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22 April 2014

Eucalyptus robusta (swamp mahogany)

Datasheet Types: Crop, Tree, Invasive species, Host plant

Abstract

This datasheet on Eucalyptus robusta covers Identity, Overview, Associated Diseases, Pests or Pathogens, Distribution, Dispersal, Biology & Ecology, Environmental Requirements, Natural Enemies, Impacts, Uses, Management, Genetics and Breeding, Economics, Further Information.

Identity

Preferred Scientific Name
Eucalyptus robusta Sm.
Preferred Common Name
swamp mahogany
Other Scientific Names
Eucalyptus multiflora Poir
Eucalyptus robusta var. bivalvis Blakely
Eucalyptus robusta var. rostrata (Cav.) Pers.
Eucalyptus robustus
Eucalyptus rostrata Cav.
International Common Names
English
robust eucalyptus
swamp stringybark
white mahogany
Spanish
alcanfor
caoba de alcanfor
caoba de pantano
eucalipto
eucalipto de alcanfor
French
eucalyptus robuste
Local Common Names
Australia
swamp messmate
Brazil
eucalipto
eucalipto-do-brejo
Cuba
caoba de los pantanos
Italy
eucalipto robusto
USA/Hawaii
robusta
EPPO code
EUCRO (Eucalyptus robusta)
Trade name
swamp mahogany

Pictures

Natural stand of E. robusta.
Natural stand
Natural stand of E. robusta.
David Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
Roadside planting
Stephen Midgley/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
Bark
David Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
1. tree habit2. flowering twig3. flower bud4. infructescence
Line artwork
1. tree habit2. flowering twig3. flower bud4. infructescence
PROSEA Foundation

Overview

Importance

E. robusta is a medium to large tree and is capable of rapid early growth in suitable environments. This species has a broad environmental amplitude, and is planted widely outside of Australia in equatorial to cool temperate regions. E. robusta is best known as a plantation species in the Madagascar highlands, but also in the USA (Hawaii, Florida, California) and Central America (Puerto Rico). E. robusta may tolerate adverse conditions and is especially useful on sites subject to prolonged flooding. It is moderately salt-tolerant. This species is often used as a shade tree, an ornamental, in shelter belts and in water catchment rehabilitation. The wood of E. robusta is a good fuel and is commonly used for charcoal production. It is durable and is used in the round for posts and poles. Sawn timber can be used for general construction but requires kiln-seasoning to avoid degradation during drying. It is possible to use E. robusta as a source of pulpwood for paper making but other eucalypts are usually preferred.

Summary of Invasiveness

E. robusta is one of the Eucalyptus species most widely planted around the world. It is often used as a timber tree, shade tree, ornamental tree, in shelter belts as a windbreak tree and in water catchment rehabilitation. Because this species has a large number of economically important uses, it has been actively introduced in tropical and subtropical countries since the 1890s, resulting in the establishment of large Eucalyptus plantations. These monospecific plantations have resulted in the conversion of open ecosystems into forest ecosystems and in the loss of native biodiversity by shading, soil exposure and erosion, allelopathic activity and important modifications in water infiltration and nutrient regimes (Sax, 2002; Orwa et al., 2009; I3N-Brazil, 2014). Currently E. robusta is listed as invasive in Brazil, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and islands in the Pacific Ocean (see distribution table for details). 

Taxonomic Tree

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Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

There are presently 789 recognized species of eucalypt, together with a further 123 subspecies or varieties, giving a total of 912 eucalypt taxa (Wilcox, 1997). Only five species occur exclusively outside of Australia.

E. robusta belongs broadly to the eastern blue gums, subseries Saligninae, series Salignae, section Transversaria, subgenus Symphyomyrtus of the informal classification of Pryor and Johnson (1971). The only other consistently rough-barked species in this group is E. botryoides, which prefers similar coastal but less wet habitats (Boland et al., 1984). E. robusta is also close to E. pellita and E. resinifera, particularly in the bark characters, but the distribution of the latter two species is more widespread, occurring at higher altitude and well-drained sites. E. robusta is readily distinguished from its close relatives through characteristics of the bark, adult leaves, floral buds and fruits. The fruits have valves that are usually joined across the orifice, in comparison other species which have free valves.

Griffin et al. (1988) list several examples of natural and manipulated hybrids involving E. robusta. It often hybridises with forest red gum (E. tereticornis), the resulting plants having been given the name E. patentinervis.
The common name of swamp mahogany comes from its preferred habitat of swamps, and its timber's likeness to that of West Indies mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni).

Plant Type

Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree

Description

General

E. robusta is a medium to large tree with a dense crown and long, spreading branches when grown in open ground. It regularly attains heights of 20-30 m, with a d.b.h. of up to 1 m (Boland et al., 1984). The trunk is usually straight and extends to about one half the height of the tree, or to two thirds of the tree height in dense stands on favourable sites. The bark is rough and persistent to the small branches, thick, held in coarse, soft, spongy, elongated slabs with deep longitudinal furrows, grey or reddish grey-brown (Brooker and Kleinig, 1994). Trees growing on wet sites in open stands often form both small buttresses and aerial roots in major branch crotches (Keating and Bolza, 1982). Trunks may become encased by aerial roots, some reaching 20 cm in diameter, under wet tropical conditions such as those that prevail in parts of Hawaii (Jacobs, 1981; Durst, 1988).

Botanical descriptions of this species are available (Brooker and Kleinig, 1983; 1994; Chippendale, 1988; Hill, 1991). More general accounts including illustrations are provided by Boland et al. (1984), and Holliday and Watton (1989).

Foliage

The juvenile leaves are petiolate, ovate, up to 19 × 8 cm, strongly discolorous, green, opposite for several pairs, then alternate. Adult leaves are petiolate, leathery, discolorous, glossy and dark green above, pale green below, broad-lanceolate, up to 17 × 4.5 cm.

Inflorescences, flowers and fruits

The inflorescence is axillary, 9-15 flowered, the peduncles are strongly flattened, up to 3 cm in length; buds with prominent stalks (pedicels) to 0.9 cm in length, rarely sessile, to 2.4 × 0.8 cm, scar present, operculum long, beaked; flowers white. The fruit is a woody capsule, with prominent stalk, cylindrical, 1.8 × 1.1 cm; valves 3 or 4, usually joined across the orifice, to rim level or slightly exserted. Seed brown.
Botanical Features

General

E. robusta is a medium to large tree with a dense crown and long, spreading branches when open grown. It regularly attains heights of 20-30 m, with a d.b.h. of up to 1 m (Boland et al., 1984). The trunk is usually straight and extends to about one half the height of the tree, or to two thirds of the tree height in dense stands on favourable sites. The bark is rough and persistent to the small branches, thick, held in coarse, soft, spongy, elongated slabs with deep longitudinal furrows, grey or reddish grey-brown (Brooker and Kleinig, 1994). Trees growing on wet sites in open stands often form both small buttresses and aerial roots in major branch crotches (Keating and Bolza, 1982). Trunks may become encased by aerial roots, some reaching 20 cm in diameter, under wet tropical conditions such as those that prevail in parts of Hawaii (Jacobs, 1981; Durst, 1988).Botanical descriptions of this species are available (Brooker and Kleinig, 1983; 1994; Chippendale, 1988; Hill, 1991). More general accounts including illustrations are provided by Boland et al. (1984), and Holliday and Watton (1989).

Foliage

The juvenile leaves are petiolate, ovate, up to 19 × 8 cm, strongly discolorous, green, opposite for several pairs, then alternate. Adult leaves are petiolate, leathery, discolorous, glossy and dark green above, pale green below, broad-lanceolate, up to 17 × 4.5 cm.

Inflorescences, flowers and fruits

The inflorescence is axillary, 9-15 flowered, the peduncles are strongly flattened, up to 3 cm in length; buds with prominent stalks (pedicels) to 0.9 cm in length, rarely sessile, to 2.4 × 0.8 cm, scar present, operculum long, beaked; flowers white. The fruit is a woody capsule, with prominent stalk, cylindrical, 1.8 × 1.1 cm; valves 3 or 4, usually joined across the orifice, to rim level or slightly exserted. Seed brown.

Phenology

Similar to other eucalypts, this species does not develop resting buds and grows whenever conditions are favourable (Jacobs, 1955). It has been reported to flower after 2 years in Kenya (Jacobs, 1981), and after 5 years in California (King and Krugman, 1980). The flowering period is May-July in Australia (Brooker and Kleinig, 1994), September-November in Florida (Geary et al., 1983), January-March in California (King and Krugman, 1980), or at any time of the year in tropical areas such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico (Little and Wadsworth, 1964).In Australia mature seed may be collected during the summer months from December-February (Boland et al., 1980).

Distribution

E. robusta occurs naturally in Australia, within a narrow coastal strip from southern New South Wales (near Nowra) to coastal south-eastern Queensland (north-west of Bundaberg). It also grows on the offshore islands of North Stradbroke, Moreton and Fraser in south-east Queensland. A disjunct population occurs just north of Yeppoon in coastal, central Queensland.

E. robusta is one of the most widely planted Eucalyptus species, and it has been introduced into many tropical, subtropical, and warm-temperate areas, including many countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, America and the West Indies (see distribution table for details). 

Review of Natural Distribution

E. robusta occurs naturally in Australia, within a narrow coastal strip from southern New South Wales (near Nowra) to coastal south-eastern Queensland (north-west of Bundaberg). It is also grows on the offshore islands of North Stradbroke, Moreton and Fraser in south-east Queensland. A disjunct population occurs just north of Yeppoon in coastal, central Queensland. Vegetation TypesE. robusta occurs mainly in open-forest, where it is restricted to swamps, edges of saltwater estuaries and lagoons, or rarely on the lower slopes of valleys (Fenton et al., 1977; Boland et al., 1984). This species forms pure stands or may be associated with other eucalypts such as E. resinifera, E. gummifera (syn. Corymbia gummifera), E. intermedia (syn. Corymbia intermedia) and sometimes E. tereticornis. Other trees found growing with E. robusta include various species of Melaleuca and Casuarina glauca. These tend to replace E. robusta on sites with very high water tables.

Location of Introductions

E. robusta is a very adaptable species, and has been established successfully over a remarkable range of environments from equatorial regions to an approximate latitude 35ºS (Penfold and Willis, 1961; Streets, 1962; Pryor, 1976; Fenton et al., 1977; Poynton, 1979; Jacobs, 1981; Turnbull and Pryor, 1984; Durst, 1988). Pryor (1976) lists E. robusta as one of the eucalypt species most commonly planted outside Australia. Significant areas of E. robusta are planted in Madagascar, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Hawaii (Jacobs, 1981).

Distribution Map

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Distribution Table

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History of Introduction and Spread

E. robusta is a very adaptable species, and has been established successfully over a remarkable range of environments from equatorial regions to an approximate latitude 35ºS (Penfold and Willis, 1961; Streets, 1962; Pryor, 1976; Fenton et al., 1977; Poynton, 1979; Jacobs, 1981; Turnbull and Pryor, 1984; Durst, 1988). Pryor (1976) lists E. robusta as one of the eucalypt species most commonly planted outside Australia. Since 1890, significant areas of E. robusta have been planted in Madagascar, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Hawaii (Jacobs, 1981). By the 1990s, about 1.8 million ha of Eucalyptus species were planted in Africa, and in Madagascar about 151,000 ha of E. robusta were established (PROTA, 2014).
This species was also introduced to Florida around 1880, Hawaii around 1885, and Puerto Rico around 1915. Between 1930 and 1960 about 2.3 million trees were planted in Hawaii and by 1960 more than 4650 ha (11,500 acres) of plantations were established in Hawaii (Little and Skolmen, 2003). In 1995 it was estimated that Eucalyptus plantations amounted about 14.6 million ha worldwide (PROTA, 2014). 

Risk of Introduction

The risk of introduction of E. robusta is moderate to high. It is one of the most widely cultivated Eucalyptus species in tropical and subtropical countries, mainly for timber and pulpwood production. Seeds can be easily dispersed by wind and secondarily by water and human activities (Orwa et al., 2009). Therefore, the probability of this species colonizing new habitats or being intentionally introduced into new habitats remains high. 

Means of Movement and Dispersal

E. robusta spreads by seeds. Seed dispersal is largely by wind and may begin within 6 weeks after the capsule ripens. Seeds can be secondarily dispersed by water and human activities (Orwa et al., 2009).  

Pathway Causes

Pathway Vectors

Pathway vectorNotesLong distanceLocalReferences
Soil, sand and gravel (pathway vector)Seed Yes
Water (pathway vector)Seed Yes
Wind (pathway vector)Seeds wind-dispersed Yes

Habitat

E. robusta occurs mainly in open-forest, where it is restricted to swamps, edges of saltwater estuaries and lagoons, or rarely on the lower slopes of valleys (Fenton et al., 1977; Boland et al., 1984). It is highly tolerant to seasonal waterlogging. Soils are typically heavy clays, but also light sandy clays (Marcar et al., 1995). On the offshore islands of south-east Queensland, such as Fraser Island, it is found on almost pure sands (Boland et al., 1984).

Habitat List

CategorySub categoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial    
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchardsPrincipal habitatNatural
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchardsPrincipal habitatProductive/non-natural
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areasPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areasPresent, no further detailsNatural
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areasPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedRail / roadsidesPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedRail / roadsidesPresent, no further detailsNatural
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedRail / roadsidesPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedUrban / peri-urban areasPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedUrban / peri-urban areasPresent, no further detailsNatural
TerrestrialTerrestrial – ManagedUrban / peri-urban areasPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forestsPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forestsPresent, no further detailsNatural
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forestsPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanksPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanksPresent, no further detailsNatural
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanksPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalWetlandsPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalWetlandsPresent, no further detailsNatural
TerrestrialTerrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalWetlandsPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural
Littoral Coastal areasPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
Littoral Coastal areasPresent, no further detailsNatural
Littoral Coastal areasPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural
Littoral Coastal dunesPresent, no further detailsHarmful (pest or invasive)
Littoral Coastal dunesPresent, no further detailsNatural
Littoral Coastal dunesPresent, no further detailsProductive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

Genetics

In southern Florida, E. robusta was a major component of a genetic improvement program for pulpwood production which began in the 1960s (Geary et al., 1983). After two cycles of improvement involving mass selection in the first cycle, and between-family plus within-family selection in the second cycle, E. robusta demonstrated sizeable gains for height (27%), diameter (33%), volume (63%), cold hardiness (19%), branch size and angle (14%) and stem straightness (9%) (Dvorak, 1981; Dvorak et al., 1981). In Hawaii, Aradhya and Phillips (1993) studied the variation within the local land race of E. robusta using allozyme analysis. They concluded that the high levels of polymorphism and heterozygosity observed were an indication that the local land race represents a suitable base for further genetic improvement of the species.

The Florida program has produced and assessed the potential of E. grandis × E. robusta hybrids. Field trials indicate that this hybrid significantly outperforms both parent species in height, volume, cold tolerance, and coppicing ability, but the hybrids tend to be slightly less straight than E. grandis. However, hybrid breakdown (e.g. double recessive, or other unwanted phenotypes) occurs rapidly in generations after the F1 stage (Geary et al., 1983).

Reproductive Biology
Eucalyptus species have hermaphrodite, protandrous flowers and are primarily pollinated by insects and birds (Griffin, 1989). They reproduce by a mixed mating system, with both outcrossing and selfing occurring (Moran, 1992).

Physiology and Phenology

E. robusta is a medium to large tree and is capable of rapid early growth in suitable environments. Similar to other eucalypts, E. robusta does not develop resting buds and grows whenever conditions are favourable (Jacobs, 1955). It has been reported to flower after 2 years in Kenya (Jacobs, 1981), and after 5 years in California (King and Krugman, 1980). The flowering period is May-July in Australia (Brooker and Kleinig, 1994), September-November in Florida (Geary et al., 1983), January-March in California (King and Krugman, 1980) or at any time of the year in tropical areas such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico (Little and Wadsworth, 1964). In Australia mature seed may be collected during the summer months from December-February (Boland et al., 1980).

Associations
E. robusta forms pure stands or may be associated with other eucalypts such as E. resinifera, E. gummifera (syn. Corymbia gummifera), E. intermedia (syn. Corymbia intermedia) and sometimes E. tereticornis. Other trees found growing with E. robusta include various species of Melaleuca and Casuarina glauca. These tend to replace E. robusta on sites with very high water tables.

Environmental Requirements

This species has a broad environmental amplitude, and is planted widely outside of Australia in equatorial to cool temperate regions. E. robusta is best known as a plantation species in the Madagascar highlands, but also in the USA (Hawaii, Florida, California) and Central America (Puerto Rico). E. robusta may tolerate adverse conditions and is especially useful on sites subject to prolonged flooding. It is moderately salt-tolerant.

Latitude

Between 23º N and 35º S

Vegetation types

Coastal plant communities
Sclerophyllous forests
Swamps

Altitude

0 - 1600 m

Climate

E. rotunda occurs naturally in the warm humid climate zone, ranging from regions with rare winter frosts and a summer maximum, to a uniform distribution of rainfall throughout the year (Boland et al., 1984). It grows well on sites in the moist tropics up to an elevation of 1600 m, and with a mean annual temperature of about 23°C. It inhabits areas with a rainfall in excess of 1500 mm, which is distributed fairly uniformly throughout the year. However, this species has a wide ranging physiological adaptability, and may establish successfully on sites of much lower rainfall (min. value 700 mm). Mature trees of E. robusta are remarkably tolerant of frost, especially given that frosts are uncommon in the species' natural range. For example, six-year-old trees near San Francisco, USA, survived temperatures as low as -9°C and showed signs of only temporary damage to foliage (King and Krugman, 1980). Durst (1988) gives the lower limit of tolerance as -11°C. However, seedlings are unable to tolerate frost, and hard frosts are harmful to young saplings less than 2 m tall.

Climate

E. robusta occurs naturally in the warm humid climate zone, ranging from regions with a with rare winter frosts and a summer maximum, to a uniform distribution of rainfall throughout the year (Boland et al., 1984). A bioclimatic analysis of the natural distribution of the species is given by Booth et al. (1988), and revised climatic profiles after inclusion of data from successful trials are also available (Webb et al., 1984; Booth et al., 1988; Marcar et al., 1995).E. robusta grows well on sites in the moist tropics up to an elevation of 1600 m, and with a mean annual temperature of about 23°C. It inhabits areas with a rainfall in excess of 1500 mm, which is distributed fairly uniformly throughout the year. However, this species has a wide ranging physiological adaptability, and may establish successfully on sites of much lower rainfall (min. value 700 mm). Mature trees of E. robusta are remarkably tolerant of frost, especially given that frosts are uncommon in the species' natural range. For example, six-year-old trees near San Francisco USA survived temperatures as low as -9°C and showed signs of only temporary damage to foliage (King and Krugman, 1980). Durst (1988) gives the lower limit of tolerance as -11°C. However, seedlings are unable to tolerate frost, and hard frosts are harmful to young saplings less than 2 m tall.

Soil and Physiography

E. robusta is highly tolerant to seasonal waterlogging. It occurs mainly on margins of swamps, and on the fringes of salt water estuaries or lagoons. Soils are typically heavy clays, but also light sandy clays (Marcar et al., 1995). On the offshore islands of south-east Queensland, such as Fraser Island, it is found on almost pure sands (Boland et al., 1984).

Vegetation Types

coastal plant communities
sclerophyllous forests
swamps

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude lower (m)Altitude upper (m)
-23-3501600

Air Temperature

ParameterLower limit (°C)Upper limit (°C)
Absolute minimum temperature-11-9
Mean annual temperature1623
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month2232
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month09

Rainfall

ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration04number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall7006350mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Summer
Bimodal
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

Soil texture > light
Soil texture > heavy
Soil reaction > very acid
Soil reaction > acid
Soil reaction > neutral
Soil drainage > seasonally waterlogged
Special soil tolerances > saline

Soil Types

clay soils
sandy soils

Notes on Pests

Leaf spots on E. robusta in Hawaii, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Mauritius have been attributed to the fungal pathogens Harknessia hawaiiensis, H. insueta, Colletrotrichum gloeosporioides and Cylindrocladium ovatum sp. novus (see review in Fenton et al., 1977; El-Gholl et al., 1993). In Sri Lanka and India, a well known pathogen of tea Cercosporella theae causes leaf spots and sunken purple cankers on young stems of E. robusta, while in Australia leaf spots on this species have been attributed to Readeriella mirabilis (see review in Fenton et al., 1977). In the past, the fungus Cylindrocladium scoparium has caused serious seedling losses in Florida (Durst, 1988), but is now controlled by soil sterilization and sprays. In Puerto Rico, E. robusta is susceptible to gummosis and trunk rots caused by Polyporus schweinitzii and Fomes sp. (Durst, 1988). Another fungus, Botryosphaeria ribis, causes cankers on the trunk (Jacobs, 1981). Susceptibility of E. robusta to root rot has also been reported (see review in Fenton et al., 1977).In Sao Paulo, Brazil, E. robusta has been attacked by the bacterium Phytomonas tumifaciens (National Academy of Science, 1983).In Australia, E. robusta is moderately to highly susceptible to insect attack (Marcar et al., 1995). The juvenile foliage is attacked by leaf-blister sawfly (Phylacteophaga froggatti) and autumn gum moth (Mnesampela privata) while adult foliage is susceptible to lerp (Cardiaspina sp.), autumn gum moth, leaf beetle (Paropsis sp. and Chrysophtharta sp.), leafblister sawfly, gumtree hoppers (Eurymela sp. and Eurymeloides sp.), scale (Eriococcus coriaceus and E. confusus) and Christmas beetle (Anoplognathus sp.). Older trees under stress by drought, are attacked by eucalypt borers (Phoracantha sp. and Epithora dorsalis), bullseye borer (Phoracantha acanthocera, synonym Tryphocaria acanthocera) and cossid borer (Endoxyla spp.). Susceptibility of E. robusta to eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus scutellatus, has caused a cessation of planting of the species in some parts of southern Africa (Fenton et al., 1977; Poynton, 1979). Young trees are susceptible to termites (National Academy of Science, 1983).The sapwood of sawn timber is prone to attack by Lyctus borers (Boland et al., 1984). E. robusta wood is susceptible to attack by dry-wood termites in Puerto Rico (Longwood, 1961), while the heartwood of E. robusta was only slightly resistant to the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, in Hawaii (Grace et al., 1996).The leaf-eating beetle, Maecolaspis favosa, has reportedly caused serious damage to young seedlings and coppice shoots in Florida; older trees are unaffected (Geary et al., 1983). Coleoptera borers (Brazil) and cockchafers (Vietnam) are also reported pests of E. robusta (see review in Fenton et al, 1977).Trees are deformed by continuous exposure to strong winds. The limbs of open-grown trees are damaged and whole trees uprooted when exposed to violent windstorms (Jacobs, 1981). In plantations in Florida lightning strike is a major cause of death (Geary et al., 1983).In Florida a condition called "robusta break-up" is prevalent in a number of plantations. Trees that are affected start leaning and their tops break off. The cause is unknown, but is possibly a result of freeze damage or minor element deficiencies in the soil (Geary et al., 1983).

List of Pests

This content is currently unavailable.

Notes on Natural Enemies

Leaf spots on E. robusta in Hawaii, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Mauritius have been attributed to the fungal pathogens Harknessia hawaiiensis, H. insueta, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides [Glomerella cingulata] and Cylindrocladium ovatum sp. novus (see review in Fenton et al., 1977; El-Gholl et al., 1993). In Sri Lanka and India, a well-known pathogen of tea Cercosporella theae [Calonectria theae] causes leaf spots and sunken purple cankers on young stems of E. robusta, while in Australia leaf spots on this species have been attributed to Readeriella mirabilis (see review in Fenton et al., 1977). In the past, the fungus Cylindrocladium scoparium [Calonectria kyotensis] has caused serious seedling losses in Florida (Durst, 1988), but is now controlled by soil sterilization and sprays. In Puerto Rico, E. robusta is susceptible to gummosis and trunk rots caused by Polyporus schweinitzii [Phaeolus schweinitzii] and Fomes spp. (Durst, 1988). Another fungus, Botryosphaeria ribis, causes cankers on the trunk (Jacobs, 1981). Susceptibility of E. robusta to root rot has also been reported (see review in Fenton et al., 1977). In Sao Paulo, Brazil, E. robusta has been attacked by the bacterium Phytomonas tumifaciens [Rhizobium radiobacter] (National Academy of Science, 1983).

In Australia, E. robusta is moderately to highly susceptible to insect attack (Marcar et al., 1995). The juvenile foliage is attacked by leaf-blister sawfly (Phylacteophaga froggatti) and autumn gum moth (Mnesampela privata) while adult foliage is susceptible to lerp (Cardiaspina sp.), autumn gum moth, leaf beetle (Paropsis sp. and Chrysophtharta sp.), leafblister sawfly, gumtree hoppers (Eurymela sp. and Eurymeloides sp.), scale (Eriococcus coriaceus [Acanthococcus coriaceus] and E. confusus [Acanthococcus confusus]) and Christmas beetle (Anoplognathus sp.). Older trees under stress by drought are attacked by eucalypt borers (Phoracantha sp. and Epithora dorsalis), bullseye borer (Phoracantha acanthocera, synonym Tryphocaria acanthocera) and cossid borer (Endoxyla spp.). Susceptibility of E. robusta to eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus scutellatus, has caused a cessation of planting of the species in some parts of southern Africa (Fenton et al., 1977; Poynton, 1979). Young trees are susceptible to termites (National Academy of Science, 1983). The leaf-eating beetle, Maecolaspis favosa, has reportedly caused serious damage to young seedlings and coppice shoots in Florida; older trees are unaffected (Geary et al., 1983). Coleoptera borers (Brazil) and cockchafers (Vietnam) are also reported pests of E. robusta (see review in Fenton et al, 1977).

Impact Summary

CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihoodPositive and negative
Environment (generally)Positive and negative
Human healthPositive and negative

Impact: Environmental

Plantations of E. robusta have resulted in the conversion of open ecosystems into forest ecosystems. These monoculture plantations generate loss of plant diversity by shading, soil exposure, erosion, allelopathic activity and important changes in water infiltration and modifications in waterways, wetlands and swamps. Eucalyptus plantations completely outcompete native plant species by the action of allelopathic activity that inhibits the probability of germination and establishment of native plant species. Eucalyptus plantations have often replaced oak woodlands in regions such as California, Spain and Portugal. The resulting monocultures have raised concerns about loss of animal biological diversity, through loss of acorns that mammals and birds feed on, absence of hollows that in oak trees provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals and for bee colonies, as well as lack of downed trees in managed plantations (Sax, 2002; Orwa et al., 2009; I3N-Brazil, 2014). 

Threatened Species

Threatened speciesWhere threatenedMechanismsReferencesNotes
Platydesma rostrata
Hawaii
Competition - monopolizing resources
 
Pritchardia hardyi (Makaleha pritchardia)
Hawaii
Competition - monopolizing resources
 
Santalum haleakalae var. lanaiense (Lanai sandalwood)
Hawaii
Competition (unspecified)
 
Stenogyne purpurea (purplefruit stenogyne)
Hawaii
Competition - monopolizing resources
 

Risk and Impact Factors

Invasiveness

Proved invasive outside its native range
Highly adaptable to different environments
Is a habitat generalist
Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
Pioneering in disturbed areas
Highly mobile locally
Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
Long lived
Fast growing
Has high reproductive potential

Impact outcomes

Altered trophic level
Damaged ecosystem services
Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
Modification of fire regime
Modification of hydrology
Modification of nutrient regime
Modification of successional patterns
Reduced native biodiversity
Soil accretion
Threat to/ loss of endangered species
Threat to/ loss of native species

Impact mechanisms

Allelopathic
Competition - monopolizing resources
Competition - shading
Competition - smothering
Competition (unspecified)
Pest and disease transmission
Filtration
Hybridization
Rapid growth

Uses

Wood Uses

An extensive review of the properties of the wood of E. robusta, and its utilization in several countries is provided by Fenton et al. (1977).

In summary, E. robusta provides a moderately durable hardwood with an air-dry density of 805-900 kg/m³ for wood from natural stands in Australia and 725-800 kg/m³ for plantation timber in Hawaii (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The heartwood is pale red when freshly cut, but turning orange-red or red-brown with age. The sapwood is pale brown, 40 mm wide and susceptible to attack by lyctid borers (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The logs are prone to sap-stain and pinhole borer attack, yet are moderately resistant to termite attack (Keating and Bolza, 1982; Webb et al., 1984). The heartwood is moderately durable, i.e. having an approximate life in the ground of 8-25 years. It may split and distort during seasoning and is not stable in fluctuating atmospheric conditions. This can be avoided if the timber is air-dried to less than 30% moisture content before kiln-seasoning (Keating and Bolza, 1982). It is not favoured for general building purposes because of degradation during drying (Bootle, 1983), or for steam-bending (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The wood is resistant to marine borers and can be treated with preservatives (Durst, 1988).

In Australia, it is used in general construction and for underground pilings, utility poles and fence posts. In Hawaii, the wood has been used mainly for pallets and furniture. However, the high humidity causes shrinkage and expansion which makes it unsuitable for furniture construction in most areas (Skolmen 1971, 1974). The wood of E. robusta forms excellent stakes used in irrigation systems, and for conveyor-belt slats used in the sugar industry. Truck beds, weather-boards for houses, flooring, interior trim and panelling are made from E. robusta (Skolmen, 1974; Durst, 1988).

In the USA, E. robusta is used to produce rotary cut construction grade veneer. Pulpwood is the major use of E. robusta in Florida (Durst, 1988). Pulping properties of the wood are given by Fenton et al. (1977).

E. robusta is commonly used for fuelwood in many parts of the world. This is the case in Madagascar, where extensive plantations of this species provide fuel, charcoal, transmission poles, construction timber, bridging material and flooring (Bertrand, 1992). Studies of its use in plantations as a potential source of woody biomass to generate electricity have also been conducted (King and Krugman, 1980; Schubert and Whitesell, 1985).

Non-Wood Uses

Bees foraging on the nectar of E. robusta flowers produce dark amber, highly aromatic honey of acceptable flavour (Clemson, 1985). The species is used for honey production in many areas where it is planted (Little, 1983; Carlowitz, 1986).

Land Uses

E. robusta has a dense, deep crown of dark green leaves and seasonally abundant creamy white flowers, and is suitable for shade, shelter and as an ornamental tree (Poynton, 1979; Hillis and Brown, 1984; Webb et al., 1984). This species has been planted extensively for these purposes in the USA (Hawaii, Florida and California), throughout the Caribbean and in several African countries. The tendency of older trees to shed large limbs in strong winds makes it an undesirable selection for areas affected by typhoons (Jacobs, 1981). It has been used for watershed protection, mine site reclamation and dune stabilization (Carlowitz, 1986; Langkamp, 1987; Durst, 1988).

Uses: Wood Uses

An extensive review of the properties of the wood of E. robusta, and its utilization in several countries is provided by Fenton et al. (1977).In summary, E. robusta provides a moderately durable hardwood with an air-dry density of 805-900 kg/m³ for wood from natural stands in Australia and 725-800 kg/m³ for plantation timber in Hawaii (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The heartwood is pale red when freshly cut, but turning orange-red or red-brown with age. The sapwood is pale brown, 40 mm wide and susceptible to attack by lyctid borers (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The logs are prone to sap-stain and pinhole borer attack, yet are moderately resistant to termite attack (Keating and Bolza, 1982; Webb et al., 1984). The heartwood is moderately durable, i.e. having an approximate life in the ground of 8-25 years. It may split and distort during seasoning and is not stable in fluctuating atmospheric conditions. This can be avoided if the timber is air-dried to less than 30% moisture content before kiln-seasoning (Keating and Bolza, 1982). It is not favoured for general building purposes because of degradation during drying (Bootle, 1983), or for steam-bending (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The wood is resistant to marine borers and can be treated with preservatives (Durst, 1988).In Australia, it is used in general construction and for underground pilings, utility poles and fence posts. In Hawaii, the wood has been used mainly for pallets and furniture. However, the high humidity causes shrinkage and expansion which makes it unsuitable for furniture construction in most areas (Skolmen 1971, 1974). The wood of E. robusta forms excellent stakes used in irrigation systems, and for conveyor-belt slats used in the sugar industry. Truck beds, weather-boards for houses, flooring, interior trim and panelling are made from E. robusta (Skolmen, 1974; Durst, 1988).In USA, E. robusta is used to produce rotary cut construction grade veneer. Pulpwood is the major use of E. robusta in Florida (Durst, 1988). Pulping properties of the wood are given by Fenton et al. (1977).E. robusta is commonly used for fuelwood in many parts of the world. This is the case in Madagascar where extensive plantations of this species provide fuel, charcoal, transmission poles, construction timber, bridging material and flooring (Bertrand, 1992). Studies of its use in plantations as a potential source of woody biomass to generate electricity have also been conducted (King and Krugman, 1980; Schubert and Whitesell, 1985).

Uses: Non-Wood Uses

Bees foraging on the nectar of E. robusta flowers produce a dark amber, highly aromatic honey of acceptable flavour (Clemson, 1985). The species is used for honey production in many areas where it is planted (Little, 1983; Carlowitz, 1986).

Uses: Land Uses

E. robusta has a dense, deep crown of dark green leaves and seasonally abundant creamy white flowers, and is suitable for shade, shelter and as an ornamental tree (Poynton, 1979; Hillis and Brown, 1984; Webb et al., 1984). This species has been planted extensively for these purposes in the USA (Hawaii, Florida and California), throughout the Caribbean and in several African countries. The tendency of older trees to shed large limbs in strong winds makes it an undesirable selection for areas affected by typhoons (Jacobs, 1981). It has been used for watershed protection, mine site reclamation and dune stabilization (Carlowitz, 1986; Langkamp, 1987; Durst, 1988).

Uses List

General > Ornamental
Environmental > Boundary, barrier or support
Environmental > Erosion control or dune stabilization
Environmental > Shade and shelter
Environmental > Windbreak
Materials > Carved material
Materials > Fibre
Materials > Miscellaneous materials
Materials > Wood/timber
Fuels > Charcoal
Fuels > Fuelwood
Human food and beverage > Honey/honey flora

Wood Products

Boats
Charcoal
Containers > Boxes
Containers > Crates
Containers > Pallets
Furniture
Pulp > Short-fibre pulp
Railway sleepers
Roundwood > Building poles
Roundwood > Piles
Roundwood > Pit props
Roundwood > Posts
Roundwood > Stakes
Roundwood > Transmission poles
Sawn or hewn building timbers > Bridges
Sawn or hewn building timbers > Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
Sawn or hewn building timbers > Engineering structures
Sawn or hewn building timbers > Exterior fittings
Sawn or hewn building timbers > Fences
Sawn or hewn building timbers > Flooring
Sawn or hewn building timbers > For heavy construction
Sawn or hewn building timbers > For light construction
Sawn or hewn building timbers > Wall panelling
Vehicle bodies
Veneers
Wood-based materials > Fibreboard
Wood-based materials > Plywood
Woodware > Musical instruments
Woodware > Turnery

Silviculture Characteristics

E. robusta is a moderately fast growing tree with reasonable form and excellent coppicing ability. It grows well on a wide range of soil types in the presence of adequate moisture, including degraded and exposed lateritic soils in the tropics. It is sensitive to frosts when young. This species recovers well after fire, is highly tolerant to waterlogging (Marcar, 1993), and will withstand severe coastal exposure (Marcar et al., 1995). These characteristics facilitate its use in afforestation of coastal swamps and sand dunes. However, older trees may be severely damaged in high winds and may shed large limbs (Durst, 1988). E. robusta is slightly to moderately salt-tolerant; expect reduced growth at an electrical conductivity of ca 5 dS/m, and reduced survival at ca 10 dS/m (Dunn et al., 1994; Marcar et al., 1995).

Silviculture Characteristics

Tolerates > drought
Tolerates > fire
Tolerates > waterlogging
Tolerates > frost
Tolerates > salt wind
Ability to > coppice

Silviculture Practice

There are many general texts available on plantation silviculture (Shepherd, 1986; Zobel et al., 1987; Evans, 1982), and some texts specific to eucalypts with more information (Poynton, 1979; Jacobs, 1981).Seed is the main means of propagating E. robusta. There is an average of 452,000 viable seed per kilogram of seed and chaff mix (Turnbull and Doran, 1987). Seedlots may be cleaned to a high level of purity by sieving. In order to separate the seed from the chaff a 12.6 /cm² mesh is required (Boland et al., 1980). Viability of seed stored dry (5-8% moisture content) in air-tight containers in the refrigerator (3-5°C) will be maintained for several years (Durst, 1988; Australian Tree Seed Centre records, CSIRO, Australia, 1997 unpublished). Freezer storage at -18°C of seedlots of E. robusta was applied in Florida. However, this treatment was found to have no advantage in preserving the viability of seeds in the medium term, in comparison with cold storage (approximately 4°C) (Durst, 1988). No pre-sowing treatment is required. Rapid and complete germination is achieved under moist, warm conditions in the presence of light (25°C is optimal in the laboratory). Germination is epigeal.E. robusta may be regenerated vegetatively by stem cuttings and micropropagation (Hartney, 1982; Geary et al., 1983; Boxus, 1992). These techniques have not been applied operationally because of their high cost (Geary et al., 1983).Containerized seedlings are now preferred to bare-rooted planting stock because of enhanced survival and growth, although bare-rooted planting of E. robusta has been successfully applied in the past in Hawaii USA, in the highlands of Malaysia, and in Puerto Rico (see review of Fenton et al., 1977). Seed may be sown under shade either directly in nursery containers, or first sewn in germination beds with seedlings and later transferred to containers once the seedlings are at the second leaf-pair stage (about 6 weeks from sowing). The seedlings can be grown in a variety of potting mixes including peat/coarse sand/sandy loam; peat/vermiculite; and peat/vermiculite/perlite (Boland et al., 1980; Geary et al., 1983). Slow-release fertilizers may be added to the potting mixture at the rate of 1.75-4.3 kg/m³ or liquid fertilizer applied as the seedlings grow in the nursery (Boland et al., 1980; Geary et al., 1983). During the nursery phase, as with other species in the genus, E. robusta is highly susceptible to damping-off and other fungal pathogens. Occurrence of disease problems in the nursery can be limited by strict attention to hygiene, reduced watering and shade, and good ventilation. Two to six months after sowing or once the seedlings reach a height of about 25 cm, they are planted out in the field when. This should coincide with the onset of the wet season in tropical countries.E. robusta is grown in plantations with approximately a 4 or 5 year rotation for fuelwood, 8-10 years for pulpwood, and 15-20 years for poles (Jacobs, 1981; Turnbull and Pryor, 1984; Durst, 1988). Longer rotations of 30-60 years are used to produce sawlogs (Durst, 1988). Cutting regimes for fuelwood and power pole production are given by Fenton et al. (1977). Coppicing is the main means of regeneration after felling. The ability of stumps to coppice decreases with age and is influenced by season of harvest. In Florida, coppicing during the hot dry summer months is risky, for sometimes as few of 50% of stumps send out sprouts (Geary et al., 1983). Cutting height is also important with a stump height of 10-12 cm recommended in Florida (Geary et al., 1983). Coppice shoots should be thinned to 1-3 shoots on each stool. This is done in two operations in Brazil. The first thinning is after 8 years leaving 3-4 shoots per stool, and the second thinning after 13 years leaving one dominant stem per stool to grow on to clear felling at 20 years (Fenton et al., 1977). In early plantings of E. robusta in Hawaii, spacings used were 2.4 × 3.0 m to 3.0 × 6.1 m for watershed protection purposes, and 2.4 × 3.7 m to 3.0 × 3.0 m for timber production (LeBarron, 1962). Spacings of 1.5 × 1.5 m to 2.0 × 2.0 m were also used in trials in Hawaii to assess the potential of the species for biomass production (Schubert and Whitesell, 1985). Plantations in Puerto Rico are spaced from 1.8 × 1.8 m to 2.4 × 2.4 m (Jacobs, 1981). In Florida, spacing is dictated by the distance between the mounds (beds) to give 1500 seedlings/ha, but on non-mounded sites 2.5 × 2.5 m spacing is common to give 1600 seedlings/ha (Geary et al., 1983). Manual planting of seedlings is usual but the high cost of labour in Florida makes machine planting more economical (Geary et al., 1983).As with other species in the genus, E. robusta is intolerant of shade and does not compete well with grasses for water and nutrients. Intensive site preparation by ploughing is beneficial; on compacted sites deep ripping may also be used, and on wet sites mounding improves root aeration and provides well-drained conditions which facilitate planting (Durst, 1988).Eucalypt roots form symbiotic mycorrhizal associations with various fungi. Both ectomycorrhizal and vesicular-arbuscular-mycorrhizal (VAM) associations may occur within this genus (Brundrett et al., 1996). In Brazil, the ectomycorrhizal fungi Pisolithus tinctorius has been isolated in E. robusta (Estrada et al., 1993). The fungi are attached to the roots and benefit from other nutrients available from the tree, and in return the tree derives certain nutrients (especially phosphorus) from the fungi. Many exotic plantations are devoid of mycorrhizal associations since compatible fungi are not always present in the soil. While this seldom affects the successful establishment of eucalypts in exotic environments, evidence suggests that growth rates and resistance to environmental stress may not be optimal unless suitable mycorrhizal fungi are present. Nurseries growing eucalypts, especially where the soils are deficient in phosphorus, are recommended to introduce appropriate mycorrhizas to the nursery soil. Various inoculation systems include soil, spores, sporocarps, and vegetative mycelium (Brundrett et al., 1996; Doran and Turnbull, 1997).Although this species is often cultivated without organic or chemical fertilizers, on sites of very low soil fertility, fertilizer application may be necessary to increase productivity. In Florida, ground rock phosphate is commonly applied to E. robusta plantations since the soils are phosphorus deficient and very acid (pHE. robusta may be grown under irrigation and is highly waterlogging tolerant (Marcar et al., 1995). At Leanyer in the Northern Territory, Australia E. robusta gave promising early performance when grown under effluent irrigation (Craciun, 1978).In Puerto Rico, it is common practice for E. robusta plantations to be manually weeded three to four times a year for two years (Jacobs, 1981). In Hawaii, no more than one weeding is required (LeBarron, 1962), whereas in Florida the plantations are rarely weeded because of the difficulty in discing mounded areas and the high cost of manual weeding. Light grazing by cattle in E. robusta plantations may help to reduce weeds after trees have reached about 4 m in height and a b.d.h. of 4 cm. This will also reduce the risk of fire damage (Geary et al., 1983).In Puerto Rico, plantations grown on 30-40 year rotations are thinned at 4 or 5 years of age, and have a second thinning 20 years after planting (Jacobs, 1981).

Silviculture Practice

Seed storage > orthodox
Vegetative propagation by > cuttings
Vegetative propagation by > tissue culture
Stand establishment using > natural regeneration
Stand establishment using > direct sowing
Stand establishment using > planting stock

Management

Early growth of E. robusta is rapid. Reports of average height, diameter and volume growth of this species in several countries is provided in the review by Fenton et al. (1977). On abandoned sugar cane land in Hawaii, E. robusta attained an average growth of 12.7 m in height with a b.d.h. of 9.1 cm after five years (Durst, 1988). In other biomass trials in Hawaii, annual height growth ranged from 2.3-4.2 m. In trials in California, trees averaged 7.3 m in height and 12.7 cm d.b.h. after 10 years growth (King and Krugman, 1980). E. robusta when grown in palmetto prairie in southern Florida averaged 17 m in height at 8 years of age (Geary et al., 1983). In Puerto Rico E. robusta grew to 27.4 m in height with a d.b.h. of 41 cm after 15 years (Little and Wadsworth, 1964).Mean annual increment of E. robusta plantations varies widely from one location to another. In Madagascar the range was from 10-35 m³/ha; in Zaire 20-30 m³/ha; and 21 and 35 m³/ha was recorded from Papua New Guinea and Malaysia respectively (Jacobs, 1981). In Florida, MAI is estimated at 16 m³/ha for 8 year pulpwood rotations (Geary et al., 1983). Sawtimber stands in Hawaii give an mean annual increment (MAI) of between 7 and 47.6 m³/ha after 30 and 40 years (Buck and Imoto, 1982; LeBarron, 1962; Nelson et al., 1968; Pickford, 1962; cited in Durst, 1988).

Genetic Resources and Breeding

In the literature there are few reports of comprehensive provenance trials of E. robusta. One exception is Madagascar where this species has shown good adaptation, is widely planted and is a candidate for genetic improvement (Lebot and Ranaivoson, 1994; Ramamonjisoa, 1994). Results of trials incorporating more than twenty provenances of E. robusta, including three sources representing the local land race as controls; showed significant differences in characteristics between provenances such as height, d.b.h., bark thickness (linked to fire resistance), form and volume index. The best performers in these trials were provenances from south-eastern Queensland (e.g. Noosa, Queensland, 26°11'S, 152°58'E, 58 m asl) and Coopernook, New South Wales (31°50'S, 152°37'E, 60 m asl), and the poorest were the local land races. Lebot and Ranaivoson (1994) concluded that genetic gain in volume production was possible through provenance selection. A current project has been exploiting the potential of this species, with it's substantial variation in growth between individual trees within provenances, and significant provenance × site and progeny × site interactions. The project aims to introduce a large number of individual tree seedlots, from the natural range of the species throughout Australia, and to undertake individual tree selection in diverse ecological areas. In Florida variation between relatively close provenances and provenance × site interaction for growth characteristics has also been reported for E. robusta (Rockwood and Meskimen, 1992).In southern Florida, E. robusta was a major component of a genetic improvement program for pulpwood production which began in the 1960s (Geary et al., 1983). After two cycles of improvement involving mass selection in the first cycle, and between-family plus within-family selection in the second cycle, E. robusta demonstrated sizeable gains for height (27%), diameter (33%), volume (63%), cold hardiness (19%), branch size and angle (14%) and stem straightness (9%) (Dvorak, 1981; Dvorak et al., 1981).In Hawaii, Aradhya and Phillips (1993) studied the variation within the local land race of E. robusta using allozyme analysis. They concluded that the high levels of polymorphism and heterozygosity observed, were an indication that the local land race represents a suitable base for further genetic improvement of the species.The Florida program has produced and assessed the potential of E. grandis × E. robusta hybrids. Field trials indicate that this hybrid significantly outperforms both parent species in height, volume, cold tolerance, and coppicing ability, but the hybrids tend to be slightly less straight than E. grandis. However, hybrid breakdown (e.g. double recessive, or other unwanted phoenotypes) occurs rapidly in generations after the F1 stage (Geary et al., 1983).In its natural range in eastern Australia, E. robusta typically occupies a relatively narrow band of land between the coastal dunes and closed eucalypt forests. Forest clearance and drainage of areas formerly occupied by E. robusta for urban development has significantly reduced populations of this species in many areas, and has raised concern about conservation of genetic resources (T. Vercoe, Australian Tree and Seed Centre, CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Canberra, Australia, personal communication, 1998). However, the species is very widely planted and local land races in many countries provide an additional means to preserve genetic material. The Australian Tree Seed Centre of CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Canberra maintains a bank of seed of natural provenances of E. robusta, with many collections in the form of individual trees.Eucalypts have hermaphrodite, protandrous flowers and are primarily pollinated by insects and birds (Griffin, 1989). They reproduce by a mixed mating system, with both outcrossing and selfcrossing (Moran, 1992).

Disadvantages

Where timber production is the main aim, this species will often be replaced by other eucalypt species which have better form, faster growth and are more functional. The most likely exceptions to this are for sites subject to prolonged flooding, where E. robusta has an adaptive advantage. E. robusta is prone to branch and stem damage in strong winds, and is not ideal for street planting in areas subject to typhoons.

Production and Trade

E. robusta is a medium to large tree and is capable of rapid early growth in suitable environments. This species has a broad environmental amplitude, and is planted widely outside of Australia in equatorial to cool temperate regions. E. robusta is best known as a plantation species in the Madagascar highlands, but also in the USA (Hawaii, Florida, California) and Central America (Puerto Rico). E. robusta may tolerate adverse conditions and is especially useful on sites subject to prolonged flooding. It is moderately salt-tolerant. This species is often used as a shade tree, an ornamental, in shelter belts and in water catchment rehabilitation. The wood of E. robusta is a good fuel and is commonly used for charcoal production. It is durable and is used in the round for posts and poles. Sawn timber can be used for general construction but requires kiln-seasoning to avoid degradation during drying. It is possible to use E. robusta as a source of pulpwood for paper making but other eucalypts are usually preferred.

Links to Websites

NameURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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