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Specialist Woody Species for Bowen Basin Coal Mine Rehabilitation and Native Ecosystem Reestablishment

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Published: October 06Project Number: C13038

Get ReportAuthor: James Elsol, Bevan Emmerton | J and J Elsol, BR Emmerton

Original project objectives were:

Research the nature of successful brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) and belah (Casuarina cristata) establishment from seed and tubestock in Bowen Basin rehabilitation communities, including review of brigalow biology as it applies to mine rehabilitation, highlighting key aspects of reproduction, establishment, and survival. On site work will focus on community structure, landform, slope and soil/spoil characterization. 

Determine the nature of successful saltbush (Atriplex) establishment in Bowen Basin rehabilitation communities. Provide a list and descriptions of Atriplex species succeeding on Bowen Basin coalmines, as well as characterizing their communities and substrates.

Identify aspects of saltbush (Atriplex) biology as it applies to mine rehabilitation, highlighting key aspects of reproduction, development, survival, and salt metabolism and recycling.

Establish from field study whether Atriplex has any undesirable salt recycling properties.  [Selected species accumulate salt in their leaves, which when shed may undesirably exacerbate soil saltiness. Seasonal foliar salt concentrations, shedding patterns and selected soil parameters will be studied.]

Provide recommendations for field establishment of brigalow, belah and selected saltbush species based on the findings of the above studies.

Provide environmental officers with a guide to selected woody resilient (WR) species useful as key performance indicators of successful rehabilitation in Bowen Basin coal mine plant communities. The guide will be both photographic and descriptive, and include species currently known to be successful, as well as species that have succeeded in long established but unrecorded/forgotten tree trials.

During the course of the project the objectives were modified to include a study of Chinchilla white gum (Eucalyptus argophloia) and to exclude Atriplex.

Revised objectives became:

Research the nature of successful brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) and belah (Casuarina cristata) establishment from seed and tubestock in Bowen Basin rehabilitation communities, including review of brigalow biology as it applies to mine rehabilitation, highlighting key aspects of reproduction, establishment, and survival. On site work will focus on community structure, landform, slope and soil/spoil characterization. 

Provide recommendations for field establishment of brigalow, belah and Chinchilla white gum based on the findings of the above studies.

Provide environmental officers with a guide to selected woody resilient (WR) species useful as key performance indicators of successful rehabilitation in Bowen Basin coal mine plant communities. The guide will be both photographic and descriptive, and include species currently known to be successful, as well as species that have succeeded in long established but unrecorded/forgotten tree trials.

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