The Effect of Timing of Rehabilitation Procedures on the Establishment of a Jarrah Forest After Bauxite Mining

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Abstract

The restoration of the high botanical diversity of the premining jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest is a major priority of rehabilitation following bauxite mining in southwestern Australia. This study investigated the effects of different ripping, seeding, and scarifying dates on the establishment of plants from propagules stored in the topsoil and from applied seed on areas being rehabilitated after mining. Seed stored in the topsoil, rather than applied seed, was the major contributor to plant diversity. Ripping late (April) or scarifying in June significantly reduced the number of species and numbers of individual plants that established from propagules in the topsoil. Species originating from broadcast seed were most numerous when the seed was broadcast in April or after scarifying in June. Scarifying before seeding, particularly in June, increased the establishment of species from the broadcast seed. To make best use of the applied seed, without jeopardizing the establishment of species from the topsoil, pits should be ripped and sown by April. We list a number of strategies that can help maximize plant numbers and botanical diversity on rehabilitated bauxite mines, which may also be of more general application for restoring the original native vegetation on disturbed sites.

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