The Impact of Site Management Practices on the Revegetation of Highly Disturbed Sites in Sub-Tropical and Tropical Queensland

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Blumfield, Tim

Xu, Zhihong

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Wild, Clyde

Chen, Chengrong

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Revegetation schemes are increasing in Australia and are part of strategy to restore cleared lands, enhance biodiversity and alleviate global climate change. Site preparation practices play a pivotal role in the successful establishment of revegetation projects in tropical and sub-tropical Australia. However, site preparation practices are costly and there is great interest to develop cost-effective establishment methods. The most common site preparation practices, in Australia, include weed control and fertilisation. Reduced weed competition is a crucial factor in the successful establishment of revegetation projects. Herbicide application is the most commonly used method of weed control but need for repeated site visits and sequential applications greatly increase establishment costs. Alternative methods are sought to reduce the reliance on herbicide application. One such method is scalping, the removal of the top 100 mm of soil from the planting area which effectively removes the soil seed bank. Both herbicide and scalping have implications for soil properties which could in turn affect early plant growth and establishment. This study aimed to investigate the dynamics of soil organic matter (SOM), carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools under differing site preparation practices and the associated effects on plant survival, growth and eco-physiological status in tropical and sub-tropical Australia. Two experimental sites located at Rockhampton (23º31'24 S, 150º18'14 E) and Laidley (27º40'31 S, 152º24'04 E) were established in this study. The treatment layout was randomised complete block split plot. Treatments included topsoil removal (scalping) and herbicide application for weed control. Other treatments included the use of fertiliser to overcome the potentially negative effects of scalping and to give a competitive advantage to seedlings.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences

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Site preparation for revegetation

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