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Ms Belinda Jayne Browning

profile_browning_thumbMs Belinda Jayne Browning
MSc student - COMPLETED

Topic: Bryophyte succession in relation to forest age and log decay progression in Tasmanian lowland wet eucalypt forest

University of Tasmania

Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) are significant components of forest ecosystems worldwide, contributing greatly to biodiversity, forest structure and ecosystem function. Bryophytes occur on a range of substrates and are known to be particularly abundant on coarse woody debris (CWD), which comprises decaying logs and branches. This study was the first to assess the development of bryophyte communities on coarse woody debris following clearfell, burn and sow (CBS) harvesting in wet eucalypt forests.

Understanding the relationship between CBS and bryophyte diversity is critical to managing the impacts of forestry-induced changes on fundamental ecological processes, the sustainability of current forest practices and the possible impacts of new forest management techniques.

My study aimed to:

  • document bryophyte successional patterns on CWD following clearfell, burn and sow;
  • assess how forest age and/or CWD decay class affects bryophyte community succession; and
  • determine what macro- and micro- environmental variables are associated with bryophyte community succession on CWD.

This study further developed our understanding of forest processes and the complexity of relationships between significant forest components, part of the knowledge base underpinning effective forest management.

I first studied bryophyte communities on coarse woody debris for my Honours project in 2006, which is when I became fascinated by how complex and important these often overlooked communities can be.  I really enjoy contributing to the growth of our scientific knowledge and how it can benefit environmental decision making and I jumped at the opportunity to continue with Masters through funding from the CRC for Forestry, the University of Tasmania and joint collaboration with Forestry Tasmania.

My supervisors were Mr Paddy Dalton and Dr Greg Jordan of the University of Tasmania.

This project was part of the CRC for Forestry Biodiversity Project (4.2), subproject 4.2.3 (biodiversity value of coarse wood debris).

To browse other projects available with the Biodiversity Project, click here