Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Effects of Lantana camara on Rainforest Regeneration in Northeastern Australia

EPA Grant Number: U915430
Title: Effects of Lantana camara on Rainforest Regeneration in Northeastern Australia
Investigators: Silber, Kristi R.
Institution: Rutgers SUNJ
EPA Project Officer: Broadway, Virginia
Project Period: July 1, 1998 through June 1, 2001
Project Amount: $48,628
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems

Description:

Objective:

The objective of this research project is to gain insight into the mechanisms controlling rainforest succession in lLantana camara thickets. Because since the exotic shrub seems to impede forest regrowth to varying degrees at different sites, I sought factors such as interaction with native fauna to explain lLantana's camara's impact.

Approach:

In order to examine the effects of Lantana camara on soil, I conducted a "bioassay" by growing rainforest trees from seed in soil removed from under Lantana camara and in an adjacent pasture. This revealed significantly greater growth in Lantana camara soil for 1one of the 3three species tested. Additional further sampling showed soil physical factors (bulk density, water infiltration rate, and pH) to be more conducive to growth in Lantana camara. I used root and canopy exclusion of Lantana camara to test its competitive effects on four species of rainforest tree seedlings. Periodic canopy removal generally had a positive effect on growth, but no effect on mortality. This experiment accidentally revealed the great setbacks due to disease and mammalian herbivory experienced by some species. Seed predation pressure was addressed by small mammal trapping, and seed removal trials in Lantana. camara, and by a neighboring rainforest. There is apparently heavier seed predation pressure in Lantana camara, and the small mammal community it supports is as diverse as that found in the forest. In an attempt to test the hypothesis that more seeds of native woody species were deposited in Lantana camara than in an adjacent pasture, soil samples were removed to a shade house, and all germinating seedlings were identified and counted. The samples from only one of three sites contained more than a few tree seeds; at that site, they were concentrated in Lantana camara.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, soil, ecological effects, rainforest regeneration, ecosystem, restoration, seed predation, invasive, Australia, rainforest, Lantana camara.

Top of Page

The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

Jump to main content.