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Changes in climate and vegetation with altitude on Mount Batilamu, Viti Levu, Fiji

Anderson, Jacynta and Keppel, Gunnar and Thomson, Sophie-Min and Randell, Anthony and Raituva, Jone and Koroi, Iliesa and Anisi, Ramokasa and Charlson, Tanya and Boehmer, Hans Juergen and Kleindorfer, Sonia (2018) Changes in climate and vegetation with altitude on Mount Batilamu, Viti Levu, Fiji. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 34 . pp. 316-325. ISSN 0266-4674

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    Abstract

    To investigate changes in vegetation and climate with altitude, we established forest plots and recorded climatic data at 100-m intervals between 550–1100 m asl on the western slopes of Mount Batilamu, Mount Koroyanitu range, Viti Levu, Fiji. Trees with a dbh ≥10 cm were identified and measured in 21 10×10-m plots, starting at 750 m altitude. Temperature and relative humidity sensors were deployed in two habitats, leaf litter and 50 cm above the ground, and two vegetation types, grasslands and forest, at six altitudes over a 48-h period. Two significantly distinct forest types, lowland and montane, were present. Montane forest was found at higher elevations (>950 m asl) and had significantly higher stem density. Mean temperature decreased significantly with altitude and was strongly moderated by vegetation type (lower average and less variation in forest). While average relative humidity significantly increased with altitude, it was strongly moderated by both habitat and vegetation type (higher average and less variation in leaf litter and forest). The lapse rate varied with time of day (higher during the day) and vegetation type (higher in grasslands). Therefore, vegetation and microhabitats create uniquemicroclimates, and this should be considered when investigating current or future climatic patterns along altitudinal gradients on forested mountains.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
    G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
    Q Science > QK Botany
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
    Depositing User: Juergen Boehmer
    Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2019 16:16
    Last Modified: 13 Feb 2019 16:16
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/11231
    UNSPECIFIED

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