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Field screening for genetic-based susceptibility to mammalian browsing


Miller, AM and O'Reilly-Wapstra, JM and Potts, BM and McArthur, C, Field screening for genetic-based susceptibility to mammalian browsing , Forest Ecology and Management, 262, (8) pp. 1500-1506. ISSN 0378-1127 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 The definitive version is available at

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2011.06.051


Browsing by mammalian herbivores is a major problem in plantation forestry. Seedlings are most vulnerable to browsing during establishment, making protection crucial during this period. Aside from reducing herbivore numbers, browsing can be controlled through the application of tree guards or chemical repellents. These methods are generally short-term options. A promising, potentially longer-term method of reducing browsing damage on plantations is to plant individuals with enhanced natural browse resistance. This requires the development of a rapid, cost-effective means of identifying germplasm with enhanced resistance. Here we present such a screening methodology. We planted Eucalyptus globulus seedlings from 22 different seedlots in randomised blocks along edge rows of six operational plantations. Seedlings were monitored for mammal browsing damage and growth for 2 years. Natural variation between E. globulus seedlots resulted in significant variation in the extent to which they were browsed. Differential browsing was evident just 10 weeks after planting, and caused a significant effect on tree growth after 2 years. Differential browsing was thought to be due to variation in levels of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs). The identification and selective planting of high PSM seedlots in high risk areas could be an effective management tool to reduce browsing in plantation forestry.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Forestry sciences
Research Field:Tree improvement (incl. selection and breeding)
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Forestry
Objective Field:Hardwood plantations
UTAS Author:Miller, AM (Dr Alison Miller)
UTAS Author:O'Reilly-Wapstra, JM (Associate Professor Julianne O'Reilly-Wapstra)
UTAS Author:Potts, BM (Professor Brad Potts)
ID Code:72162
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2011-08-23
Last Modified:2012-04-16

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