Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours)
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Willis, Xanthe, “Evaluating the long-term success of native revegetation in the Southern Tablelands, NSW”, Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours), School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, 2012.
Deforestation and degradation of productive lands is an environmental issue facing farming communities worldwide. As a result of past land management practices, biodiversity has been impacted and often irreparably damaged and the resulting landscapes can be devoid of the original functioning ecosystems with impacts across both the biotic and abiotic features of the landscape. Increased knowledge over the past 20-30 years has led to an appreciation and improved effort towards maintaining and preserving remnant ecosystems through fencing and ecological restoration efforts. In some areas however, almost total removal of the original ecosystem has occurred and as such, there is little remnant vegetation to base revegetation efforts on. This lack of a benchmark to work towards has impacted on the subsequent success of revegetation plantings in such regions.
The Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (SRCMA) has identified that there is a need to encourage landholders to revegetate at strategic points across properties, however outcomes of previous revegetation has been quite varied. Previous studies have attempted to explain these variations through analysing certain abiotic or biotic components of the revegetation, though few have attempted to investigate the feedbacks between revegetation and soil and the potential link to successful vegetation recruitment. This study examines those potential relationships in an attempt to determine the limitations to persistence and therefore success of revegetation and how this relates to revegetation management in the wider Southern Tablelands area of NSW. Soil and vegetation samples were collected from seven revegetation sites within the Braidwood district and tested for determinable soil and vegetation characteristic correlations. Results revealed little association between soil characteristics and levels of recruitment, rather indicating that particular vegetative components may be more influential in restricting recruitment and continued persistence. These results provide information to decision makers about where best to distribute funding throughout the Southern Tablelands to ensure the benefits of revegetation carried out now continue into the future. The potential for such revegetation to sequester carbon and contribute to future ‘carbon credit’ commodities is also discussed