Natural Regeneration and Management of Secondary Forests in Lao PDR and Vietnam

Sean McNamara (2009). Natural Regeneration and Management of Secondary Forests in Lao PDR and Vietnam PhD Thesis, Sustainable Minerals Institute / School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland.

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Author Sean McNamara
Thesis Title Natural Regeneration and Management of Secondary Forests in Lao PDR and Vietnam
School, Centre or Institute Sustainable Minerals Institute / School of Biological Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Peter Erskine
Associate Professor David Lamb
Total pages 197
Total colour pages 16
Total black and white pages 181
Subjects 06 Biological Sciences
Abstract/Summary Factors relating to natural regeneration and tree community recovery after slash and burn agricultural practices were investigated in secondary seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTF) of varying land use intensity and post-disturbance management. Patterns and processes of regeneration were explored by collecting community composition data at secondary and primary sites, by conducting seedling experiments, and by investigating existing forest rehabilitation efforts in both Lao PDR (Laos) and Vietnam. In the forests surveyed in Laos, forest recovery in terms of the composition of primary forest tree species juveniles in fallow forests was high at most sites regardless of previous land use intensity. While community compositional studies indicated significant differences between primary and secondary communities, little or no significant differences were found in terms of primary tree species or family diversity, evenness, or dominance of regenerating juveniles. Significant differences appeared to be due to changes in the relative abundances of different species rather than the absence of primary forest obligate species in the secondary communities. This effect is expected to be due to the relatively common resprouting ability of SDTF species, the wide range of ecological conditions that these species can persist under, and the mosaic pattern of land-uses across the landscape. Evidence of environmental filtering affecting composition patterns in secondary communities was found for two plant traits; dispersal syndrome and plasticity of specific leaf area (SLA). Ecological strategies of primary SDTF tree species were investigated in two ways. Within the narrow range of species capable of regenerating within the primary forest environment, evidence of different life history strategies was found, indicated by significant correlations between continuous plant traits of seed size, fruit size, maximum tree height, SLA, leaf size and wood density. The correlations found largely mirrored patterns found in similar studies in Neotropical forests. Evidence of different seedling regeneration strategies was investigated by comparing species of two different successional preference groups in a seedling/light experiment. Seedlings of non-pioneer later successional species responded differently than species more associated with disturbed environments (long-lived pioneers) when exposed to both increasing absolute light treatments, and to light received under various sunfleck treatments. Earlier successional species demonstrated greater plasticity of SLA, leaf area ratio (LAR), stem elongation, and root mass ratio to increasing light. Regeneration under minimally managed monoculture and pair-wise plantations of both native and exotic species at the Laos field site was not significantly different when compared with nearby remnant primary forest in terms of diversity, evenness, and richness. Therefore, plantation overstoreys did not appear to be suppressing the regeneration of primary forest species. Seedlings grown in enrichment designs nearby had survival rates of approximately 50%, and diameter increments of less than 0.2 cm/yr after 6 to 9 years of growth. The performance of seedlings in such plantings is expected to be sufficient for conservation aims but is unlikely to encourage private investment for forestry purposes due to long expected rotation lengths. At Hai Van Pass in central Vietnam, the combination of a fast growing exotic species to capture a degraded site and ameliorate site conditions, followed by enrichment planting of native species was demonstrated to be a successful approach to reforesting degraded land, whilst funding itself through the sale of timber. The results indicate the high regeneration potential of the studied secondary forests, both in terms of observed patterns of regeneration in slash and burn fallow forests, and in terms of the general regenerative abilities of SDTF species. Decisions regarding future land-uses and secondary forest management should have consideration of this possible high level of recovery, and simple diversity sampling techniques should be included in any related processes to confirm the regeneration potential of a particular secondary forest.
Keyword seasonally dry tropical forest
secondary forest
Additional Notes Colour page numbers: 30, 33, 36, 40, 43, 50, 60, 82, 90, 91, 92, 93, 107, 129, 130, 147. Landscape – 98, 164, 165 A3 – no A3

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Created: Thu, 10 Sep 2009, 19:36:23 EST by Mr Sean Mcnamara on behalf of Library - Information Access Service