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Technical report 195 TCFA research into alternatives to the use of 1080: Manipulating seedling palatability for non-lethal browsing management

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Miller, AM and O’Reilly-Wapstra, JM and Potts, BM and McArthur, C (2009) Technical report 195 TCFA research into alternatives to the use of 1080: Manipulating seedling palatability for non-lethal browsing management. Technical Report. The University of Tasmania, School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Browsing by marsupial herbivores is a major problem in plantation forestry. This has
traditionally been controlled through a reduction in herbivore numbers achieved by
lethal means. The mammal browsing group at the University of Tasmania and the
CRC for Forestry has been researching non-lethal alternatives for over a decade and
found that the most effective methods involved manipulating seedling palatability
prior to planting and in the field. Specifically, the use of naturally resistant seedling
stock, chemical repellent, modification of nursery fertiliser regime and use of natural
vegetation on coupes have all proven successful in deterring feeding. Additionally,
since 2007, the use of mesh stockings to protect plantation seedlings has become quite
popular within the forestry industry, but data to confirm their effectiveness in
reducing browsing is lacking.
This study combined extensive browsing research to operationally test the most
effective combination of non-lethal methods listed above. Treatment combinations
were planted in eight field sites across Tasmania. Experimental seedlings were
planted in replicated blocks spread in a single row around the perimeter of operational
coupes. Seedlings were monitored regularly for browsing damage, with seedling
height and characteristics of the surrounding vegetation being assessed periodically.
We found that the most effective treatments at reducing the severity of browsing
damage in the short term were seedling stockings and a combination of chemical
repellent (Sen-Tree) and low nursery fertiliser.
Stockings and repellent were then tested in further trials to demonstrate the
effectiveness of these treatments across a range of sites and during winter, as opposed
to spring plantings. Here we used six field sites and followed the same basic design
as the initial trial. Stockings and repellent were tested in isolation, in combination,
and with versus without field application of repellent. We found that the combination
of stockings and repellent was the most effective, and resulted in a significant delay in
browsing and a reduction in browse severity over 24 weeks, compared with control
seedlings.
These results have important and immediate implications for tree growers. Stockings
and/or repellent can be applied to seedlings in the nursery to significantly delay the
onset of browsing and reduce its severity when planted in the field. In areas with low
browsing intensity, this could be enough to reduce browsing in itself; in other areas
the browsing delay could be enough to allow alternative controls to be implemented.
The long-term effectiveness of stockings needs to be determined (e.g. effects on
seedling growth and form) and the issue of continued repellent re-application needs to
be addressed.

Item Type: Report (Technical Report)
Keywords: marsupial herbivores Browsing plantation forestry naturally resistant seedling stock chemical repellent Stockings
Publisher: The University of Tasmania
Additional Information:

This version is the confidential report. The public report is freely available for downloading at: http://www.crcforestry.com.au/publications/technical-reports/index.html

Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2010 05:42
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:08
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