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Applied phosphorus has long-term impacts on vegetation responses in restored jarrah forest

Daws, M., Grigg, A. H., Standish, R. J. and Tibbett, M. ORCID: (2019) Applied phosphorus has long-term impacts on vegetation responses in restored jarrah forest. In: Mine Closure 2019: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure, 3-5 Sep 2019, Perth, Australia, pp. 693-704.

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Nutrient enrichment can result in long-term negative impacts on a range of native and semi-native plant communities worldwide. Despite this knowledge, fertiliser application is generally viewed as a necessary step in re-establishing native plant communities in post-mining restoration. However, long-term effects of nutrient addition to restored plant communities, particularly in native ecosystems that are adapted to inherently low-nutrient soils, have received little attention. Here we report results of two experiments run for 15 and 20 years, respectively, to investigate the effect of applied P fertiliser on responses of Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah) forest re-sprouter understorey species in sites restored after bauxite mining in Western Australia. Re-sprouter species are abundant in unmined forest but are under-represented in restored sites. At the end of the two experiments (i.e. after 15 and 20 years), the abundance of three groups of re-sprouter understorey species was reduced, compared with the zero-fertiliser treatment, when P fertiliser was applied at rates from 20 to 120 kg P ha-1. In both experiments, the cover associated with P responsive legumes increased with increasing P application rates. This result suggests that when fertiliser is applied, slow-growing re-sprouter species are susceptible to being outcompeted by more vigorous understorey species. Consequently, if the goal of restoration is to re-establish a diverse plant community, then minimising fertiliser application rates may be appropriate.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:85923


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