East Melbourne, Australia
East Melbourne, Australia

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Bennett L.T.,University of Melbourne | Mele P.M.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Annett S.,Nicholson St | Kasel S.,University of Melbourne
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2010

Public expectations of soil management are gradually expanding beyond traditional primary production requirements to include diverse ecosystem services. In Australia, as in many other countries, the accommodation of these new expectations will require shifts in the practice of private land managers. In turn, this may require public intervention and the expenditure of public funds. However, public net benefits from soil management interventions are rarely established, in part due to a lack of understanding of the conceptual links between management changes, soil health, and associated services and benefits. This paper uses an ecosystem services-based approach to examine these links from an Australian perspective.Entrenchment of the popular soil health concept in field-based assessments of agricultural production potential was found to limit the concept's applicability to questions of broader public benefit. Without expanding soil health to include more ecological indicators, the concept risks remaining peripheral to contemporary visions of multiple-outcome soil management in Australia. Conceptual and case study links were examined between soil properties and processes, soil-based services, and private and public net benefits. In this framework, benefits were produced from services, and were considered a more tangible point for public understanding and valuation than services. The qualitative case study highlighted many knowledge gaps relating to non-agricultural services and benefits from soils, particularly in the scaling-up of sub-paddock measurements, and in the form and constancy of relationships among services and benefits. Criteria for identifying priority public benefits from soil management were examined, namely, likelihood, degree, consequence, scale, direction, time lag, and valuation. Assumptions about these criteria require rigorous testing so that the what, where, when, and how of public benefits from changed soil management can be more clearly defined. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Dooley G.M.,VicForests | Murray M.D.,56 Brockley St. | Lutze M.T.,71 173 Nicholson St. | McCarthy G.J.,71 173 Nicholson St. | And 2 more authors.
Australian Forestry | Year: 2010

The seedcrop development cycle of Eucalyptus viminalis ssp. viminalis (manna gum) was studied at a site in the High-Elevation Mixed Species forests of East Gippsland for a period of 6 y. The study involved sample seed trap collections and field observations of reproductive components from the following stages of the seedcrop development cycle: . Inflorescence bud development . Bract fall and flower bud development . Flowering and capsule development . Natural seed fall and capsule fall. The timing of reproductive stages during the cycle was very consistent from year to year. Seedcrop development from bud initiation to capsule maturation occurred over a period of about 2.25 y. Quantities of reproductive components produced and lost were seasonally variable. The number of flower buds produced ranged from 2.4 million to 19.6 million ha-1 over the 6-y period. Mature capsules produced ranged from 0 in 2005 to 7.7 million ha-1 in 2004. Percentage losses of inflorescence buds (generally 20-40%) and flowers (generally 40-60%) were fairly consistent over most years. Generally, abundant inflorescence buds resulted in heavy seedcrops. A heavy seedcrop cycle was followed by a light seedcrop cycle for the period of the study. Seedfall occurred through every month of the year, with the peak occurring in February-April, only 2-4 mo after seed maturation in the capsules. Records from a weather station near the site suggested that heavy summer rainfall may have been associated with large losses of flowers and maturing capsules in the 2002 season. Neither heavy snowfall nor strong wind events, nor insect and bird predation, appeared to affect the numbers of reproductive components greatly, with the possible exception of wasp attack on inflorescence buds. We make recommendations to assist in silvicultural planning of harvesting and regeneration of E. viminalis in HEMS forests.

Suarez L.,RMIT University | Suarez L.,Cooperative Research Center for Spatial Information | Youngentob K.,Australian National University | Jones S.,RMIT University | And 11 more authors.
CEUR Workshop Proceedings | Year: 2012

Photosynthetic rate is an indicator of vegetation performance as a carbon sequestration element on earth. At the same time, primary productivity is also function of photosynthetic rate and canopy cover. The photosynthetic capacity of an ecosystem is limited by the foliage pigment content due to the active participation of pigmentation in photon capture. Hence, the quantitative assessment of foliage pigment content is of high importance in order to monitor forest primary productivity and ecosystem performance in carbon sequestration. Pigment content estimation over large areas can be assessed using remote sensing data using empirical algorithms or by inverting radiative transfer models. Both techniques need accurate leaf pigment measurement for parameterisation and validation. Leaf sampling field protocols are then needed in order to collect and store leaf tissue without altering leaf pigment composition before its analysis in the laboratory. The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) is a platform for researchers and land managers in Australia to work together on terrestrial ecosystem inventory and monitoring. Leaf sampling for pigment content estimation in Australian forests is then part of TERN field sites activities. This paper presents a leaf sampling field protocol used for TERN field activities during 2012. Two set of leaf samples were collected from sun exposed branches from each individual stand. The first set of samples was frozen immediately in dry ice and kept at -70 degrees Celsius for subsequent pigment quantification in the laboratory. The second set of leaves was kept under 10 degrees Celsius in humid conditions. This second set was later used for leaf spectroscopy measurement and to quantify water and dry matter content per unit area. Additionally, pertinent metadata was collected to characterise each sampled stand. The field protocol presented here has been used for leaf sampling on a broad range of study areas varying in species composition, canopy height and foliage density.

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