When it comes to reforestation, impacts on seedling growth from competition, herbivory and land-use legacy may be as predictable as a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors

The Applied Ecologist's blog

Species interactions are the foundations of ecological science. As early as pre-school, we begin building food webs and discussing the basic principles of species survival and interactions between living and non-living parts of an ecosystem. We know herbivores eat plants and prefer ‘tasty’ ones; plants compete for light, nutrients, water and space; and historical land management impacts on future actions. What we still don’t know is the importance of the interactions between these core elements. Which of these elements is the most important for land managers to take into consideration when they are trying to re-plant a forest, given that all three impact on seedling survival and systemic budget shortages?

A picture of recently initiated direct seeding project for the re-establishment of wet schelerophyll forest in South East Queensland Australia, called Tulipwood. The main goal of this project is to find effective but cheap methods for re-growing Eucalypt-Acacia forests on farms. The Johnson et al. results suggest that limited budgets should invest in the control of the three invasive grasses that dominate this site as opposed to investing in more effective fences to protect the seedlings from native herbivores. A recently initiated direct seeding project for the re-establishment of wet schelerophyll forest in South East Queensland Australia, called Tulipwood. The main goal of this project is to find effective but cheap methods for re-growing Eucalypt-Acacia forests on farms. The…

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