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Victoria, Australia

Gibson-Roy P.,University of Melbourne | Moore G.,University of Melbourne | Delpratt J.,University of Melbourne | Gardner J.,Greening Australia
Ecological Management and Restoration | Year: 2010

Summary The Grassy Groundcover Restoration Project (GGRP) has sown thirteen 1 ha plots of species-rich grassland or herbaceous understorey in previously weedy agricultural paddocks in a range of rural locations across southern and western Victoria, Australia. The sown plots are intended as both experimental trials and 'core' areas for the restoration of herbaceous communities native to these regions. Approximately 200 species were grown in Seed Production Areas (SPAs) and successfully sown in the field. Species were most successfully established on areas that were scalped prior to seeding, and least successful on plots that were pre-treated with 1, 2 or 3 years of traditional herbicide weed control. Weed presence was lowest in scalped plots and highest in non-scalped plots. Long-term monitoring will be required to understand the development trajectories and degree of persistence of the sown communities, but in the shorter term (3-6 years of post-seeding) an average of 80% of sown species have established and remain as adult populations. Surveys indicate that in scalped plots (n = 130) vegetation composition, structure and quality has been maintained. Conversely, composition, structure and quality have declined markedly in non-scalped plots (n = 130). Formal surveys and field observations have also revealed that all sites provide a range of habitats which have been colonized by fauna from a variety of trophic levels. The implications of building on these trials to realize complex grassy ecosystem restoration at larger scales are discussed including the securing of sufficient quantities of high-quality seed, the use of mechanized broad-scale direct-seeding techniques and the effectiveness of using complex mixtures of species early in the restoration cycle. © 2010 Ecological Society of Australia. Source

Paul K.I.,CSIRO | Reeson A.,CSIRO | Polglase P.,CSIRO | Crossman N.,CSIRO | And 2 more authors.
Land Use Policy | Year: 2013

Many studies have predicted, at a national scale, the economic viability of new forestry plantings to contribute to mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia's cleared agricultural lands. Such predictions are highly uncertain given: (i) differences in site quality, management regimes and planting geometries (belt versus block configurations) result in rates of sequestration that are highly variable at regional scales and (ii) uncertainties in carbon accounting methods in future carbon markets. Here we examined the economics of three case studies (two of farm forestry and one of biodiverse environmental plantings) to address these issues. There was significant variation in economic viability both between and within case studies (average coefficient of variation of 39%) as a result of differences in site quality, management regime and planting geometries. We conclude that if carbon offset investment targets marginal land (i.e. areas of farms of lowest productivity), carbon prices required for economic viability are <$18t CO 2-e, even at a relatively high discount rate of 8%. Although regional employment generated per hectare tends to be less than many existing agricultural enterprises, any jobs generated from use of this low productivity land for carbon forestry would be additional. Economic viability was generally greatest for 3-4 row belt farm forestry plantings because of increased growth, particularly in areas of relatively high rainfall. Supplementary payments may therefore be needed to make biodiverse environmental plantings competitive in areas of lower rainfall and thus less profitability. © 2012. Source

Drake J.A.,Monash University | Carrucan A.,Greening Australia | Jackson W.R.,Monash University | Cavagnaro T.R.,University of Adelaide | Patti A.F.,Monash University
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

Reforestation of landscapes is being used as a method for tackling climate change through carbon sequestration and land restoration, as well as increasing biodiversity and improving the provision of ecosystem services. The success of reforestation activities can be reduced by adverse field conditions, including those that reduce germination and survival of plants. One method for improving success is biochar addition to soil, which is not only known to improve soil carbon sequestration, but is also known to improve growth, health, germination and survival of plants. In this study, biochar was applied to soil at rates of 0, 1, 3 and 6tha-1 along with a direct-seed forest species mix at three sites in western Victoria, Australia. Changes in soil chemistry, including total carbon, and germination and survival of species were measured over an 18month period. Biochar was found to significantly increase total carbon by up to 15.6% on soils low in carbon, as well as alter electrical conductivity, Colwell phosphorous and nitrate- and ammonium-nitrogen. Biochar also increased the number of species present, and stem counts of Eucalyptus species whilst decreasing stem counts of Acacia species. Biochar has the potential to positively benefit reforestation activities, but site specific and plant-soil-biochar responses require targeted research. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.. Source

Jonson J.H.,Greening Australia | Freudenberger D.,Greening Australia
Australian Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

In the south-western region of Australia, allometric relationships between tree dimensional measurements and total tree biomass were developed for estimating carbon sequestered in native eucalypt woodlands. A total of 71 trees representing eight local native species from three genera were destructively sampled. Within this sample set, below ground measurements were included for 51 trees, enabling the development of allometric equations for total biomass applicable to small, medium, and large native trees. A diversity of tree dimensions were recorded and regressed against biomass, including stem diameter at 130cm (DBH), stem diameter at ground level, stem diameter at 10cm, stem diameter at 30cm, total tree height, height of canopy break and mean canopy diameter. DBH was consistently highly correlated with above ground, below ground and total biomass. However, measurements of stem diameters at 0, 10 and 30cm, and mean canopy diameter often displayed equivalent and at times greater correlation with tree biomass. Multi-species allometric equations were also developed, including 'Mallee growth form' and 'all-eucalypt' regressions. These equations were then applied to field inventory data collected from three locally dominant woodland types and eucalypt dominated environmental plantings to create robust relationships between biomass and stand basal area. This study contributes the predictive equations required to accurately quantify the carbon sequestered in native woodland ecosystems in the low rainfall region of south-western Australia. © 2011 CSIRO. Source

Pickup M.,Greening Australia | Pickup M.,Institute of Science and Technology Austria | Wilson S.,Greening Australia | Freudenberger D.,Greening Australia | And 4 more authors.
Austral Ecology | Year: 2013

The primary goal of restoration is to create self-sustaining ecological communities that are resilient to periodic disturbance. Currently, little is known about how restored communities respond to disturbance events such as fire and how this response compares to remnant vegetation. Following the 2003 fires in south-eastern Australia we examined the post-fire response of revegetation plantings and compared this to remnant vegetation. Ten burnt and 10 unburnt (control) sites were assessed for each of three types of vegetation (direct seeding revegetation, revegetation using nursery seedlings (tubestock) and remnant woodland). Sixty sampling sites were surveyed 6months after fire to quantify the initial survival of mid- and overstorey plant species in each type of vegetation. Three and 5years after fire all sites were resurveyed to assess vegetation structure, species diversity and vigour, as well as indicators of soil function. Overall, revegetation showed high (>60%) post-fire survival, but this varied among species depending on regeneration strategy (obligate seeder or resprouter). The native ground cover, mid- and overstorey in both types of plantings showed rapid recovery of vegetation structure and cover within 3years of fire. This recovery was similar to the burnt remnant woodlands. Non-native (exotic) ground cover initially increased after fire, but was no different in burnt and unburnt sites 5years after fire. Fire had no effect on species richness, but burnt direct seeding sites had reduced species diversity (Simpson's Diversity Index) while diversity was higher in burnt remnant woodlands. Indices of soil function in all types of vegetation had recovered to levels found in unburnt sites 5years after fire. These results indicate that even young revegetation (stands <10years old) showed substantial recovery from disturbance by fire. This suggests that revegetation can provide an important basis for restoring woodland communities in the fire-prone Australian environment. © 2012 Ecological Society of Australia. Source

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