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Laura van Galen

PhD Candidate, University of Otago

Laura van Galen is a PhD Candidate at the University of Otago, studying the relationship between southern beech trees and ectomycorrhizal fungi, and how this relates to southern beech forest restoration. Laura grew up surrounded by Tasmanian southern beech species, where she completed a Bachelor of Plant Science with Honours before crossing the ditch to study their New Zealand relatives.

Restoration of Southern Hemisphere Beech (Nothofagaceae) Forests: What We Can Learn from past Experiences

Tues 10 Nov, 13:25 – 13:45

Southern beech (Nothofagus) species form a major component of Southern Hemisphere forests, and in many regions are an important focus for restoration efforts. However, restoration projects are often carried out at small, local scales using a wide range of different techniques that produce mixed results. Learning from past experiences is essential to improve outcomes and develop general strategies for southern beech restoration, so we conducted a meta-analysis on the results of 91 previous beech restoration trials in the Southern Hemisphere. The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine what techniques have been scientifically tested, identify the most effective methods, and pinpoint gaps in current practices. Results showed that providing shelter, controlling weeds, and protecting from herbivores all improved seedling survival and/or growth. Surprisingly, fertilising gave little benefit, despite being one of the most commonly applied techniques. Other techniques, such as increasing glasshouse container size or growth time or manipulating soil before planting, showed mixed results. No trials examined the use of ectomycorrhizal fungal inoculum as a restoration technique. Given the reliance of southern beech species on ectomycorrhizae for survival, this should be an important focus of future research. By collating the results of past southern beech restoration trials, we hope this meta-analysis can provide a foundation to guide and improve the outcomes of future restoration projects.

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