The Australian vegetation is the end result of a remarkable history of climate change, latitudinal change, continental isolation, soil evolution, interaction with an evolving fauna, fire and human impact.
This book presents a detailed synopsis of the critical events which led to the evolution of the unique Australian flora and the wide variety of vegetation types contained within it. The first part of the book details the past continental relationships of Australia, its palaeoclimate, fauna, and the evolution of its landforms since the rise to dominance of the angiosperms at the beginning of the Cretaceous period. A detailed summary of the palaeobotanical record is then presented. The palynological record gives an overview of the vegetation, and the distribution of important taxa within it, while the macrofossil record is used to trace the evolution of critical taxa.
Originally published in 1994
List of contributors
1. The Australian fossil plant record: an introduction R. S. Hill
2. Maps of late Mesozoic-Cenozoic Gondwana break-up: some palaeographical implications G. E. Wilford and P. J. Brown
3. The background: 144 million years of Australian palaeoclimate and palaeogeography P. G. Quilty
4. Palaeobotanical evidence for Tertiary climates D. R. Greenwood
5. Landscapes of Australia: their nature and evolution G. Taylor
6. Patterns in the history of Australia's mammals and inferences about palaeohabitats M. Archer, S. J. Hand and H. Godthelp
7. Australian Tertiary phytogeography: evidence from palynology H. A. Martin
8. Cretaceous vegetation: the microfossil record M. E. Dettmann
9. Cretaceous vegetation: the macrofossil record J. G. Douglas
10. Early Tertiary vegetation: evidence from spores and pollen M. K. Macphail, N. F. Alley, E. M. Truswell and I. R. K. Sluiter
11. The early Tertiary macrofloras of continental Australia D. C. Christophel
12. Cenozoic vegetation in Tasmania: macrofossil evidence R. J. Carpenter, R. S. Hill and G. J. Jordan
13. The Neogene: a period of transition A. P. Kershaw, H. A. Martin and J. R. C. McEwen Mason
14. The Oligo-Miocene coal floras of south-eastern Australia D. T. Blackburn and I. R. K. Sluiter
15. Quaternary vegetation G. S. Hope
16. The history of selected Australian taxa R. S. Hill
"[...] a most important synthesis to be used in conjunction with R.H. Grove's 2nd ed. of Australian Vegetation [...]"
– Taxon 43
"More than merely a study of Australian paleobotany, this handsome volume incorporates the fossil record, geology, interaction with mammalian fauna, and climate in a series of 16 chapters written by varied authorities on Australian vegetation and natural history. Covering a period of roughly 150,000,000 years, the test includes a reference to just about every significant paper written about the origin and evolution of Australian flora [...] recommended."
" [...] a very comprehensive documentation of the Australian tertiary flora [...] This reviewer whole-heartedly recommends that this book be purchased [...] and placed on the bookshelves of all those individuals involved in the study of plant history, be they geologists, paleobotanists or those botanists who need to expand their geographical horizons. Not only is this book thoroughly researched with many references, some not readily accessible to North Americans, but it represents a model for books that ought to be written summarizing the tertiary floras of North America, Asia and Europe."
– Herbert L. Hergert, Plant Science Bulletin
"How did this vegetation develop and evolve? Robert Hill's History of the Australian Vegetation is a scholarly treatise on the various forces that have lead to the recent flora. The beautifully produced book is a product of several complementary scientific approaches to the question, with contributions from paleobotanists, geologists, palynologists, and stratigraphers. Together, they offer us a detailed and critical discussion [...] gives the botanist an enormous satisfaction of being able to make sense, in ecological and evolutionary ways, of a flora that at first glance seems so alien."
– Steven N. Handel, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club