Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Seeing the forest for the trees: Fertiliser increases tree growth but decreases understorey diversity in the northern jarrah forest, southwest australia

Daws, M.I., Standish, R.J., Lambers, H. and Tibbett, M. (2021) Seeing the forest for the trees: Fertiliser increases tree growth but decreases understorey diversity in the northern jarrah forest, southwest australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 104 . pp. 5-9.

[img]
Preview
PDF - Published Version
Download (5MB) | Preview

Abstract

Forestry science and practice suggests thinning and fertiliser increase the growth rates of individual trees. In a recent paper reporting on a long-term experiment in the Northern Jarrah Forest, Bhandari et al. (2021) found positive effects of both thinning and fertilisation, and suggested these management practices will result in a shorter return interval for large trees within the population, thereby providing significant benefits at an ecosystem scale. We argue that whereas thinning alone may be beneficial, the application of fertiliser to native ecosystems within the South West Australian Floristic Region requires caution due to impacts on understorey plant diversity. Not only are soils in this region generally deeply-weathered and highly nutrient-deficient, but the evolution of a suite of adaptations for nutrient-acquisition is implicated in both speciation and the maintenance of plant species diversity. Furthermore, long-term experiments in restored jarrah forest indicate that fertiliser both reduces species diversity and increases fine fuel loads. Therefore thinning, but not fertiliser application, is an appropriate management strategy to improve tree growth in this global biodiversity hotspot.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Royal Society of Western Australia
Copyright: © 2021 The Royal Society of Western Australia Inc.
Publisher's Website: https://www.rswa.org.au/
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/61014
Item Control Page Item Control Page

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year