Vegetation distribution in relation to topographically driven processes in southwestern Australia

T. Dirnböck, R. J. Hobbs, R. J. Lambeck, P. A. Caccetta

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52 Citations (Scopus)


This study assesses the utility of modelling approaches to predict vegetation distribution in agricultural landscapes of southwestern Australia, Climate surfaces, hydrologic and erosion process models are used to link vegetation to environmental variables. Generalized additive models (GAM) are derived for presence/absence data of mapped vegetation types. Vegetation distribution shows significant responses to rainfall and subsequent water redistribution due to the relief; however, these variables are insufficient to effectively explain vegetation patterns at the local scale. Accordingly, prediction accuracy remains low (κ-values below 0.5). The striking unpredictability of the local distribution of the vegetation in the Wheatbelt is discussed with regard to the performance of topographically driven processes in subdued landscapes and with regard to geological, historical and biological factors determining the southwestern Australian plant species distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Vegetation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


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