However, although other surveys of the ecology of this State have been of rather a broad nature in comparison, they have yielded conclusions roughly similar to some suggested in this survey. These have been indicated in their appropriate places within the text. It must be pointed out that in dealing with the trees whose roots tend to penetrate to great depth, the early stages of growth are considered crucial in their development within the environment in which they are found. As most of the soils throughout the area are extremely poor most of the area has been left relatively undeveloped. It is only along the coastal parts in the south, the Adelaide Plains and fertile valleys and ridges of the Hills, that much agricultural development has taken place. Most of the soils of the coastal area are planted with vineyards and orchards, but some cereals are grown. The Adelaide Plain, although now closely settled, was once an extensive cereal growing area, while the small fertile portions of the hills are planted with orchards, vegetables and some pastures. The savannah woodlands are used in their natural state for grazing. INTRODUCTION This reconnaissance survey of the soils and vegetation of portion of the Upper South East of South Australia is intended as a basis for a pasture survey being carried out by the Waite Agri¬cultural Research Institute, and financed by the Australian Wool Board. This survey is primarily concerned with the woodland communities of the Keith (Hundred of Stirling) and Tatiara districts (Hundreds of Wirrega and Tatiara ) districts in the Upper South East of South Australia. These fertile communities lie within the mallee-broombush, heath and mallee-heath communities of the "Deserts” and show a sharp line of demarcation from them. The possible relationships between the woodland communities and those of the "Deserts" have been investigated. The survey has been made by examining the distribution of the soils and vegetation along all the passable surveyed roads of the area. Extrapolation of the boundaries was found unnecessary in most cases, for the roads were relatively close together. However, as most of the surveyed roads of the “Desert” were impassable, the vegetation there has been correlated and mapped from aerial photographs.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.Sc.) -- University of Adelaide, Dept. of Botany, 1949
Keywords: plant; soils vegetation
Description: Title page, table of contents, introduction only. The complete thesis in print form is available from the University of Adelaide Library.
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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