Institute for Commercial Forestry Research

Scottsville, South Africa

Institute for Commercial Forestry Research

Scottsville, South Africa
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Van Wilgen B.W.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research | Dyer C.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | Hoffmann J.H.,University of Cape Town | Ivey P.,South African National Biodiversity Institute | And 7 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2011

Aim A range of approaches and philosophies underpin national-level strategies for managing invasive alien plants. This study presents a strategy for the management of taxa that both have value and do harm. Location South Africa. Methods Insights were derived from examining Australian Acacia species in South Africa (c.70 species introduced, mostly >150years ago; some have commercial and other values; 14 species are invasive, causing substantial ecological and economic damage). We consider options for combining available tactics and management practices. We defined (1) categories of species based on invaded area (a surrogate for impact) and the value of benefits generated and (2) management regions based on habitat suitability and degree of invasion. For each category and region, we identified strategic goals and proposed the combinations of management practices to move the system in the desired direction. Results We identified six strategic goals that in combination would apply to eight species categories. We further identified 14 management practices that could be strategically combined to achieve these goals for each category in five discrete regions. When used in appropriate combinations, the prospect of achieving the strategic goal will be maximized. As the outcomes of management cannot be accurately predicted, management must be adaptive, requiring continuous monitoring and assessment, and realignment of goals if necessary. Main conclusions Invasive Australian Acacia species in South Africa continue to spread and cause undesirable impacts, despite a considerable investment into management. This is because the various practices have historically been uncoordinated in what can be best described as a strategy of hope. Our proposed strategy offers the best possible chance of achieving goals, and it is the first to address invasive alien species that have both positive value and negative impacts. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


du Toit B.,Stellenbosch University | Smith C.W.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | Little K.M.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | Boreham G.,Sappi Forests | Pallett R.N.,Sappi Forests
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2010

An important window of opportunity to increase and sustain productivity in short-rotation plantations is the period from felling through re-establishment to canopy closure. This paper explores the effects, interactions and response mechanisms of intensive silvicultural practices on plantation productivity and sustainability, using five South African case studies (a-e). (a) Land preparation trials showed that complete surface cultivation by ploughing had a significant beneficial effect when afforestation is done for the first time in grasslands, improving basal area growth by 11-52% over pitting only. However, similar treatments have not resulted in significant growth responses under re-establishment conditions. (b) Stand growth suppression resulting chiefly from soil compaction during mechanised harvesting operations is strongly related to soil type, soil textural class and residue management options. Volume growth reduction in short-rotation eucalypt crops ranged from 25% on compaction sensitive loamy soils to less than 2% in resistant sandy soils. (c) The response mechanism whereby vegetation management improves stand productivity is a reduction in both inter-specific and intra-genotypic competition for resources, as well as a decrease in stand variability. Operationally, the most important criteria in a vegetation management programme relate to the timing of control operations across diverse site conditions. In local trials, the primary factors controlling the time taken for competition-induced tree growth suppression to occur were related to altitude, slash burning and the interaction between these factors, which facilitated the development of regional vegetation management strategies. (d) Empirical fertilizer trials in short-rotation hardwood stands have shown significant improvements in final productivity (commonly 20-90 m3 ha-1 in eucalypts and 30-50 m3 ha-1 in Acacia), as well as wood density (15-30 kg m-3 for eucalypts) following improvements in early nutrition. Improved nutrition was achieved through fertilization at planting or indirectly through residue management. The response mechanism is primarily due to early canopy development and associated increases in light capture, coupled with a more modest increase in canopy quantum efficiency and above-ground carbon allocation on a dry site. On sites with abundant water supply, increased quantum efficiency is likely to be the dominant response mechanism. (e) A series of operational gains trials tested the interactive effect of genetic tree improvement, site-genotype interaction, stand density and vegetation management + fertilization on eucalypt stand growth across five sites. There were no significant interactions between factors, but importantly, the results were additive, emphasizing the need to optimise each practice in the value chain to achieve maximum productivity. © 2009.


Lantschner M.V.,Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria | Villacide J.M.,Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria | Garnas J.R.,University of Pretoria | Croft P.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | And 3 more authors.
Biological Invasions | Year: 2014

The frequency of introductions of non-indigenous forest insects into new habitats is increasing worldwide, often with profoundly adverse consequences on natural and plantation forest ecosystems. Understanding rates and patterns of spread of invasive forest insects is important for predicting when and where these species will expand their geographical range, with the potential to improve mitigation strategies. The woodwasp Sirex noctilio is a damaging invasive forest insect that kills numerous species of Pinus. Despite encountering highly variable eco-climatic conditions, S. noctilio has arrived and established in exotic pine forest production areas throughout the Southern Hemisphere. In this study, we compiled historical records of S. noctilio invasion to compare spread rates among eight contrasting eco-climatic regions in the Southern Hemisphere and to explore how spread rate is predicted by landscape variation in climate, habitat characteristics and anthropogenic effects. Spread rates for S. noctilio varied considerably among the invaded regions, ranging from 12 to 82 km per year. Among regions, spread rates of S. noctilio increased with increasing mean annual temperature and isothermality. We hypothesize that temperature may directly or indirectly influence S. noctilio population growth and dispersal, thereby influencing spread rates. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Swain T.-L.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | Verryn S.D.,University of Pretoria | Laing M.D.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Tree Genetics and Genomes | Year: 2013

Eucalyptus nitens is an important forestry species grown for pulp and paper production in the temperate, summer-rainfall regions of South Africa. A tree improvement programme has been ongoing at the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research for two decades, but genetic improvement in the species has been slow due to delayed and infrequent flowering and seed production. Three trials were established, firstly, to quantify the gains that have been made in the first generation of improvement in the breeding programme and, secondly, to establish whether a number of seed source and orchard variables influence the performance of the progeny. These variables were the amount of flowering trees in the seed orchard, year of seed collection, seed orchard origin and composition of seed orchard bulks. Diameter at breast height and tree heights were measured in the trials at between 87 and 97 months after establishment, and timber volumes and survival were calculated. Improved seed orchard bulks performed significantly better (p < 0. 01) than unimproved controls in the field trials. Genetic gains ranging from 23. 2 to 164. 8 m3 ha-1 were observed over the unimproved commercial seed. There were significant differences (p < 0. 01) in progeny growth between the levels of seed orchard flowering, with higher levels of flowering (≥40 %) producing substantially greater progeny growth than lower flowering levels (≤20 %). The seed orchard had no effect on progeny growth in this trial series. This suggests that seed collected from any of the four seed orchards tested will produce trees with significant improvement in growth. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Beck-Pay S.L.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research
South African Journal of Botany | Year: 2012

Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) is a commercially important forestry species in South Africa, grown for its timber and bark. Due to its invasiveness, it is also considered be an alien invader species and for this reason the production of a sterile triploid variety would be highly desirable for South African commercial forestry. Previous research on crosses between diploid and tetraploid parent plants to produce triploid progeny has resulted in poor seed set. One possible barrier preventing seed set could be the effect of temperature and relative humidity, within the isolation bags used during cross-pollination operations. For this reason in 2011 diploid polyads were subjected to various temperature and relative humidity combinations, to simulate conditions recorded within the isolation bags being used in the 2010 flowering season in order to see if the conditions were detrimental to polyad viability. The results showed that when polyads were exposed to extreme temperatures (> 30. °C) and low relative humidities (RH's) (10%), polyad viability and pollen tube development, decreased significantly. In contrast the effect of high RH's in combination with low temperatures for long periods appeared to be beneficial to polyad viability and pollen tube growth. The results also indicated that the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) agar germination medium was superior to the Brewbaker and Kwack (BK) 30% agar germination medium for determining polyad viability as it resulted in greater number of pollen tubes per polyad, which were healthier in appearance. The Sigma® DAB peroxidase vital stain test overestimated polyad viability and showed no significant differences between the various treatments, highlighting its unreliability as a test. Polyad viability and pollen tube development were compared across three flowering seasons (2009, 2010 and 2011) and similar trends were apparent with some seasonal differences. © 2012 South African Association of Botanists.


Morley T.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | Little K.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research
New Forests | Year: 2012

In addition to regeneration through seed, certain eucalypts are able to regenerate via the production of coppice shoots following felling, which can then be selectively thinned over time and managed as a coppice stand for the commercial production of timber. Little information could be found if tree form differs between coppiced (where one or two stems had been left per stump) and planted eucalypts, or whether different volume taper models would need to be developed. To determine if this was necessary, rotation-end stem taper data was collected from an Eucalyptus grandis × E. urophylla and an E. grandis × E. camaldulensis trial to compare volume taper equations for planted versus coppiced commercially grown Eucalyptus clonal hybrids. For treatment comparisons, taper data were collected from the parent crop (1R), the replanted crop (2R), as well as from coppiced stands where either a single (Cop_Sngl) or double stem (Cop_Dbl) had been left per stump. Stem taper functions used for treatment comparisons indicated differences between clones, as well as between treatment, with the models based on single stems (1R, 2R or Cop_Sngl) being significantly different from those containing two stems (Cop_Dbl). Despite any non-significant model differences (for example between 1R, 2R and Cop_Sngl single stem crops) the percentage magnitude of any bias in utilizable volume differences when comparing the individual models (between a 6.31% over-prediction to a 3.8% under-prediction) still needs to be taken into account as these differences may have importance in terms of the volume and product prediction. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Beck-Pay S.L.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research
South African Journal of Botany | Year: 2012

A study of the reproductive biology of black wattle (. Acacia mearnsii de Wild) was conducted, specifically with regard to the compatibility of the diploid. ×. tetraploid cross to produce a triploid variety, together with identifying ways of increasing triploid seed production. Fluorescent microscopy was used to determine pollination and fertilisation rates and to identify any pre-zygotic barriers at the stigma, style and ovary. Both diploid and tetraploid families were tested as maternal parents to establish if this was imperative to producing a triploid. Morphological measurements were documented in order to determine any incompatibilities in the cross to produce a triploid. The . in vivo results showed that successful fertilisation of the ovary was possible whether one used a diploid or tetraploid maternal parent. When the maternal parent was a tetraploid, however, the pollination rate (polyads adhering to the stigma) and ovary fertilisation rates were significantly (. p<. 0.05) greater. Morphological measurements and observations also revealed that tetraploid floral parts were significantly (. p<. 0.05) larger than the diploids. The morphological size differences between the diploid and tetraploid polyads and pistils did not appear to influence the fertilisation of the ovaries and thus did not pose any identifiable barrier in the cross to produce a triploid. When considering the results from the cross to produce a triploid (2n. ×. 4n or 4n. ×. 2n), the diploid polyads were significantly (. p<. 0.05) more vigorous and suitable in fertilising the tetraploid ovaries as opposed to the reverse. Possible pre-zygotic barriers at the stigma, style or ovary were investigated and the only area that could be identified limiting seed production was within the ovary. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Beck-Pay S.L.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research
South African Journal of Botany | Year: 2012

Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) is a commercially important forestry species in South Africa, grown for its timber as well as its bark. It is, however, also considered to be an alien invader of indigenous vegetation and for this reason the production of a sterile variety would be highly desirable for commercial forestry in South Africa. Previous research on crosses between diploid and tetraploid parent plants to produce triploid progeny has resulted in poor seed set. One possible barrier preventing seed set could be the viability of the pollen used in the cross pollination operations. Thus a study was conducted to test the pollen viability. In vitro agar media germination tests (ACIAR and Brewbaker and Kwack media) were optimised on Acacia podalyriifolia pollen and then used together with vital stain tests (Sigma® DAB peroxidase and p-phenylendiamine) to test pollen germination and viability of A. mearnsii pollen. These were then compared to in vivo pollen germination on the stigma, and were conducted on both diploid and tetraploid pollen mixes. Results showed that the vital stain tests gave significantly (p< 0.05) higher pollen viability than the agar germination tests and were more in agreement with the results from the pollen germination rate on the stigma. For both the diploid and tetraploid pollen mixes tested, there were no significant differences (p> 0.05) between the two agar media germination tests and between the two vital stain tests. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Titshall L.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | Dovey S.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research | Rietz D.,Institute for Commercial Forestry Research
Southern Forests | Year: 2013

An overview of southern African research that has investigated the impact of management practices that can potentially affect the long-term site productivity of plantations is presented, with an emphasis of these impacts on soil productivity and with the implications for multiple-rotation site productivity. Activities that are most likely to cause long-term changes in soil productivity are identified as those causing high site disturbance during the inter-rotation period, notably ground-based mechanised operations and harvest residue management (including complete biomass removal) and, under some conditions, fertilisation. The impacts of these practices on soil and stand productivity are discussed from a southern African perspective. Knowledge gaps are identified and it is suggested that the immediate research priority is to identify meaningful indicators that are sensitive to change and that can be linked to stand production. Other key research focus areas are proposed and the need for a permanent long-term monitoring network is highlighted. © 2013 Copyright © NISC (Pty) Ltd.


Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) is grown commercially in South Africa for its timber and bark. However, the invasive nature of the species has resulted in it being considered an alien invader and for this reason research has been aimed at producing a sterile triploid variety that would be highly desirable for the South African commercial forestry industry. Tetraploids were successfully induced by soaking germinating diploid seeds in colchicine. Seed from these tetraploids was used to establish a field trial, where crossing diploid with tetraploid parent plants only produced diploid and tetraploid progeny and failed to produce any triploid progeny. Control-crossed seed set between diploids is generally low in A. mearnsii and, together with the possibility of an unstable tetraploid population, this could be reducing the chances of producing triploid seed. Thus identification and confirmation of stability within the existing advanced-generation tetraploid population (aged 10-11 years) was critical to ensure the production of sterile triploids. Flow cytometry was used to determine the stability of the ploidy of leaf vegetative tissues, whereas polyad and ovule size measurements were used to determine the stability of ploidy of the reproductive tissues. Results from the study revealed that the tetraploidy of within the leaf vegetative tissue was stable. For both the ovule and polyad size measurements, a size range was determined for diploids and tetraploids and, within the population under investigation, no overlap was apparent. This allowed for the conclusion that the advanced-generation tetraploid population was stable and that the absence of triploid progeny must be because of post-zygotic reproductive barriers within the ovary. © 2013 Copyright NISC (Pty) Ltd.

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