Balancing the environmental benefits of reforestation in agricultural regions

Ralph MAC NALLY, Patrick Baker, Cavagnaro Cavagnaro, Jason Beringer, Ross THOMPSON

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    47 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Reforestation is an important tool for reducing or reversing biodiversity loss and mitigating climate change. However, there are many potential compromises between the structural (biodiversity) and functional (carbon sequestration and water yield) effects of reforestation, which can be affected by decisions on spatial design and establishment of plantings. We review the environmental responses to reforestation and show that manipulating the configuration of plantings (location, size, species mix and tree density) increases a range of environmental benefits. More extensive tree plantings (>10. ha) provide more habitat, and greater improvements to carbon and water cycling. Planting a mixture of native trees and shrubs is best for biodiversity, while traditional plantation species, generally non-native species, sequester C faster. Tree density can be manipulated at planting or during early development to accelerate structural maturity and to manage water yields. A diversity of habitats will be created by planting in a variety of landscape positions and by emulating the patchy distribution of forest types, which characterized many regions prior to extensive landscape transformation. Areas with shallow aquifers can be planted to reduce water pollution or avoided to maintain water yields. Reforestation should be used to build forest networks that are surrounded by low-intensity land use and that provide links within regions and between biomes. While there are adequate models for C sequestration and changes in water yields after reforestation, the quantitative understanding of changes in habitat resources and species composition is more limited. Development of spatial and temporal modelling platforms based on empirical models of structural and functional outcomes of reforestation is essential for deciding how to reconfigure agricultural regions. To build such platforms, we must quantify: (a) the influence of previous land uses, establishment methods, species mixes and interactions with adjacent land uses on environmental (particularly biodiversity) outcomes of reforestation and (b) the ways in which responses measured at the level of individual plantings scale up to watersheds and regions. Models based on this information will help widespread reforestation for carbon sequestration to improve native biodiversity, nutrient cycling and water balance at regional scales.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-317
    Number of pages17
    JournalPerspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics
    Volume17
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Fingerprint

    reforestation
    ecosystem services
    planting
    water yield
    biodiversity
    carbon sequestration
    land use
    water
    habitat
    habitats
    environmental response
    landscape position
    tree planting
    water pollution
    biome
    nutrient cycling
    forest types
    water balance
    aquifers
    biogeochemical cycles

    Cite this

    @article{30dd5b169441437090bee7a7a0bc2b98,
    title = "Balancing the environmental benefits of reforestation in agricultural regions",
    abstract = "Reforestation is an important tool for reducing or reversing biodiversity loss and mitigating climate change. However, there are many potential compromises between the structural (biodiversity) and functional (carbon sequestration and water yield) effects of reforestation, which can be affected by decisions on spatial design and establishment of plantings. We review the environmental responses to reforestation and show that manipulating the configuration of plantings (location, size, species mix and tree density) increases a range of environmental benefits. More extensive tree plantings (>10. ha) provide more habitat, and greater improvements to carbon and water cycling. Planting a mixture of native trees and shrubs is best for biodiversity, while traditional plantation species, generally non-native species, sequester C faster. Tree density can be manipulated at planting or during early development to accelerate structural maturity and to manage water yields. A diversity of habitats will be created by planting in a variety of landscape positions and by emulating the patchy distribution of forest types, which characterized many regions prior to extensive landscape transformation. Areas with shallow aquifers can be planted to reduce water pollution or avoided to maintain water yields. Reforestation should be used to build forest networks that are surrounded by low-intensity land use and that provide links within regions and between biomes. While there are adequate models for C sequestration and changes in water yields after reforestation, the quantitative understanding of changes in habitat resources and species composition is more limited. Development of spatial and temporal modelling platforms based on empirical models of structural and functional outcomes of reforestation is essential for deciding how to reconfigure agricultural regions. To build such platforms, we must quantify: (a) the influence of previous land uses, establishment methods, species mixes and interactions with adjacent land uses on environmental (particularly biodiversity) outcomes of reforestation and (b) the ways in which responses measured at the level of individual plantings scale up to watersheds and regions. Models based on this information will help widespread reforestation for carbon sequestration to improve native biodiversity, nutrient cycling and water balance at regional scales.",
    author = "{MAC NALLY}, Ralph and Patrick Baker and Cavagnaro Cavagnaro and Jason Beringer and Ross THOMPSON",
    year = "2015",
    doi = "10.1016/j.ppees.2015.06.001",
    language = "English",
    volume = "17",
    pages = "301--317",
    journal = "Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics",
    issn = "1433-8319",
    publisher = "Urban und Fischer Verlag Jena",
    number = "4",

    }

    Balancing the environmental benefits of reforestation in agricultural regions. / MAC NALLY, Ralph; Baker, Patrick; Cavagnaro, Cavagnaro; Beringer, Jason; THOMPSON, Ross.

    In: Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2015, p. 301-317.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Balancing the environmental benefits of reforestation in agricultural regions

    AU - MAC NALLY, Ralph

    AU - Baker, Patrick

    AU - Cavagnaro, Cavagnaro

    AU - Beringer, Jason

    AU - THOMPSON, Ross

    PY - 2015

    Y1 - 2015

    N2 - Reforestation is an important tool for reducing or reversing biodiversity loss and mitigating climate change. However, there are many potential compromises between the structural (biodiversity) and functional (carbon sequestration and water yield) effects of reforestation, which can be affected by decisions on spatial design and establishment of plantings. We review the environmental responses to reforestation and show that manipulating the configuration of plantings (location, size, species mix and tree density) increases a range of environmental benefits. More extensive tree plantings (>10. ha) provide more habitat, and greater improvements to carbon and water cycling. Planting a mixture of native trees and shrubs is best for biodiversity, while traditional plantation species, generally non-native species, sequester C faster. Tree density can be manipulated at planting or during early development to accelerate structural maturity and to manage water yields. A diversity of habitats will be created by planting in a variety of landscape positions and by emulating the patchy distribution of forest types, which characterized many regions prior to extensive landscape transformation. Areas with shallow aquifers can be planted to reduce water pollution or avoided to maintain water yields. Reforestation should be used to build forest networks that are surrounded by low-intensity land use and that provide links within regions and between biomes. While there are adequate models for C sequestration and changes in water yields after reforestation, the quantitative understanding of changes in habitat resources and species composition is more limited. Development of spatial and temporal modelling platforms based on empirical models of structural and functional outcomes of reforestation is essential for deciding how to reconfigure agricultural regions. To build such platforms, we must quantify: (a) the influence of previous land uses, establishment methods, species mixes and interactions with adjacent land uses on environmental (particularly biodiversity) outcomes of reforestation and (b) the ways in which responses measured at the level of individual plantings scale up to watersheds and regions. Models based on this information will help widespread reforestation for carbon sequestration to improve native biodiversity, nutrient cycling and water balance at regional scales.

    AB - Reforestation is an important tool for reducing or reversing biodiversity loss and mitigating climate change. However, there are many potential compromises between the structural (biodiversity) and functional (carbon sequestration and water yield) effects of reforestation, which can be affected by decisions on spatial design and establishment of plantings. We review the environmental responses to reforestation and show that manipulating the configuration of plantings (location, size, species mix and tree density) increases a range of environmental benefits. More extensive tree plantings (>10. ha) provide more habitat, and greater improvements to carbon and water cycling. Planting a mixture of native trees and shrubs is best for biodiversity, while traditional plantation species, generally non-native species, sequester C faster. Tree density can be manipulated at planting or during early development to accelerate structural maturity and to manage water yields. A diversity of habitats will be created by planting in a variety of landscape positions and by emulating the patchy distribution of forest types, which characterized many regions prior to extensive landscape transformation. Areas with shallow aquifers can be planted to reduce water pollution or avoided to maintain water yields. Reforestation should be used to build forest networks that are surrounded by low-intensity land use and that provide links within regions and between biomes. While there are adequate models for C sequestration and changes in water yields after reforestation, the quantitative understanding of changes in habitat resources and species composition is more limited. Development of spatial and temporal modelling platforms based on empirical models of structural and functional outcomes of reforestation is essential for deciding how to reconfigure agricultural regions. To build such platforms, we must quantify: (a) the influence of previous land uses, establishment methods, species mixes and interactions with adjacent land uses on environmental (particularly biodiversity) outcomes of reforestation and (b) the ways in which responses measured at the level of individual plantings scale up to watersheds and regions. Models based on this information will help widespread reforestation for carbon sequestration to improve native biodiversity, nutrient cycling and water balance at regional scales.

    U2 - 10.1016/j.ppees.2015.06.001

    DO - 10.1016/j.ppees.2015.06.001

    M3 - Article

    VL - 17

    SP - 301

    EP - 317

    JO - Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics

    JF - Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics

    SN - 1433-8319

    IS - 4

    ER -