Data from Wallaby Creek flux tower, Victoria.
The Wallaby Creek flux station is located in Kinglake National Park, Victoria, South Eastern Australia: 37? 25? 34.4"S, 145? 11? 14.1"E. The area is assigned the IUCN Category II (National Parks) of the United Nations? list of National Parks and protected areas, which means that park is primarily managed for ecosystem conservation.
The site is approximately 45km north east of Melbourne, lies at an elevation of approximately 720 metres, and is located on the southern edge of the Hume Plateau. The catchment area is dominated by Eucalyptus Regnans or Mountain Ash, the world?s tallest flowering plant (angiosperm). Trees can reach heights of more than 90 metres growing in areas with high rainfall and fertile soil. These trees are well distributed throughout Victoria?s Central Highlands including the Otway Ranges and Strzlecki Ranges; they are also found in Tasmania. The site contains a chronosequence of (20, 80 and 300) stand ages that were established during fires occurring over the last 300 years.
The tower itself is located within an old growth stand with individual trees as old as 300 years. Mountain ash forests are confined to the cool mountain regions with elevations ranging from 460 - 1100m and average rainfalls of 1100-2000mm. The catchment area contains a portion of the Mt Disappointment range, the Divide and the headwaters of Wallaby Creek and Silver Creek, and much of the slopes are characterised as flat to moderate.
The major soil type within the forest is krasnozemic soils, which are friable red/brown, with high amounts of organic matter in the upper 20 ? 30cm. However, the composition of krasnozemic soils is not homogenous, but rather a variation with altitude can be observed; lower altitudes inhabit grey-yellow podsolised soils compared to higher altitudes of the Kinglake and Hume plateau where the soil composition is krasnozemic loams. The clay content of these soils increases with depth until at least 200 cm deep, where after a transition soils contain rock fragments.
Bushfires swept through the region in January 2009 destroying the tower. Data from the site has been recorded from May 2010 onwards. As the tower is relatively new, the post fire instrumentation is currently not as diverse when compared to the pre fire instrumentation.
The climate of the study area is classified as a cool, temperate zone, with the highest temperatures occurring during the summer months of December ? February (13.8 ? 22.5?C), whilst the coolest temperatures are experienced in May and August (4.7 ? 9.2?C). Average annual precipitation is 1209mm, with a maximum rainfall occurring in June (Ashton, 2000). The study site experiences foggy conditions after sunset during autumn and winter.
The forest is classed as a tall, wet sclerophyll forest, and the dominant Mountain Ash trees have an average canopy height of 75m. Below the dominant canopy lies a temperate rainforest understorey consisting of Pomaderris aspera and Olearia argophylla species, which are 10-18 metres tall. The lower layers of vegetation are dominated by tree ferns (Cyathea australis and Dicksonia antartica) and extensive tracts of rosette and rhizonic ferns (Polystichum proliferum and Blechnum wattsii) as well as Acacia trees.