New seed zones adopted by industry

New seed zones adopted by industry

A more efficient seed zoning system for Tasmania’s native forest regeneration, developed by the ARC Training Centre for Forest Value, has been officially adopted by Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

Seed zones guide where seed is sourced from in the regeneration of native forests and researchers at the University of Tasmania-based centre have identified 14 new seed zones. These have replaced the previous 61 discrete seed zones that were based on difference in location, altitude, dryness and coldness.

Centre for Forest Value Director Associate Professor Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra said the new seed zones are a great example of scientific knowledge being turned into practical policy and shows how the Centre provides value to its industrial partners.

“The Centre for Forest Value researchers have been working closely with Sustainable Timber Tasmania on this project and this is a fantastic outcome where collaborative research has improved the application of seed choice for forest regeneration,” Associate Professor O’Reilly-Wapstra said.

Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s Forest Management Services Manager Dr Dean Williams said the new seed zone information was integrated into their GIS system, which has expanded scope for seed sourcing for forest regeneration; leading to more efficient management.

“Through the Centre for Forest Value we had access to scientists that are globally at the forefront of this area of research and were able to engage them on this particular project,” Dr Williams said.

“The scientific understanding of the environmental drivers for plant adaptation has become more refined in recent years, and in parallel, there have been great improvements in how that knowledge can be applied geographically through computer models.

“What we have been able to achieve in partnership with the Centre is a paradigm shift in the application of the seed zones for forest regeneration.”

Dr Williams said thanks to the Centre’s engagement, there is a short path from scientific discovery to operational implementation.

“The Centre for Forest Value provides us with the intellectual muscle to continuously improve our operations and we have great engagement with their researchers, staff and students,” he said.

“That rapport means we can be quickly on the same page when it comes to expressing the research needs of our organisation and developing a path to the implementation of solutions.

“There is also a flip side to this, in that career researchers and students in the university system have access to real-world situations where their talents can be applied, and the impacts can be seen.”

Centre Director O’Reilly Wapstra agreed.

“This has been a fantastic outcome from our engagement with Sustainable Timber Tasmania and we will continue to work in partnership on future research in forest management,” Associate Professor O’Reilly Wapstra said.

“We are looking forward to expanding this work to include other tree species and continue the climate-related research that we do.” Dr Williams said the next collaboration will see Sustainable Timber Tasmania look at the challenges imposed by climate change.

“As a land manager there is still a lot to learn about how our forest are going to respond to climate change, and our next collaborative project in place will examine the genetic diversity of our forest trees to see how they might respond to a changing environment,” he said.

“That information will further inform our forest management practices.”

Source: UTAS