We would like to invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of Emma Mackintosh, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the School of Science, Technology and Engineering.
Investigating the relationship between lianas and Australian rainforest recovery.
Lianas are woody vines which are rooted in the ground and rely on trees for structural support to climb and access the canopy. They are a conspicuous feature of rainforests globally but compete with trees, negatively impacting tree growth. Conditions associated with disturbance often favours the growth of lianas over trees, which means lianas can proliferate following disturbance and may slow or prevent rainforest recovery. This reduces their ability to store carbon with ramifications for the global carbon sink. Liana removal shows promise as a management tool to assist forest recovery. Although, lianas are still important to rainforest ecosystems, contributing towards stem diversity and ecosystem functioning, therefore widespread application of cutting could have unforeseen adverse effects on the ecosystem. This project aims to determine the role of lianas in the rainforest recovery process. We propose that up to a certain ‘tipping point threshold’ they benefit the ecosystem and facilitate recovery, but beyond this point, they proliferate excessively and outcompete the regrowing trees, resulting in stalled or arrested recovery. Through data collection alongside experimental manipulation of liana abundance, we aim to uncover this tipping point threshold and also how liana abundance varies along environmental gradients. The findings should inform the use of liana cutting as a potential tool for forest restoration in Australia and globally, while also revealing fundamental information on liana ecology and rainforest recovery dynamics in Australia.
We look forward to seeing you there!