Suitability of Acacia longifolia var. sophorae (Mimosaceae) in sand-dune restoration in the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia

Geoff Bakewell, Anantanarayanan Raman, Dennis Hodgkins, Helen Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Persistent and strong wind, low nutrient and moisture levels in the soil, and mobile sands debilitate efforts to establish vegetation in coastal ecosystems. These difficulties can be overcome in some situations where either built structures(either dune-forming fences or individual protective shields) can be constructed in fore-dune locations or irrigation (either fixed or by hand) can be applied to protect and sustain new plantings. Because many restoration projects do not have adequate monetary resources to manage expenditure relative to built structures and/or irrigation, these efforts can experience up to 50% loss in the seedlings planted. Keeping these limitations in view, a field trial was conducted at Patonga Beach in (New South Wales, Australia) to test the suitability of the long-stem planting technique in restoring coastal sand dunes. Long-stem planting is a technique that utilizes plants grown in forestry tube-sized pots; plants of such stock can have vertical woody stems up to 1 m depending upon the application and an additional 10 cm of foliage.Plants suitable for this method of installation develop adventitious roots on the buried portion of woody stem, and mature in a manner consistent with seedlings without long stems. Placing of the nursery-grown root mass at a greater depth than non-long-stem plants at the time of planting is one of the advantages of this method of planting. Acacia longifoliavar. sophorae (Labill.) F. Muell. is a native legume of Australia that occurs naturally in coastal ecosystems in New South Wales and Victoria and is a species recommended for use in stabilizing sand on the fore- and crest-dunes of beaches, dueto its ability to withstand the poor soil and aggressive wind conditions.The trial reported in this paper, using A. longifoliavar. sophorae, was undertaken to compare the survival rate and above-ground vigour between long-stem (LS) andnon-long-stem (NLS) plants in the absence of either built structures offering protec post-planting irrigation. Several LS plants of A. longifolia var. sophorae were installed concurrently in large containers (custom-made using PVC pipes) under similar climatic conditions at a nursery in Erina (New South Wales, Australia) to observe the development of adventitious roots on the buried stems of LS plants. Results from this trial have shown plentiful and healthy new roots, which are further supported by datasets demonstrating that 52% of root growth from LS plants was adventitious. A survival rate of79% for LS plants compared with 53% for NLS plants during the field trial and the development of adventitious roots in the container-grown plants support the view that long-stem planting of A. longifolia var. sophorae is an effective and reliable method for use in the restoration of coastal sand dunes, overcoming the need for either built structures or post-planting irrigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Forestry Science
Volume39
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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