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Is Mundulla Yellows really a threat to undisturbed native vegetation? A comment



The term Mundulla Yellows (MY) was coined in 1997 to refer to a dieback disorder involving leaf chlorosis which affects Eucalyptus and other native southern Australian vascular plants. It was thought to be a new, spreading, contagious biotic disease with the potential to devastate native vegetation. Since then, research has found no evidence to confirm any role of biotic agents and generally the disorder has been more convincingly attributed to abiotic soil factors. It has now been suggested that most or all of the reported cases of MY are simply the very well-known nutrient disorder of alkaline soils, lime-induced chlorosis. All of the well-documented records of MY are from sites where acidic soils have become more alkaline because of the use of crushed limestone in road-making or to the use of alkaline irrigation water; none are from undisturbed native vegetation. Despite this research and much circumstantial evidence, the view that MY poses a grave risk to undisturbed vegetation still persists and needs to be corrected accordingly.