Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 12, pp 2763–2781 | Cite as

Assessing the invasive potential of Eucalyptus globulus in Australia: quantification of wildling establishment from plantations

  • Matthew J. LarcombeEmail author
  • Joaquim S. Silva
  • René E. Vaillancourt
  • Brad M. Potts
Original Paper


Eucalyptus globulus is one of the most widely planted temperate hardwood species in the world, and in Australia there are 538,000 hectares growing in plantations. Although it has been reported as invasive, quantification of E. globulus invasion is rare. We conducted surveys at two geographic scales to assess the level of, and factors influencing, wildling establishment from industrial E. globulus plantations in Australian. We surveyed 290 km of plantation boundary, both within (22 %) and outside (78 %) the species native range. In areas of relatively high establishment, a density triggered paired plot approach (plots with and without wildlings) was used to assess fine-scale factors influencing establishment. We recorded 4,939 wildlings (17/km), 98 % of which occurred within 10 m of the plantation edge (maximum 175 m). Establishment varied between regions, ranging from 1.2 to 39.6 wildlings/km. Generalized linear models showed that the probability of a wildling being present increased with plantation age, that wildling abundance was higher along burnt transects, as well as sites that received regular, relatively high rainfall and had lower mean annual temperatures. The only fine-scale/local factor influencing wildling presence was the reproductive output of the plantation. The current level of E. globulus establishment in Australia is low in comparison to other invasive forestry trees. However, given the relatively young age of the Australian estate, local and regional variation in establishment, and potential future changes in plantation management, monitoring is warranted. Implications for assessing the general invasiveness of Eucalyptus and possibilities for E. globulus wildling control are discussed.


Blue gum Biological invasions Forestry tree invasions Environmental factors Exotic species Management strategies 



For providing access to plantations, maps and data we would like to thank: Hancock Victoria Plantations, particularly Stephen Elms and Phil Whitman; Australian Bluegum Plantations, particularly Ben Bradshaw; Elders Forestry, particularly Nigel England; WA Plantation Resources, particularly Matthew Kovacs and Sara Mathieson; Forestry Tasmania, particularly Stephen Read and Tim Wardlaw. For assistance with analysis we thank Grant Williamson. For assistance with GIS we thank Winston D. Smith. We thank the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra particularly Mijo Gavran for information and providing GIS data. We also thank Dave Richardson and the two reviewers for their comments that helped us significantly improve the paper. This research was funded by Forests and Wood Products Australia, the CRC for Forestry, and the TRANZFOR programme funded J. S. S. to travel to Australia.

Supplementary material

10530_2013_492_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 4459 kb)
10530_2013_492_MOESM2_ESM.docx (427 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 428 kb)
10530_2013_492_MOESM3_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 19 kb)


  1. Almeida AC, Soares JV, Landsberg JJ, Rezende GD (2007) Growth and water balance of Eucalyptus grandis hybrid plantations in Brazil during a rotation for pulp production. For Ecol Manage 251:10–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Attiwill PM (1994) Ecological disturbance and the conservative management of eucalypt forests in Australia. For Ecol Manage 63:301–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey TG, Davidson NJ, Close DC (2012) Understanding the regeneration niche: microsite attributes and recruitment of eucalypts in dry forests. For Ecol Manage 269:229–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barbour RC, Crawford AC, Henson M, Lee DJ, Potts BM, Shepherd M (2008a) The risk of pollen-mediated gene flow from exotic Corymbia plantations into native Corymbia populations in Australia. For Ecol Manage 256:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barbour RC, Otahal Y, Vaillancourt RE, Potts BM (2008b) Assessing the risk of pollen-mediated gene flow from exotic Eucalyptus globulus plantations into native eucalypt populations of Australia. Biol Conserv 141:896–907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnett V, Lewis T (1994) Outliers in statistical data. John Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Beadle C, Volker P, Bird T, Mohammed C, Barry K, Pinkard L, Wiseman D, Harwood C, Washusen R, Wardlaw T, Nolan G (2008) Solid-wood production from temperate eucalypt plantations: a Tasmanian case study. South For 70:45–57Google Scholar
  8. Blackburn TM, Pyšek P, Bacher S, Carlton JT, Duncan RP, Jarošík V, Wilson JRU, Richardson DM (2011) A proposed unified framework for biological invasions. Trends Ecol Evol 26:333–339PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Turnbull JW (1980) Eucalyptus seed. CSIRO publishing, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  10. Booth TH (2012) Eucalypts and their potential for invasiveness particularly in frost-prone regions. Int J For Res 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/837165
  11. Booth TH, Nix HA, Hutchinson MF (1987) Grid matching: a new method for homocline analysis. Agric For Meteorol 39:241–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Byrne M, Stone L (2011) The need for ‘duty of care’ when introducing new crops for sustainable agriculture. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 3:50–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Byrne M, Stone L, Millar MA (2011) Assessing genetic risk in revegetation. J Appl Ecol. doi: 10.111/j.1365-2664.2011.02045.x
  14. Callaham Jr MA, Stanturf JA, Hammond WJ, Rockwood DL, Wenk ES, O’Brien JJ (2013) Survey to evaluate escape of Eucalyptus spp. seedlings from plantations in Southeastern USA. Int J For Res 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/946374
  15. Castro-Diez P, Fierro-Brunnenmeister N, Gonzalez-Munoz N, Gallardo A (2010) Effects of exotic and native tree leaf litter on soil properties of two contrasting sites in the Iberian Peninsula. Plant Soil. doi: 10.1007/s11104-011-0893-9
  16. Castro-Díez P, Godoy O, Saldaña A, Richardson DM (2011) Predicting invasiveness of Australian acacias on the basis of their native climatic affinities, life history traits and human use. Divers Distrib 17:934–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cremer KW (1977) Distance of seed dispersal in eucalypts estimated from seed weights. Aust For Res 7:225–228Google Scholar
  18. Crisp MD, Burrows GE, Cook LG, Thornhill AH, Bowman DMJS (2011) Flammable biomes dominated by eucalypts originated at the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary. Nat Commun 2. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1191
  19. da Silva PHM, Poggiani F, Sebbenn AM, Mori ES (2011) Can Eucalyptus invade native forest fragments close to commercial stands? For Ecol Manage 261:2075–2080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Debano LF (2000) The role of fire and soil heating on water repellency in wildland environments: a review. J Hydrol 231–232:195–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dodet M, Collet C (2012) When should exotic forest plantation tree species be considered as an invasive threat and how should we treat them? Biol Invasions 14:1765–1778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Doughty RW (2000) The Eucalyptus. A natural and commercial history of the gum tree. The Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  23. Dutkowski GW, Potts BM (1999) Geographic patterns of genetic variation in Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus and a revised racial classification. Aust J Bot 47:237–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Essl F, Moser D, Dullinger S, Mang T, Hulme PE (2010) Selection for commercial forestry determines global patterns of alien conifer invasions. Divers Distrib 16:911–921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. FAO (2010) Global forest resource assessment. Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  26. Fernandes PM, Loureiro C, Palheiro P, Vale-Gonçalves H, Fernandes MM, Cruz MG (2011) Fuels and fire hazard in blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) stands in Portugal. Boletín del CIDEU 10:53–61Google Scholar
  27. Forrester DI, Medhurst JL, Wood M, Beadle CL, Valencia JC (2010) Growth and physiological responses to silviculture for producing solid-wood products from Eucalyptus plantations: an Australian perspective. For Ecol Manage 259:1819–1835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Forsyth GG, Richardson DM, Brown PJ, van Wilgen BW (2004) A rapid assessment of the invasive status of Eucalyptus species in two South African provinces. S Afr J Sci 100:75–77Google Scholar
  29. Gavran M, Parsons M (2011) Australian plantation statistics 2011. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  30. Gibson MR, Richardson DM, Marchante E, Marchante H, Rodger JG, Stone GN, Byrne M, Fuentes-Ramírez A, George N, Harris C, Johnson SD, Roux JJL, Miller JT, Murphy DJ, Pauw A, Prescott MN, Wandrag EM, Wilson JRU (2011) Reproductive biology of Australian acacias: important mediator of invasiveness? Divers Distrib 17:911–933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gilmour AR, Gogel BJ, Cullis BR, Thompson R (2006) ASReml user guide release 2.0. VSN International Ltd., Hemel HempsteadGoogle Scholar
  32. Gordon DR, Flory SL, Cooper AL, Morris SK (2012) Assessing the invasion risk of Eucalyptus in the United States using the Australian weed risk assessment. Int J For Res 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/203768
  33. Granged AJP, Jordán A, Zavala LM, Muñoz-Rojas M, Mataix-Solera J (2011) Short-term effects of experimental fire for a soil under eucalyptus forest (SE Australia). Geoderma 167–168:125–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Greaves BL, Borralho NMG, Raymond CA (2003) Early selection in eucalypt breeding in Australia—optimum selection age to minimise the total cost of kraft pulp production. New For 25:201–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jones TH, Steane DA, Jones RC, Pilbeam D, Vaillancourt RE, Potts BM (2006) Effects of domestication on genetic diversity in Eucalyptus globulus. For Ecol Manage 234:78–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jordan G, Potts BM, Wiltshire R (1999) Strong, independent quantitative genetic control of vegetative phase change and first flowering in Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus. Heredity 83:179–187PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kirkpatrick JB (1977) Eucalypt invasion in Southern California. Aust Geogr 13:387–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Komsta L, Komsta ML (2011) Package ‘outliers’: R Package Version 0.14, 2011.
  39. Laikre L, Schwartz MK, Waples RS, Ryman N (2010) Compromising genetic diversity in the wild: unmonitored large-scale release of plants and animals. Trends Ecol Evol 25:520–529PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lazarides M, Cowley K, Hohnen P (1997) CSIRO handbook of Australian weeds. CSIRO Publishing, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  41. Ledgard N (2001) The spread of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta, Dougl.) in New Zealand. For Ecol Manage 141:43–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Marchante E, Freitas H, Marchante H (2009) Guia prático para a identificação de plantas invasoras de Portugal continental. Imprensa da Univ. de Coimbra, CoimbraGoogle Scholar
  43. McGowen MH, Potts BM, Vaillancourt RE, Gore P, Williams DR, Pilbeam DJ (2004) The genetic control of sexual reproduction in Eucalyptus globulus. In: Borralho NMG, Pereira JS, Marques C, Coutinho J, Madeira M, Tomé M (eds) Eucalyptus in a changing world. RAIZ, Instituto Investigação de Floresta e Papel, Aveiro, pp 104–108Google Scholar
  44. Nuñez MA, Medley KA (2011) Pine invasions: climate predicts invasion success; something else predicts failure. Divers Distrib 17:703–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pettit NE, Froend RH (2001) Availability of seed for recruitment of riparian vegetation: a comparison of a tropical and a temperate river ecosystem in Australia. Aust J Bot 49:515–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Potts BM, Barbour RC, Hingston A, Vaillancourt RE (2003) Turner review no. 6: genetic pollution of native eucalypt gene pools—identifying the risks. Aust J Bot 51:1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Potts BM, Vaillancourt RE, Jordan G, Dutkowski GW, Costa e Silva J, McKinnon G, Steane D, Volker P, Lopez GA, Apiolaza LA, Li Y, Marques C, Borralho NMG (2004) Exploration of the Eucalyptus globulus gene pool. IUFRO Conference “Eucalyptus in a changing world”. Aveiro, Portugal, 11–15 Oct 2004Google Scholar
  48. Procheş S, Wilson JRU, Richardson DM, Rejmánek M (2012) Native and naturalized range size in Pinus: relative importance of biogeography, introduction effort and species traits. Global Ecol Biogeogr 21:513–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pysek P, Jarosík V (2005) Residence time determines the distribution of alien plants. In: Inderjit (ed) Invasive plants: ecological and agricultural aspects. Birkhäuser, Verlag, Basel, pp 77–96Google Scholar
  50. Pysek P, Křivánek M, Jarošik V (2009) Planting intensity, residence time, and species traits determine invasion success of alien woody species. Ecology 90:2734–2744PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rejmánek M, Richardson D (2011) Eucalypts. Encyclopaedia of biological invasions University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 203–209Google Scholar
  52. Richardson DM (1998) Forestry trees as invasive aliens. Conserv Biol 12:18–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Richardson DM, Brown PJ (1986) Invasion of mesic mountain fynbos by Pinus radiata. S Afr J Bot 52:529–536Google Scholar
  54. Richardson DM, Higgins SI (2000) Pines as invaders in the southern hemisphere. In: Richardson DM (ed) Ecology and biogeography of Pinus. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 450–473Google Scholar
  55. Richardson DM, Rejmánek M (2011) Trees and shrubs as invasive alien species—a global review. Divers Distrib 17:788–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Richardson DM, Thuiller W (2007) Home away from home—objective mapping of high-risk source areas for plant introductions. Divers Distrib 13:299–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Richardson DM, Williams PA, Hobbs RJ (1994) Pine invasions in the Southern Hemisphere: determinants of spread and invadability. J Biogeogr 21:511–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Richardson DM, Pyšek P, Rejmánek M, Barbour MG, Panetta FD, West CJ (2000) Naturalization and invasion of alien plants: concepts and definitions. Divers Distrib 6:93–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ritter M, Yost J (2009) Diversity, reproduction, and potential for invasiveness of Eucalyptus in California. Madroño 56:155–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rottenborn SC (2000) Nest-site selection and reproductive success of urban Red-shouldered Hawks in central California. J Raptor Res 34:18–25Google Scholar
  61. Sarkar D (2008) Lattice: multivariate data visualization with R. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  62. Silva JS, Marchante H (2012) Post-fire management of exotic forests. Post Fire Manag Restor South Eur For Springer, New York, p 223–255Google Scholar
  63. Silva JS, Vaz P, Moreira F, Catry F, Rego FC (2011) Wildfires as a major driver of landscape dynamics in three fire-prone areas of Portugal. Landscape Urban Plann 101:349–358Google Scholar
  64. Stone LM, Byrne M (2011) Comparing the outputs of five weed risk assessment models implemented in Australia: are there consistencies across models? Plant Prot Q 26:29–35Google Scholar
  65. Sudmeyer RA, Simons JA (2008) Eucalyptus globulus agroforestry on deep sands on the southeast coast of Western Australia: the promise and the reality. Agric Ecosyst Environ 127:73–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Teague B, McLeod D, Pascoe S (2010) 2009 Victorian bushfires royal commission—final report (summary). Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne, p 42Google Scholar
  67. Theoharides KA, Dukes JS (2007) Plant invasion across space and time: factors affecting nonindigenous species success during four stages of invasion. New Phytol 176:256–273PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Varghese M, Kamalakannan R, Harwood CE, Lindgren D, McDonald MW (2009) Changes in growth performance and fecundity of Eucalyptus camaldulensis and E. tereticornis during domestication in southern India. Tree Genet Genomes 5:629–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Venables WN, Ripley BD (2002) Modern applied statistics with S. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Williams MC (2007) The ecological impacts of invasive Pinus radiata in eucalypt vegetation: pattern and process. School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, p 224Google Scholar
  71. Williams MC, Wardle GM (2005) The invasion of two native Eucalypt forests by Pinus radiata in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. Biol Conserv 125:55–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Williams DR, Potts BM, Neilsen WA, Joyce KR (2006) The effect of tree spacing on the production of flowers in Eucalyptus nitens. Aust For 69:299–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wilson JRU, Dormontt EE, Prentis PJ, Lowe AJ, Richardson DM (2009) Something in the way you move: dispersal pathways affect invasion success. Trends Ecol Evol 24:136–144PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Wilson JRU, Gairifo C, Gibson MR, Arianoutsou M, Bakar BB, Baret S, Celesti-Grapow L, Ditomaso JM, Dufour-Dror JM, Kueffer C, Kull CA, Hoffmann JH, Impson FAC, Loope LL, Marchante E, Marchante H, Moore JL, Murphy DJ, Tassin J, Witt A, Zenni RD, Richardson DM (2011) Risk assessment, eradication, and biological control: global efforts to limit Australian acacia invasions. Divers Distrib 17:1030–1046CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Xu T, Hutchinson M (2011) ANUCLIM version 6.1 user guide. The Australian National University, Fernner School of Environment and Society, Canberra, p 90Google Scholar
  76. Zeileis A, Hothorn T (2002) Diagnostic checking in regression relationships. R News 2:7–10Google Scholar
  77. Zuur AF (2010) AED: data files used in mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. In: Zuur AF, Ieno EN, Walker NJ, Saveliev AA, Smith GM (eds) Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  78. Zuur AF, Ieno EN, Smith GM, Corporation E (2007) Analysing ecological data. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  79. Zuur AF, Ieno EN, Walker NJ, Saveliev AA, Smith GM (2009) Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. Springer, VerlagCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Larcombe
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Joaquim S. Silva
    • 3
  • René E. Vaillancourt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brad M. Potts
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Plant ScienceUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.National Centre for Future Forest IndustriesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Applied EcologyTechnical University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations