Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Stand Structure and the Influence of Overwood on Regeneration in Tropical Eucalypt Forest on Melville-Island

RJ Fensham and DMJS Bowman

Australian Journal of Botany 40(3) 335 - 352
Published: 1992


The stand structure of tree species in tropical eucalypt forest on Melville Island reveals a mass of short woody sprouts in the ground layer and low numbers of sapling eucalypts.

The growth of the woody sprouts showed no significant response in the first 2 years after release from overwood competition. However, eucalypts are released in response to overwood removal, after 2-5 years, although investigations of old clear-felled blocks indicated that this response is not consistent. The initiation of saplings may be related to the size of the lignotuber and the presence of a tap root for some species. It is suggested that the accession of saplings may be limited by the degradation of root systems by termite herbivory.

Using assumptions regarding longevity of life stages, it is demonstrated that the forest structure of the study site can be perpetuated undercurrent conditions despite indications that the relative dominance of the forest eucalypt species will shift.

© CSIRO 1992

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