Partnership with La Trobe University on Biodiversity Research

Following the discovery of a new insect species in one of our forests in 2012 by Associate Professor Martin Steinbauer, Greenfleet is partnering with La Trobe University to conduct a research project in a number of our planting sites with the hope to discover new species in the process.

Kicked off in November 2013, the project aims to answer to the question "How effective is increased insect diversity in young Greenfleet carbon sink forests in limiting defoliation and its associated consequences?".

It will help quantify the role man-made forests can play in sustaining native insect diversity in landscapes outside formal reserves which have been subject to fragmentation for agricultural production. The project also hopes to understand why the severity of defoliation is typically higher in younger plantings compared to in native forests. 

Martin Steinbauer explained: “There is growing community awareness that man-made forests can contribute significantly to the conservation of biodiversity, most notably when native plant species are utilised within their own region. Re-planting native tree species is advantageous to many insects but can favour high abundances of herbivores that defoliate young trees. Greenfleet is unique because it collects seed from nearby remnant forest for use in its re-plantings and establishes forests of comparable plant composition to native remnants.

The project aims to:

  • Quantify insect diversity and abundance and levels of herbivory in Greenfleet forests (younger) and compare with data from native forest remnants (older);
  • Identify and describe new insect species found in Greenfleet forests; and
  • Quantify how forest aging changes insect diversity and abundance and level of herbivory.”

Insect traps were set in 12 forests by Dr Steinbauer's research team in November 2013. The team successfully used light trapping and sticky trapping and is now going through the data collected.

 

 

 

Logo for La Trobe University

Photo of Eoghan O'Connor from Greenfleet, Shannon Braun and Martin Steinbauer from La Trobe University - at Devilbend
Photo of La Trobe University Researchers in a Greenfleet Forest

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