A Banksia Woodland site one year after restoration highlighting emergence patterns. View image slideshowProject title: Using plant ecophysiology as a tool to underpin successful Banksia woodland restoration

Dates: 2006 - Ongoing

Funding: Rocla Quarry Products, BGPA

Location: Gnangara, 40 km NE of Perth

Research themes

  • ecophysiology
  • ecohydrology
  • establishment niches
  • plant function
  • restoration monitoring
  • seed germination
  • seedling emergence
  • soil properties

Project description

This project explores four major research areas including:

  1. Exploring survival strategies in Banksias – understanding the underlying mechanisms of Banksia attenuata and Banksia menziesii seedling survival post mining (Rocla quarry sites) or post pine plantation (Gnangara mound);
  2. Understanding the seedling niche post sand extraction – the niche in which seedlings grow is vital to ensure long-term survival in post sand extraction landscapes. By creating niches that reduce seedling exposure to stress (drought, temperature, light and soil compaction) more reliable seedling establishment may be observed;
  3. Enhancing the use of seed and seedlings – seed/seedlings of target species may be manipulated under laboratory/nursery conditions to improve their performance under field conditions, particularly under stressful environments;
  4. Understanding Banksia seedling decline – survival strategies of plants derived from seed appears to be different to that of seedlings derived from greenstock. The underlying physiological mechanisms of seedling mortality and survival over this time period may provide an insight into site manipulation to optimise establishment success.

Key staff

Dr Jason Stevens

Collaborators

Prof Kingsley Dixon (BGPA), Dr Ben Miller (BGPA), Mr Vernon Newton (Rocla Quarry Products), Mr Bruce Hardy (Rocla Quarry Products)

Students

Kate Stanbury (Masters; 2015 - 2016) Post-Pine Banksia woodland Restoration. Supervisors: Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Alison Ritchie.

Vanessa Brown (Honours 2017) Extruded pellets containing low doses of activated carbon successfully protect grass seeds from herbicide application: a new approach for use in restoring nature communities? Supervisors: Dr Richard Harris, Dr Alison Ritchie, Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Todd Erickson.

Erica David (PhD; 2014 - present) Implications for wind management in restoration ecology, linking ecosystem aerodynamics to physiological drivers in arid and semi-arid systems. Supervisors: Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Sean Tomlinson, Dr Ellery Mayence, Dr Andrew Guzzomi, Prof Kingsley Dixon.

Rachael Ord (PhD; 2008 - present). Post removal of Pinus pinaster plantations in Western Australia: Implications for reinstatement of Banksia woodland, a historical ecosystem assemblage. Supervisors: Dr Deanna Rokich, Dr Shane Turner, Dr Jason Stevens, Prof Kingsley Dixon.

Cameron Mounsey (PhD; 2010 - 2014) Understanding vegetation patch-gap dynamics to determine restoration success. Supervisors: Dr Ben Miller, Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Gavan McGrath, Prof Christoph Hinz, Prof Kingsley Dixon.

Stephen Benigno (PhD; 2008 - 2012) The Ecophysiological Adaptations of Framework Banksia Woodland Species to Post-Minesite Stresses. Supervisors: Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Deanna Rokich, Prof Christoph Hinz, Prof Kingsley Dixon.

Dylan Martini (Hons; 2013) Why do Banksia menziesii seedlings in post-mining restoration experience high mortality during their second summer? Supervisors: Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Luis Merino Martin.

Wolfgang Lewendrowski (Hons; 2011) Improving greenstock quality for Banksia woodland restoration. Supervisors: Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Rowena Long.

Simone Tausch (Intl Diploma; 2008) Understanding soil compaction thresholds limiting Banksia woodland species root development. Supervisor: Dr Jason Stevens.

Erin Griffiths (Hons; 2008) Nutrient regimes for improving the out-planting success of three Banksia woodland species. Supervisor: Dr Jason Stevens.

Presentations

Lucy Commander: Identifying and alleviating recruitment failures from seed and topsoil to improve restoration success. Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia Conference, 28-30 November 2012, Perth, Western Australia.

Luis Merino Martín: Applying Ecohydrology in mining restoration projects: lessons from ecological succession of mine slopes for future research. Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia Conference, 28-30 November 2012, Perth, Western Australia.

Ben Miller: Current practice fails to provide adequate data to plan or assess restoration in relation to targets of species richness and community type as set by law. Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia Conference, 28-30 November 2012, Perth, Western Australia.

banksia woodland 02Staff examining root dynamics of Banksia Woodland species growing in restoration sites.Banksia seedlings in a controlled environment study to understand the impacts of drought and soil compaction on seedling survival.

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