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Field screening for genetic-based susceptibility to mammalian browsing


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Miller, AM, O'Reilly-Wapstra, J ORCID: 0000-0003-4801-4412, Potts, BM and McArthur, C 2011 , 'Field screening for genetic-based susceptibility to mammalian browsing' , Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 262 , pp. 1500-1506 , doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.06.051.

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Browsing by mammalian herbivores is a major problem in plantation forestry. Seedlings are most vulnerable
to browsing during establishment, making protection crucial during this period. Aside from reducing
herbivore numbers, browsing can be controlled through the application of tree guards or chemical repellents.
These methods are generally short-term options. A promising, potentially longer-term method of
reducing browsing damage on plantations is to plant individuals with enhanced natural browse resistance.
This requires the development of a rapid, cost-effective means of identifying germplasm with
enhanced resistance. Here we present such a screening methodology.
We planted Eucalyptus globulus seedlings from 22 different seedlots in randomised blocks along edge
rows of six operational plantations. Seedlings were monitored for mammal browsing damage and growth
for 2 years. Natural variation between E. globulus seedlots resulted in significant variation in the extent to
which they were browsed. Differential browsing was evident just 10 weeks after planting, and caused a
significant effect on tree growth after 2 years. Differential browsing was thought to be due to variation in
levels of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs). The identification and selective planting of high PSM seedlots
in high risk areas could be an effective management tool to reduce browsing in plantation forestry.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Miller, AM and O'Reilly-Wapstra, J and Potts, BM and McArthur, C
Keywords: Browsing damage Eucalyptus Forestry Plant secondary metabolites Resistance
Journal or Publication Title: Forest Ecology and Management
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.06.051
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