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Riparian trees resprout regardless of timing and severity of disturbance by coppicing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Sarah Fischer, Joe Greet, Christopher J. Walsh, Jane A. Catford, Stefan K. Arndt

Original languageEnglish
Article number119988
JournalFOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT
Volume507
Early online date10 Jan 2022
DOIs
Accepted/In press25 Dec 2021
E-pub ahead of print10 Jan 2022
Published1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the research was undertaken. We thank Dan Harley (Zoos Victoria) for consultancy about tree selection and restoration goals; Simon Dent and Parks Victoria for assisting with coppicing; Elise King, Daniel Bos, Ezekiel James Kartinyeri, Christoph Hartman, Emily Peach, Luke Westerland, Mark Treloar and Luan Cartwright for help with fieldwork; Linda Parker, Lisa Wittick and Michael Hall for help with lab work and two anonymous reviewers for their feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Funding was provided by the Australian Research Council Linkage program, with partners Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Zoos Victoria and Greening Australia (LP150100682); a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment and a Melbourne Research Scholarship to S. Fischer. Coppicing and the research were conducted under permit from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) (Permit No. 10008063). Funding Information: We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the research was undertaken. We thank Dan Harley (Zoos Victoria) for consultancy about tree selection and restoration goals; Simon Dent and Parks Victoria for assisting with coppicing; Elise King, Daniel Bos, Ezekiel James Kartinyeri, Christoph Hartman, Emily Peach, Luke Westerland, Mark Treloar and Luan Cartwright for help with fieldwork; Linda Parker, Lisa Wittick and Michael Hall for help with lab work and two anonymous reviewers for their feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Funding was provided by the Australian Research Council Linkage program, with partners Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Zoos Victoria and Greening Australia (LP150100682); a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment and a Melbourne Research Scholarship to S. Fischer. Coppicing and the research were conducted under permit from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) (Permit No. 10008063). Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier B.V.

King's Authors

Abstract

Human modification of waterways has reduced flooding in many river systems, leading to the decline of riparian forests, which rely on flooding for their regeneration. Coppicing may help to promote the persistence of riparian trees by triggering resprouting and vegetative regeneration. The vigour of resprouting plants can vary with timing and height of coppicing and may depend on stored non-structural carbohydrate reserves like starch, the availability of which can vary seasonally. However, starch storage dynamics and the resprouting potential of broad-leafed evergreen riparian trees is not well understood. We coppiced two riparian tree species, Eucalyptus camphora and Melaleuca squarrosa, at two different times (autumn, spring) and at two different heights (0 cm and 90 cm). Over 52 weeks, we regularly quantified shoot growth and changes in the starch storage pool size, compared to uncoppiced control trees, in different tree organs (root and stem) and estimated the final shoot volume. The final shoot volume did not differ significantly between coppice treatments. Trees coppiced in autumn had a greater reliance on stored starch while they remained leafless (without shoots) over winter. Trees cut at 90 cm had more starch reserves due to remaining stems but also had higher biomass maintenance costs. Starch storage varied seasonally only in E. camphora, with starch concentrations in control trees increasing over winter and decreasing over summer. Although coppice timing and height affected use of stored starch, resprouting in our study species was not limited by starch availability - both species regenerated vegetatively to recover from physical disturbance. Thus, coppicing may be an efficient means to promote rejuvenation and persistence of tree species where site and tree condition are degraded and no longer support recruitment.

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