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Introduction to Forests

Forests are the backbone of the greenery the earth has, and they add mostly to the oxygen levels in the atmosphere. The practice of controlling the structure/composition, growth and quality of forests so that it would be able to meet the needs and values. It mostly focuses on the production of timber. It involves the integration of art and science of cultivating and growing forest crops. Knowledge of the life-history of woods and forests is the main focus of the silviculture and it aim towards conservation and treatment of the forest stands along with improving their productivity (Butler, O. M., Lewis, T., Rashti, M. R., & Chen, C. (2019). Cultivation and management of the forest trees helps in benefits the environment along with supporting the production of timbers for commercial use. It also helps in maintain the diversity and establishing ecology. This work will focus on the ecosystem of Native Blackbutt Forest, Native Dry Sclerophyll (Spotted Gum/Ironbark) Forest and Subtropical Rain Forest along with the literature references, the fire regime and the maintenance Issue for Habitat for Native Fauna (Powell, M., Accad, A., & Shapcott, A. (2014). One of the major differences between Silviculture and Forestry is that, the former is considered at the stand-level wherein the later is a broader concept. In silviculture, adaptive management is applied so as to conserve the natural habitat of the flora and fauna. Lot of treatment and management is applied in the silviculture wherein forestry is naturally developed and maintained. Some of the forest that could be a part of the silviculture could be high forest including age class forest and continuous cover forestry.

Ecosystems Native Blackbutt Forest

Blackbutt Forest is also known as Eucalyptus pilularis includes trees which are of height about 70 m high with bark that persist all through and full of the trunk. They include shedding long ribbons ow the barks with short stringy to fibrous grey-brown in structure and colour. Commercially they are highly productive in the native forest of New South Wales (NSW). This is also known to be one of the fastest growing species found in New South Wales (NSW). It is also one of the choices for the silviculture as they are very much tolerant to fire. Since decades, this forest has been one of the primary sources of production and supply for timbers in New South Wales (Vasconcelos, H. L., Maravalhas, J. B., & Cornelissen, T. (2017). Costal distribution of the Blackbutt Forest is really narrow yet it has a good latitudinal range that extends all the way from the south east Queensland till the New South Wales (NSW).

The forest is a habitat of a wide range of species who shares a great association with each other and forms dominant component of their own share in the forest. Management history of the coastal State forests is not just extensive but also widely varied which has helped in creating mosaic of stand structures. After the world war II, most of the ears had became aged and has lost its quality. However, stand improvement, intensive harvesting and clear-felling has helped in creating even-age stands which are ready to be matured. Harvesting selection is based on the age and class of the previous variable structure that would help in maintaining the natural ecological balance along with avoidance of any kind of disturbing events like that of fire, etc. Productive Blackbutt Forest promotes healthy regeneration as the seeds were retained even after the harvest is complete.

Literature Review on Ecosystems Native Blackbutt Forest

Tom Lewis, Michael Reif, Elly Prendergast and Cuong Tran tried to evaluate the fire exclusion and burning on the ground and above levels of the Blackbutt Forest and its impact on the vegetation at that place (Lewis, T., Reif, M., Prendergast, E., & Tran, C. (2012). Their work tried to focus mostly on the fire regime through an experiment on the long-term fire exposure in the south-east Queensland in Australia. Density of the Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) Forest along with the richness in the vegetation of <7.5 m. Two types of components are taken into consideration, one is the soil-stored vegetation and the other one is the standing vegetation. No fire burning has happened since 1969 but during 1971-72, quadrennial burning, and biennial burning were seen. Experimental fie treatments help in influencing the density and richness of the obligate seeder in the standing vegetation. Unlike the unburnt treatment, in biennially burnt treatment the density of the reporting is higher, and the height goes <3 m in height. However, in the in biennially burnt treatment, absence of the resprouters of 3 – 7.5 m in height has been seen.

An understroyed platform could be seen in the long unburnt treatments where variety of the rainforest species could be seen. Application of quadrennial burning in one part and the other part with biennial burning treatments shows higher grass density than that of the unburnt treatment. This type of fire regime holds the potentiality of influencing the standing understroyed vegetation’s flammability. The work also focused on the native fauna that is supported by this specific fire regime as there holds a good interaction between the site and the regime of the fire that helps in demonstrating higher degree and potentiality of supporting variability in vegetational and ecological habitat. They also effectively respond and act to the fire regime and the potentiality of species is higher in the soil-stored vegetation. 

Native Dry Sclerophyll (Spotted Gum/Ironbark) Forest

Dry Sclerophyll (Spotted Gum/Ironbark) Forest is native to the New South Wales and is highly diverse because of its size. It is associated with biomes and woodlands which are mostly grassy along with some combination of the wetlands, heathlands and temperate and subtropical rainforests which are evergreen. Sclerophyll forest refers to a type of vegetation where they have a feature of short internodes, hard leaves and leaves which are oblique to the sunlight and its orientation is parallel. In Australian Silviculture, Sclerophyll had occupied many areas of savannas and heathlands forest which are comprised of trees like eucalyptus, boronias, acacias, tee-tree, etc. Sclerophyll communities are mostly dominated by heavy and strong grasses at the bottom and the eucalyptus and acacia can be seen in the overstory in Australia (Commercial Travellers' Association. (2017). Commercially, the Corymbia maculate or Spotted gum forests in the south coast are of great value as they significantly add to the timber and also add value as one of the important forest types. In the north cost of the New South Wales, the Spotted gum forests is a critical part of the product mix.

They hold the potentiality of supporting a wide range of ecological amplitude (Buisson, E., Le Stradic, S., Silveira, F. A., Durigan, G., Overbeck, G. E., Fidelis, A., ... & Alvarado, S. T. (2019). The soil quality of this forest type is heavier, and it can easily tolerate low rainfalls. Historically, focus on the Spotted gum forests became more after the European settlement and because of the quality of the timber harvested form this forest, this forest is considered to be one of the most accessible forests in the country. Plats like eucalyptus needs open light and sunny conditions due to which only creation of the small canopy is available. Therefore, for intensive silviculture, taller sands with moister soil and thick storey should be chosen. Here seedling regeneration of the stands is critical because of the lignotuberous habitat of the available species. Regeneration of this type of forest is readily as two types of sites, both drier and moist, is available.

Literature Review on Native Dry Sclerophyll (Spotted Gum/Ironbark) Forest

Equal balance of carbon and nitrogen component is highly essential for the right kind of veneration and this was the prime focus of the study conducted by Bushra Muqaddas, Tom Lewis, Maryam Esfandbod and Chengrong Chen (Muqaddas, B., Lewis, T., Esfandbod, M., & Chen, C. (2019). According to them, burning can reduce the dissolved organic nitrogen and carbon in the soil as compared to that of the untreated or unburnt areas. Nutrient recycling is essential, for any kind of vegetation to grow and nourish and organic nitrogen and carbon helps in creating this pool of nutrient (Butler, O. M., Lewis, T., Rashti, M. R., & Chen, C. (2019). Soil labile nitrogen and carbon plays a central role in not just cycling of nutrient but also in the biogeochemical cycle. There are three major type of fire regime followed for this Dry Sclerophyll (Spotted Gum/Ironbark) Forest and those are, long unburnt (No Burning), burnt every two years (2yr Burning) and burnt every four years (4yrs Burning). It has been seen that burning in every 2 years can reduce the dissolved organic nitrogen and carbon in the soil as compared to that of the untreated or unburnt areas.

Functional types also help in determining the maintenance strategy and support the flora and fauna of a forest. Restoration and the native forest or the plants depends on the predicting the plant functional types which refers the commonalities in their traits and the influence they have on the perturbation of the environment (Tozer, M. G., Mackenzie, B. D., & Simpson, C. C. (2012). For managing the fire-prone ability of the Dry Sclerophyll forest, stripping and clearing of the topsoil would be highly effective. Resprouting and establishment of the seedling are the outcomes of the post fire regime. Translocation of the topsoil can be done through persisting the mechanism of the events like germination, seed banking, etc.,

Subtropical Rain Forest

These types of forest are found in the southeast Queensland and Northeast New South Wales. Around 3.6 million hectors of rainforest are found in Australia that accounts to 35 of the total area of native forest in Australia. The main characteristic of this type of forest is lush growth, high rainfall and closed canopies. The risk of fire experience is quite less or very rare and it does not contain any eucalyptus plants. Plants in these forests are shade-tolerant during their young age and they add significantly to the biodiversity of Australia.

Literature Review on Subtropical Rain Forest

Value of the grassy biomes is high and ecological variation adds to the valuation of the forestry and silviculture. Work of Robert Kooyman Will Cornwell and Mark Westoby tried to evaluate the cross-landscape variation of the functional traits of the subtropical rainforests (Kooyman, R., Cornwell, W., & Westoby, M. (2010). Another work by Sarah C Maunsell, Roger L Kitching, Penelope Greenslade, Akihiro Nakamura and Chris J Burwell tried to focus on the fire regime of the Subtropical Rain Forest (Maunsell, S. C., Kitching, R. L., Greenslade, P., Nakamura, A., & Burwell, C. J. (2013). Frequency of fire is less because of the wet features of these forests. Thereby providing large scope of for a wide range of ecological diversities.

Conclusion on Forests

Cultivation and management of the forest trees helps in benefits the environment along with supporting the production of timbers for commercial use. It also helps in maintain the diversity and establishing ecology (Powell, M., Accad, A., & Shapcott, A. (2014). The practice of controlling the structure/composition, growth and quality of forests so that it would be able to meet the needs and values. It mostly focuses on the production of timber. It involves the integration of art and science of cultivating and growing forest crops. Blackbutt Forest is a habitat of a wide range of species who shares a great association with each other and forms dominant component of their own share in the forest (Vasconcelos, H. L., Maravalhas, J. B., & Cornelissen, T. (2017). Management history of the coastal State forests is not just extensive but also widely varied which has helped in creating mosaic of stand structures. Harvesting selection is based on the age and class of the previous variable structure that would help in maintaining the natural ecological balance along with avoidance of any kind of disturbing events like that of fire, etc.

Application of quadrennial burning in one part and the other part with biennial burning treatments shows higher grass density than that of the unburnt treatment (Butler, O. M., Lewis, T., Rashti, M. R., & Chen, C. (2019). This type of fire regime holds the potentiality of influencing the standing understroyed vegetation’s flammability. Sclerophyll forest refers to a type of vegetation where they have a feature of short internodes, hard leaves and leaves which are oblique to the sunlight and its orientation is parallel. In Australian Silviculture, Sclerophyll had occupied many areas of savannas and heathlands forest which are comprised of trees like eucalyptus, boronias, acacias, tee-tree, etc. Sclerophyll communities are mostly dominated by heavy and strong grasses at the bottom and the eucalyptus and acacia can be seen in the overstory in Australia. Nutrient recycling is essential, for any kind of vegetation to grow and nourish and organic nitrogen and carbon helps in creating this pool of nutrient. Soil labile nitrogen and carbon plays a central role in not just cycling of nutrient but also in the biogeochemical cycle. There are three major type of fire regime followed for this Dry Sclerophyll (Spotted Gum/Ironbark) Forest and those are, long unburnt, burnt every two years and burnt every four years.

References for Forests

Buisson, E., Le Stradic, S., Silveira, F. A., Durigan, G., Overbeck, G. E., Fidelis, A., ... & Alvarado, S. T. (2019). Resilience and restoration of tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and grassy woodlands. Biological Reviews, 94(2), 590-609.

Butler, O. M., Lewis, T., Rashti, M. R., & Chen, C. (2019). Energetic efficiency and temperature sensitivity of soil heterotrophic respiration vary with decadal-scale fire history in a wet sclerophyll forest. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 134, 62-71.

Commercial Travellers' Association. (2017). Blackbutt Whian Whian Forest Lismore District, NSW. Fonds:[1979.0162]" ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS AND PUBLICATIONS".

Foster, C. N., Barton, P. S., MacGregor, C. I., Catford, J. A., Blanchard, W., & Lindenmayer, D. B. (2018). Effects of fire regime on plant species richness and composition differ among forest, woodland and heath vegetation. Applied Vegetation Science, 21(1), 132-143.

Kooyman, R., Cornwell, W., & Westoby, M. (2010). Plant functional traits in Australian subtropical rain forest: partitioning within‐community from cross‐landscape variation. Journal of Ecology, 98(3), 517-525.

Lewis, T., Reif, M., Prendergast, E., & Tran, C. (2012). The effect of long‐term repeated burning and fire exclusion on above‐and below‐ground Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) forest vegetation assemblages. Austral Ecology, 37(7), 767-778.

Muqaddas, B., Lewis, T., Esfandbod, M., & Chen, C. (2019). Responses of labile soil organic carbon and nitrogen pools to long-term prescribed burning regimes in a wet sclerophyll forest of southeast Queensland, Australia. Science of the total environment, 647, 110-120.

Maunsell, S. C., Kitching, R. L., Greenslade, P., Nakamura, A., & Burwell, C. J. (2013). Springtail (C ollembola) assemblages along an elevational gradient in A ustralian subtropical rainforest. Australian Journal of Entomology, 52(2), 114-124.

Powell, M., Accad, A., & Shapcott, A. (2014). Where they are, why they are there, and where they are going: using niche models to assess impacts of disturbance on the distribution of three endemic rare subtropical rainforest trees of Macadamia (Proteaceae) species. Australian Journal of Botany, 62(4), 322-334.

Tozer, M. G., Mackenzie, B. D., & Simpson, C. C. (2012). An application of plant functional types for predicting restoration outcomes. Restoration Ecology, 20(6), 730-739.

Vasconcelos, H. L., Maravalhas, J. B., & Cornelissen, T. (2017). Effects of fire disturbance on ant abundance and diversity: a global meta-analysis. Biodiversity and conservation, 26(1), 177-188.

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