A biogeoclimatic analysis of Nothofagus cunninghamii (Hook.) Oerst. in southeastern Australia



The geographical limits of Nothofagus cunninghamii are highly correlated with climate and appear to be more or less in equilibrium with the climate of the present century in all but one of the areas of its present range. It is suggested that suitable climates for the species occur in the highlands of northeastern Victoria and southern New South Wales, beyond its present range, and it is possible that it occurred within the predicted area prior to the last ice age. It is suggested that populations of N. cunninghamii along the northeastern edge of its present range in the Central Highlands of Victoria may be migrating northeast along a narrow corridor of apparently suitable climate to re-occupy the postulated former range. The rate of migration would be expected to be extremely slow because of the poor dispersal ability of the species and the adverse impact of recurrent fires.