Functional trait representation differs between restoration plantings and mature tropical rainforest

Engert, Jayden E., Vogado, Nara O., Freebody, Kylie, Byrne, Basil, Murphy, Judy, Sheather, Gaylene, Snodgrass, Peter, Nugent, Leah, Lloyd, Dave, and Laurance, Susan G.W. (2020) Functional trait representation differs between restoration plantings and mature tropical rainforest. Forest Ecology and Management, 473. 118304.

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Abstract

The planting and attempted restoration of tropical forest landscapes is increasing rapidly across the globe. Two limiting aspects of large-scale forest restoration are the demand for appropriate quantities of seeds and seedlings of native species, and the ability to facilitate succession in planted sites. Species functional traits such as seed type, tree size, germination time, and wood density may influence the quantity of seedlings that can be produced for restoration, and the potential of these seedlings to persist and facilitate site succession. Therefore, it is important to understand the species composition and functional trait representation of restoration plantings. We explored the species composition and functional trait representation of 846 restoration plantings in the Australian Wet Tropics containing > 465,000 seedlings from 599 species, using seedling supply records from six nurseries over a six year period (2012–2017). Despite restoration plantings in the Australian Wet Tropics containing an impressive number of species, just 52 species contributed over half of all individual seedlings. We found that species with small animal-dispersed seeds and low wood density were more abundant, on average, and had greater representation in restoration plantings than in mature rainforest. Despite this, we did not find evidence that restoration plantings had a diminished capacity to grow tall or sequester carbon as there was no significant difference in the relative abundance of tall tree species or species with high wood density. Small seeded and fast growing species may be cheaper to produce in nurseries and may accelerate site succession as these characteristics are associated with pioneer and early successional species, however these traits are also associated with higher mortality rates. Understanding how functional trait representation influences the success of restoration plantings will require further insight into temporal aspects of site succession.

Item ID: 63560
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-7042
Keywords: restoration; rainforest;
Copyright Information: © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2020 02:42
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 70%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961203 Rehabilitation of Degraded Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 100%
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