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Supplementing resources that mimic ecosystem processes and increase restoration success in degraded Eucalypt woodlands

Ruthrof, K.X., Calver, M.C.ORCID: 0000-0001-9082-2902 and Hardy, G. (2010) Supplementing resources that mimic ecosystem processes and increase restoration success in degraded Eucalypt woodlands. In: Ecological Society of Australia 2010 Annual Conference Sustaining biodiversity – the next 50 years (book of abstracts), 4 - 10 December, Canberra, ACT, Australia.


Massive health decline of Mediterranean-type-ecosystem (MTE) woodlands results in inadequate levels of natural regeneration. This can drive woodlands across biotic thresholds, where they are pushed beyond normal resilience and sudden and unpredictable changes occur. Without some form of management intervention these woodlands will suffer local extinction. Using declining Eucalyptus gomphocephala woodlands as a case study, we undertook field trials to increase restoration success by introducing propagules to overcome the biotic threshold and mimicking favourable conditions for species that primarily recruit following fire. This involved adding abiotic (nutrient and moisture) resources, even though the ecosystem had not crossed an abiotic threshold. We found that control plants had low establishment, confirming the crossing of a biotic but not an abiotic threshold, and the irreversibility of the degraded woodland without intervention. Establishment was higher in treated compared with control plots and the supplementation of nutrient resources seemed to be most critical in increasing early establishment. We suggest that although some declining woodlands have crossed biotic but not abiotic thresholds, supplementing abiotic resources which simulate ecosystem processes can increase restoration success. This study has implications for restoration activities in degraded MTE communities that naturally recruit following fire and where biotic thresholds have been crossed.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre of Excellence for Climate Change and Forest and Woodland Health
School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Conference Website:
Notes: Poster
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