Direct Seeding to Restore Rainforest Species: Microsite Effects on the Early Establishment and Growth of Rainforest Tree Seedlings on Degraded Land in the Wet Tropics of Australia

Doust, S.J., P.D. Erskine and D. Lamb

Publication Date:

This study investigated the effects of various sowing treatments (designed to create different microsite conditions for seed germination) and seed sizes on the early establishment and growth of directly sown rainforest tree species in a variety of experimental plots at three sites in the wet tropical region of north-east Queensland, Australia. The different sowing treatments were found to have significant effects on seedling establishment. Broadcast sowing treatments were ineffective and resulted in very poor seedling establishment and high seed wastage. Higher establishment rates occurred when seeds were buried. Seed size was found to be an important factor affecting establishment in relation to micro-site condition. Overall these results suggest that direct sowing of seed can be used as a tool to accelerate recolonisation of certain rainforest tree species on degraded tropical lands, but initial success will be dependent on the choice of sowing method and its suitability for the seed types selected. The results also indicate that the recruitment of naturally dispersed tree species at degraded sites is likely to be severely limited by the availability of suitable microsites for seed germination. Consequently the natural recovery of degraded sites via seed rain can be expected to be slow and unpredictable, particularly in areas where soil compaction has occurred.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Forest Ecology and Management