Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 3: Bringing the Natives Back: Identifying and Alleviating Establishment Limitations of Native Hardwood Species in a Conifer Plantation Forests doi: 10.3390/f9010003 Authors: Yu-Tsen Li Yueh-Hsin Lo Yi-Ching Lin Biing Guan Juan Blanco Chi-How You To facilitate the reintroduction of five native late-successional Taiwanese Fagaceae species into Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica (D.) Don) plantations, we experimented with methods to alleviate their establishment limitations. We tested different combinations of tree species, seedling development stages, and site preparation techniques. First, we directly sowed both fresh and germinated acorns under both closed and opened (thinned) canopies. Both fresh and germinated acorns survived only six months at most. Wildlife consumption was the most critical factor hindering their survival. We subsequently experimented with different methods for increasing establishment rates, such as thinning in combination with understory control, applying chemical animal repellents to seeds, using physical barriers against seed predators, and using seedlings of different ages. Among the methods experimented, none was effective. The effects of silvicultural treatments to deter seed consumption lasted only the first few weeks after sowing, whereas the effects of physical barriers were inconsistent. We also tested planting 3-month and 1-year-old seedlings. Seedling survival after 9 months was about 20% on average for 3-month-old seedlings but reached 80% for 1-year-old seedlings. Our results suggest that planting seedlings older than six months or establishing physical obstacles to prevent seed predation will be the most effective strategies to reintroduce late-successional hardwood Fagaceae species into Japanese cedar plantations.
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition