Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School Of Natural Sciences

Faculty

Computing, Health And Science

First Advisor

Prof. Harry Recher

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Lund

Abstract

Ecologically sustainable forest management (ESFM) serves dual purposes: 1) to ensure the conservation of biodiversity, and 2) in production forest (forest managed for the production of timber and woodchips), to maintain an economically viable timber industry in perpetuity. A central axiom of ESFM is that any manipulation of a forest ecosystem should emulate the `natural' disturbance patterns of the forest. This is based on the assumption that forest communities have evolved with endogenous disturbance regimes and will be better able to cope if exogenous disturbance (e.g., logging) remains within natural levels and spatial and temporal bounds of intensity. The objective of this thesis was to assess whether logging within one of Australia's temperate forest ecosystems, the jarrah forest, falls within the range of its natural disturbance regimes and if not, whether logging reduces biodiversity within this ecosystem. As fire is the predominant natural disturbance in most Australian temperate forest, this objective was achieved by examining (i) whether there were initial differences between the impact of fire in unlogged forest compared with the impact of logging and fire in production forest and (ii) whether the biodiversity impacted by logging disturbance recovered within a period of time equivalent to that required for recovery from disturbance caused by fire.

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