Distribution and diversity of exotic plant species in montane to alpine areas of Kosciuszko National Park
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Diversity and distribution of exotic plant taxa in Kosciuszko National Park in south-eastern Australia were reviewed based on 1103 records of exotics from 18 vegetation surveys conducted between 1986 and 2004. 154 taxa from 23 families were recorded in the alpine to montane zones, with eleven taxa in the alpine, 128 taxa in the subalpine and 69 taxa in the montane zone. Nearly all taxa were associated with anthropogenic disturbance with only four taxa exclusively recorded in natural areas. 62 taxa were recorded from subalpine ski resort gardens, and although not recorded as naturalised in the vegetation surveys, their presence in the Park is a concern. Road verges provided habitat for numerous exotics (65 taxa). 44 taxa were recorded in both disturbed and natural locations but most were uncommon (33 taxa < 2% frequency). Nine common taxa Acetosella vulgaris, Achillea millefolium, Agrostis capillaris, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Cerastium spp., Dactylis glomerata, Hypochaeris radicata, Taraxacum officinale and Trifolium repens comprised 68% of records. These species are common to disturbed areas in other areas of Kosciuszko National Park, NSW and worldwide. The forb Acetosella vulgaris was the most ubiquitous species particularly in natural areas where it was recorded at 36% frequency. Based on the data presented here and a recent review of other data sets, there are at least 231 exotic taxa in the Park (including exotics in gardens). The increasing diversity and abundance of exotics is a threat to the natural values of this Park.
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