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A Classification of Subantarctic Heard Island Vegetation
Dana M. Bergstrom, Jennie Whinam and Lee Belbin
Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
Vol. 34, No. 2 (May, 2002), pp. 169-177
Published by: INSTAAR, University of Colorado
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1552468
Page Count: 9
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The vascular and bryophyte floras of subantarctic Heard Island were classified using cluster analysis into six vegetation communities: Open Cushion Carpet, Mossy Feldmark, Wet Mixed Herbfield, Coastal Biotic Vegetation, Saltspray Vegetation, and Closed Cushion Carpet. Multidimensional scaling indicated that the vegetation communities were not well delineated but were continua. Discriminant analysis and a classification tree identified altitude, wind, peat depth, bryophyte cover and extent of bare ground, and particle size as discriminating variables. The combination of small area, glaciation, and harsh climate has resulted in reduced vegetation variety in comparison to those subantarctic islands north of the Antarctic Polar Front Zone. Some of the functional groups and vegetation communities found on warmer subantarctic islands are not present on Heard Island, notably ferns and sedges and fernbrakes and extensive mires, respectively.
Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research © 2002 Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate, contracting on behalf of the University of Colorado at Boulder for the benefit of INSTAAR