Journal article

Unpalatable neighbours reduce browsing on woody seedlings

Sarah Moser, Joe Greet



High levels of browsing by mammalian herbivores can negatively affect the survival and growth of seedlings, and consequently revegetation and forest regeneration outcomes. Typical forms of protection (e.g. tree guards and fencing) are costly, particularly when used in large-scale projects, therefore, low-cost alternatives are needed. Based on associational refuge theory, we assessed the revegetation technique ‘cryptic planting’, whereby woody seedlings are planted within the foliage of unpalatable plants to deter browsing. We established a trial where 432 six-month-old tubestock of three woody species (Eucalyptus camphora, Melaleuca squarrosa and Leptospermum lanigerum) were cryptically (wit..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Government through the Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Elisa Raulings (Greening Australia) for initial guidance and providing information on the Two Million Trees Project; Michelle Faram (Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Nursery) for providing the plants for the trial; Miles Stewart-Howie, Bruce Quin and Sue Tardif for sharing their expertise and knowledge of Yellingbo; Ashley MacQueen and Jonathan Wong for their help with fieldwork; and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. The survey work was conducted under Permit No. 10008063 granted by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. This research was funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council (LP 150100682).