Soil Seed Banks of Degraded Riparian Zones in Southeastern Australia and their Potential Contribution to the Restoration of Understorey Vegetation

Williams, L., P. Reich, S.J. Capon and E. Raulings

Publication Date:

We examined the composition and structure of germinable soil seed banks along lateral gradients from stream channels in both cleared and wooded riparian zones of three lowland creeks within the Goulburn Broken catchment in temperate southeastern Australia. Environmental correlates of soil seed bank characteristics and similarity to extant vegetation were also examined. We found an abundant and species-rich soil seed bank mostly comprising propagules of perennial rushes and sedges and annual and perennial grasses with many species of annual forbs. While the majority of identifiable germinants and species were native, exotic species were common at all locations. Soil seed bank composition was correlated with site openness suggesting that extant vegetation structure plays an important role in soil seed bank dynamics. Recruitment from the in situ soil seed bank will help restore only some components of the riparian plant community and may hinder restoration by introducing undesirable species.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

River Research and Applications