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Early establishment of canopy and understorey species in degraded Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) forest: do plant treatments work and how can the community help?

Ruthrof, K., Douglas, T., Calver, M., Dell, B., Barber, P. and Hardy, G. (2009) Early establishment of canopy and understorey species in degraded Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) forest: do plant treatments work and how can the community help? In: 19th Conference of the Society of Ecological Restoration International, 24 - 26 August, Perth, Western Australia.

Abstract

The Ludlow Tuart Forest is the only remaining tall tuart forest in the world and one of the rarest ecosystems on earth. Tuart forests are of immense value for conserving biodiversity and protecting ecosystem function, as well as providing important cultural, social and economic values. However, these areas have been impacted upon by various disturbances including logging, grazing, clearing and weed and pathogen invasion, which have resulted in changes in vegetation structure and composition. This is concerning to scientists, land managers and the public and has resulted in a growing desire to develop techniques to restore these forests. This study investigated techniques for establishing tuart forest species in degraded tuart forests, including: the creation of ashbeds; and the addition of nutrients, chelating agents and water sources. Restoration trials were undertaken with the assistance from a number of community-based programs aimed to facilitate participation in a number of phases of the restoration process. These included provenance seed collection, planting and monitoring. Trials indicated that creation of conditions that mimic natural disturbances has a positive influence on seedling survival and growth. Significant levels of survival and growth can also be produced through the use of plant treatments such as specific types of fertilisers and chelating agents. This study has shown that together with a range of plant and site treatments community engagement can be successfully captured to assist in the establishment and on-going monitoring of restoration trials. These types of trials will drive continued improvement of restoration techniques for degraded forests.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4521
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