Terrestrial Invertebrate Community Structure as an Indicator of the Success of a Tropical Rainforest Restoration Project


  • Amy Jansen

    1. Centre for Rainforest Studies, Yungaburra, Qld 4872, Australia
    2. Current address: School of Science and Technology, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.
    Search for more papers by this author


Rainforest restoration is a relatively new endeavor, and few attempts have been made to assess the success of such restoration efforts in terms of the reestablishment of an ecosystem. Small plantings of rainforest tree species have been carried out adjacent to mature rainforest at Lake Barrine National Park in North Queensland, Australia, since 1988. The aim of this project was to assess the leaf litter invertebrate fauna of these plantings as indicators of the success of the restoration process. Plots planted in 1988, 1989, and 1990, as well as adjacent mature rainforest, were sampled in the wet and dry seasons of 1994. Invertebrates were extracted from leaf litter samples with Berlese Funnels and sorted to order. Diversity, the abundance of different size classes and orders of invertebrates, and the abundance of different functional groups were examined. In most respects the 1988 plot was found to differ little from the mature rainforest plots, whereas the 1990 plot lacked small and predatory invertebrates, especially in the dry season. The 1989 plot was intermediate in invertebrate abundance and diversity. The use of partially deciduous trees in the 1989 and 1990 plots, resulting in lower canopy cover at the driest time of the year, may have contributed significantly to the differences found between the early and later plantings. It is recommended that trees that provide good canopy cover year-round be used as dominant species in plantings to facilitate the development of a leaf litter ecosystem that can be sustained throughout the year.