In a long-term study into mine restoration in WA’s jarrah forest, restoration practice has been found to be more important than climate variability for the establishment of seedlings.
In a paper recently published in the Journal of Ecology, Astron Senior Scientist Dr Aaron Gove along with colleagues from the University of Western Australia and Alcoa used a range of analytical techniques to examine the relative contributions of restoration practice and changing climate to jarrah forest restoration success. The study incorporated 19 years of data collected by Alcoa of Australia and included changes to restoration practices and annual records of seedling establishment at restored mine sites for 587 species in 1,938 plots in south-western Australian.
Aaron Gove says that the opportunity presented by a 19 year data set, located in one of the first regions experiencing significant climate change was perfect for testing the relative contributions of mine rehabilitation practice and the underlying effects of climate change.
“Although rainfall has been declining, it appears to be reasonably reliable in terms of its timing. Optimal restoration practices, including appropriate timing, may actually overcome some of the challenges presented by climate change,” Dr Aaron Gove said.
The paper: Long-term data suggest jarrah-forest establishment at restored mine sites is resistant to climate variability, is published in the Journal of Ecology as part of a special feature on forest resilience, tipping points and global change processes.