Report Year Archives: 2004

Investigating Natural Plant Resistance as a Management Tool against Browsing Herbivores

Investigating Natural Plant Resistance as a Management Tool against Browsing Herbivores

Browsing of seedlings and trees by pest species in forestry plantations is an economic
problem in eucalypt and pine plantation establishment and management throughout
Australia. An exciting area of research in Australian forestry is the use of natural plant
resistance as a means of reducing the amount of damage herbivores cause in plantations.
Research into natural plant resistance to herbivores is being conducted at the Macaulay
Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, by Dr. Glenn Iason and his colleagues.
The plant herbivore group at the Macaulay Institute is the largest group of researchers in
Europe studying the interactions and consequences of herbivores in heterogeneous
landscapes. In April 2004 I traveled to the Macaulay Institute to conduct a research project
in collaboration with Dr Iason titled ‘Investigating natural plant resistance as a management
tool against browsing herbivores”. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a native species to
Scotland that is browsed significantly by vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores including
the large black slug (Arion ater). Needles from Scots pine are rich in terpenes, a plant
secondary metabolite, which act as an anti-herbivore defence mechanism. The
concentration of terpenes between individual trees varies significantly and is maternally
inherited. The specific aims of my research project were to investigate the relationship
between Scots pine genotype, herbivory by the slug, and plant terpene concentration. My
project provided insight into plant resistance in another forestry system and how this is
utilised by researchers to better their understanding of the ecological processes between a
tree species of interest and the animal pests that feed on it. This knowledge is used directly
by researchers in Scotland in implementing management strategies when establishing Scots
pine plantations and when conserving remnant Scots pine native forests. The knowledge,
skills and collaborative links that I established during my stay at the Macaulay Institute will
benefit future research in the management of browsing pest species in Australian forestry.

Observations of Eucalypt Decline in Temperate Australian Forests and Woodlands

Observations of Eucalypt Decline in Temperate Australian Forests and Woodlands

This is a report of a brief study tour of forest and rural tree decline in south-western
Australia, Tasmania and south-eastern Australia. There were many similarities
amongst the different cases examined, even though a wide range of pests, pathogens
and parasites were associated with them. Unfavourable climatic conditions, especially
drought, were associated with many cases, however decline typically occurred low in
the landscape on sheltered or water-accumulating sites. Acute drought stress was
apparent on some more exposed sites. There were often contrasts in the health of the
same tree species in the same climatic conditions under different management,
especially different fire and grazing regimes.

Production forestry in riparian zones: examples from Brazil, USA, Germany and Australia

Production forestry in riparian zones: examples from Brazil, USA, Germany and Australia

I visited Brazil, USA and Germany to document examples of production forestry
being conducted in riparian zones or stream side reserves, particularly in cleared
agricultural landscapes. In Brazil, stream side reserves have been declared for all rural
lands and have been implemented in the forested landscape already, but the
agricultural landscape is in desperate need of such measures. Because harvesting is
forbidden in such reserves, one perverse outcome is already evident, i.e. harvesting of
non-native eucalypts is not allowed, yet it would probably be economic and
environmentally favourable in many instances. Such regulations also discourage
riparian forestry in the agricultural landscape, despite its potentially favourable impact
on water quality. In the US and Germany, active management of riparian zones is
taken for granted, albeit with special care for soil and water values. There are many
examples from both countries of wood production from riparian zones while soil and
water values are protected. Such practices include a range of silvicultural practices,
including cultivation, weed control, fertilization, pruning, thinning and harvesting.
Riparian forestry in the agricultural landscape in these two continents is likely to
increase during the next decade as regulatory measures are taken to improve water
quality and other aspects of stream ecosystems, e.g. as required by the EU Water
Framework Directive. In Victoria, Australia, there is already an excellent example of
riparian forestry, but it is unclear why such practices are not adopted more widely by
other farmers in that state. In several other Australian states, riparian forestry in the
agricultural landscape is likely to enhance environmental outcomes, but the codes of
forest practice need to be revised to encourage this activity.

Timber industry training and portable sawmilling equipment in New Zealand and Australia

Timber industry training and portable sawmilling equipment in New Zealand and Australia

This report details findings of a study of New Zealand and Canadian timber industry training
providers and portable sawmilling equipment suppliers in September 2004.

Strengthening the commercial forestry relationships between Australia and China

Strengthening the commercial forestry relationships between Australia and China

Although the forest industries in China and Australia are considerably different in their scale and
stage of development, the two naturally fit together at the present time. China’s wood processing
sectors are resource constrained, while Australia could competitively supply raw materials and
finished products into the Chinese market. Exporting Australian wood products to China, particularly
hardwood eucalypt resources and a range of softwood timber products that could replace the use of
traditional sawntimber products, could open up new distribution networks for Australian suppliers.
Chinese companies importing and exporting timber products also see an opportunity to work with the
Australian companies on the basis of opening up new markets in Australia.