Native Forest Regeneration in Pine and Eucalypt Plantations in Northern Province, South Africa

Native Forest Regeneration in Pine and Eucalypt Plantations in Northern Province, South Africa


This study assesses understory colonization by indigenous plant species in exotic tree plantations established on grasslands growing adjacent to native mixed evergreen forest in Northern Province, South Africa.

Research Goals & Methods

In each plantation stand 4 plots were sampled in the pine stands, 2 plots each in the two small Eucalyptus saligna stands and 1 plot in the Acacia mearnsii to test the effect of age of age of the stand on development in the understorey, the species in the canopy on the composition of the understory.

Conclusions & Takeaways

The results suggest that site condition more than age of a stand within Pinus patula or canopy species of older stands affected the composition of the woody understorey. A total of 62 tree species were recorded from the sample plots, which represent the major growth forms in the surrounding forest. 4 canopy tree species occurred with a frequency of 30% and more, Rapanea melanophloeos (the most widespread tree species), Croton sylvaticus, Combretum kraussii, and Xymalos monosporaThe authors conclude that although the results are not clear on factors controlling establishment in the understory by native forest flora, the results demonstrate a useful successional process that could be encouraged to achieve specific objectives at relatively low cost. They recommend that to facilitate exotic tree species plantations restoration to native forest biodiversity, there is the need to manipulate the stands by controlling understory weeds and assisted plantings of native tree species.


Geldenhuys CJ. Native forest regeneration in pine and eucalypt plantations in Northern Province, South Africa. Forest Ecology and Management. 1997;99:101–115. doi:10.1016/s0378-1127(97)00197-7.


  • Environment and Forestry Technology, Division of Water, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa