SCHOOL OF NATURAL SCIENCES
Building19 (Room 19.141) Joondalup
VEGETATION PATTERNS AND DYNAMICS OF INDONESIAN TROPICAL SAVANNAS IN RELATION TO RAINFALL GRADIENT, FIRE,GRAZING AND BOUNDARIES
Tropical savannas cover over 20% of the Earth’s surface, with the largest coverage in Africa, Australia and South America.The patterns of savanna plant communities in Indonesia have received little study, but appear to be different from place to place and are worthy of further investigation as to what factors influence these differences.
The following hypotheses are established: vegetation patterns and dynamics of savannas in Indonesia are largely affected by the rainfall gradient, fire and grazing. Less rainfall results in more frequent fire, and together with grazing, these factors contribute to shaping the plant community. It is hypothesized that there will be a shift in plant communities across the rainfall gradient with more fire-adapted species in drier and more frequently burnt areas.
The study will be conducted in the tropical savannas across Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara Islands, Indonesia. The savannas stretch along a rainfall gradient (west to east), with precipitation higher in the west. Java Buffalo (Bos javanicus) and deer (Muntiacusmuntjak) are the main herbivores. The sampling design will involve numerous randomly placed plots established in each savanna across the rainfall gradient and, for two areas, aspace-for-time substitution involving recent fire and grazing exclusion. Remote sensing and geographical information system (RS-GIS) tools will also be used to assist in establishing fire history on the savanna sites. Multivariate analysis i.e. Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA), Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS), Analysis of Similarity (ANOSIM) and Permutation Multivariate Analysis of Variance (PERMANOVA)will be applied to analyse the patterns.