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Factors affecting the re-establishment of native plant species on abandoned pastures


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Appleby, Matthew W. A 1998 , 'Factors affecting the re-establishment of native plant species on abandoned pastures', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis examines the re-establishment of native plant species on
abandoned pastures in Tasmania adjacent to undisturbed native forest.
The rate of native species re-establishment on these sites is typically
very slow and limited to a small subset of species present in the
adjacent forest. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors that
limit or facilitate this re-establishment. With the continuing decline of
remnant native vegetation in rural Australia, research in this area is
required to promote the process of re-establishment.
Re-establishment on improved pastures was restricted to the edge of
the pasture, whereas on unimproved (native) pastures reestablishment
extended further into the pasture. In both cases, native
trees and shrubs were relatively infrequent compared with herbaceous
The effects of fire, soil disturbance and grazing were examined. The
exotic pasture species resprouted quickly following disturbance, but
there was typically a reduction in the dominance of exotic grasses.
However, very little germination or growth of native species occurred
following disturbance of the pasture.
Significant inputs of seed were detected for native tree and shrub
species (Eucalyptus spp., Leptospermum scoparium and Epacris spp.).
However, relatively few seeds of native species were found in the soil
seed bank in the pastures. Rates of seed predation were high in all
seasons except winter. For some native species, the rate of predation
may be sufficiently high to counter the large quantity of seed-fall.
Seedlings of native trees and shrubs (Eucalyptus pulchella,
Leptospermttm scoparium and Bedfordia salicina) were planted in the
pasture with different levels of competition from the pasture grasses.
Seedlings were more likely to survive or grow faster if grass root
competition was reduced. Frost and herbivory contributed to the
mortality of seedlings.
The soil nutrient status of the pasture was not significantly different
from the adjacent forest soil, except for available and total phosphorus
which were higher in the pasture. Under glasshouse conditions, the
growth rates of the three selected native species (see above) were
better on the soil collected from the pasture than forest soil. However,
the formation of mycorrhizal associations was poor on seedlings grown in
pasture soil, except for soils collected from the pasture edge and from
beneath isolated native trees in the pasture.
In conclusion, the opportunities for the establishment of native seedlings
are likely to be rare. This seems to be mainly due to the presence of exotic
grasses that were highly resilient to disturbance and
highly competitive.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Appleby, Matthew W. A
Keywords: Revegetation
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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