Intervention strategies for community-driven restoration of an iconic canopy species with specific regeneration niche requirements.
Ruthrof, K., Hardy, G., Matusick, G. and Valentine, L. (2014) Intervention strategies for community-driven restoration of an iconic canopy species with specific regeneration niche requirements. In: Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research XXIV IUFRO World Congress, 5 - 11 October, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Regeneration is a necessity for sustained forest conservation. Eucalyptus gomphocephala has a specific regeneration niche; mass recruiting in ashbeds following fire events. However, there are few regeneration opportunities in contemporary urban environments. Importantly, it is the conservation of urban ecosystems that will be vital in maintaining connection between people and the environment. For E. gomphocephala, ashbeds necessary for regeneration usually occur following hot fire. This may not occur following low-intensity, fuel reduction burns that are prescribed for many E. gomphocephala forests. However, ashbeds can be created by constructing and burning coarse woody debris (CWD) piles. In a series of collaborative projects with the community, including local and state agencies, we investigated whether regeneration could be facilitated through broadcast seeding naturally occurring ashbeds following wildfire and creating CWD piles prior to prescribed burns, which were subsequently seeded. We found that seeding into naturally occurring ashbeds facilitated regeneration. We also found artificial creation of ashbeds contained sufficiently high numbers of seedlings for successful regeneration. These studies provide tools that can be used to preserve the natural demographics of E. gomphocephala populations in urban environments by leveraging natural recruitment processes and community involvement.
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