Action: Maintain/create buffer zones
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- One site comparison study in Australia found that a forest edge protected by a planted buffer strip had higher canopy cover and lower stem density, but similar understory species richness to an unbuffered forest edge.
Buffers can be created to exclude undesirable outside influences from forest sections.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A site comparison in 2008 in two remnants of complex mesophyll vine forests in North Queensland, Australia (Sonter, Metcalfe & Mayfield 2011) found that a forest edge protected by a planted buffer strip had higher canopy cover and lower stem density, but similar understory species richness to a forest edge with no buffer. Canopy cover in the buffered forest edge (approx. 90%) was higher than that along the edge with no planted buffer (approx. 75%). Similarly, stem density along the buffered edge (approx. 4 trees/m2) was lower than along the unbuffered edge (approx. 14 trees/m2). However, there was no difference in species richness of the understory between the buffered (approx. 1.3 species/m2) and unbuffered edge (approx. 2.4 species/m2). The 30 m wide buffer had been planted 14 years earlier and consisted of 80 different plant species planted 1.8 m apart. The surrounding area consisted of pastures and maintained lawns. The vegetation at each forest edge was sampled using ten 40 m transects, perpendicular to the buffer and the unbuffered forest edge respectively. Each transect contained ten quadrats (1 × 1 m).