Variable tree establishment in bauxite mine restoration in south-west Australia linked to rainfall distribution, seasonal temperatures and seed rain.
Ecological Management and Restoration, Early View (Online First).
Reasons for variable establishment of Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata D. Don ex Sm.) and Marri (Corymbia calophylla (Lindl). K. D. Hill & L. A. S. Johnson) on restored forest sites after bauxite mining in south‐west Australia are not well understood. To refine restoration outcomes, we compiled tree seedling density establishment data from surveys of 654 previously mined sites restored between 1998 and 2017, and applied generalised linear models to discriminate the effects of 24 climatic and restoration practice variables. Final models explained 50% and 31% of the variation in Jarrah and Marri density, respectively. Broadcast seeding and fertiliser rates were positively related to seedling density. A more even rainfall distribution in the early wet season increased seedling density. However, persistent rain later in the wet season decreased density, possibly as a result of ripline soil saturation or ponding. Higher average daily maximum temperatures in the dry season decreased seedling density probably due to drought stress, but warmer daily temperature minima in both wet and dry seasons increased density. Seed rain from surrounding unmined forest was implicated as a significant, but highly variable, source of additional seed to restored sites. Restoration practices that influence soil moisture relations (tillage, depth and texture of returned soil), shallow burial of applied seed and timing of fertiliser application are likely to be important in refining restoration outcomes.
eucalypt, jarrah, marri, Mediterranean, restoration