Retain understorey vegetation within plantations
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Understorey vegetation may compete for resources with planted trees, especially when trees are young, and is, therefore, sometimes removed as part of commercial forest management. However, retaining understorey vegetation has the potential to support native mammals (e.g. Carrilho et al. 2017) and may form part of a suite of actions that could attract premium payments for timber products marketed as being biodiversity-friendly.
Carrilho, M., Teixeira, D., Santos-Reis, M., & Rosalino, L. M. (2017). Small mammal abundance in Mediterranean Eucalyptus plantations: how shrub cover can really make a difference. Forest Ecology and Management, 391, 256-263.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2009–2012 of a Monterey pine Pinus radiata plantation in central Chile (Simonetti et al. 2013) found that retaining understorey vegetation resulted in there being a greater number and higher visit rate of medium-sized mammal species, compared to areas cleared of understorey vegetation. Before clearance, the same four species were recorded both in plots designated to be uncleared and cleared; guiña Leopardus guigna, culpeo Pseudalopex culpaeus, Molina's hog-nosed skunk Conepatus chinga and southern pudu Pudu puda. After understorey clearance, all four species remained in uncleared plots but just southern pudu occurred in cleared plots. There were also fewer visits to cleared plots after understorey removal (visit rates presented as response ratios). Thirteen plots (≥300 m apart) were monitored using camera traps for four to five nights, monthly, from October 2009 to July 2012. In February 2011, understorey vegetation was removed from 1,600 m2 around cameras in five plots. Regrowth was controlled in February 2012.Study and other actions tested