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Identification of key environmental variables associated with the presence of Toothed Leionema (Leionema bilobum serrulatum) in the Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria, Australia

Wright, Wendy, Zhu, Xuan, Okurowski, Mateusz
Australian journal of botany 2011 v.59 no.3 pp. 207-214
Rutaceae, altitude, geographic information systems, habitats, models, phytogeography, plantations, shrubs, topographic aspect, trees, Victoria (Australia)
Toothed Leionema is one of four subspecies of Leionema bilobum from the Rutaceae family. A dense shrub or small tree, growing to ~4m high, it is a poorly investigated species which is considered rare in Victoria, Australia. This paper presents the results of a study using Geographical Information Systems and Weights-of-Evidence predictive modelling to assess the importance of seven environmental factors in determining habitat suitability for this species in the Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria. This method is particularly useful in understanding the distribution of rare species, especially where the ecology of the species of interest is not well understood. Of the seven environmental factors considered here, four were found to be important: elevation, aspect, distance to water and distance to plantation (disturbed) areas. The modelling results indicate that areas with elevations between 350 and 550m and a dominant south-western aspect that are close to plantation areas (within 700m), and to water (within 1100-1200m), provide potentially suitable habitat for Toothed Leionema in the region.