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Title: Rotational grazing management achieves similar plant diversity outcomes to areas managed for conservation in a semi-arid rangeland
Contributor(s): McDonald, Sarah E  (author); Reid, Nick  (author)orcid ; Smith, Rhiannon  (author)orcid ; Waters, Cathleen M  (author); Hunter, John  (author)orcid ; Rader, Romina  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2019
Early Online Version: 2019-04-09
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1071/RJ18090Open Access Link
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Abstract: Despite the increasing extent of protected areas throughout the world, biodiversity decline continues. Grazing management that promotes both biodiversity and production outcomes has the potential to improve broad-scale conservation and complement the protected area network. In this study we explored the potential to integrate commercial livestock grazing and conservation in a semi-arid rangeland in south-eastern Australia. Understorey floristic composition and diversity were compared at different spatial scales across three grazing management treatments: (1) continuous commercial grazing management where paddocks were grazed for the majority of the year (≥8 months per annum); (2) rotational commercial grazing management where livestock are frequently rotated and paddocks rested for >4 months per annum; and (3) protected areas managed for conservation with domestic livestock excluded and grazed only by native and feral herbivores. The season of sampling, rainfall, soil characteristics and the spatial location of sites were the dominant drivers of variability in understorey plant species composition; the effect of grazing treatment on understorey plant species composition was relatively minor. However, areas managed for conservation and under rotational forms of commercial grazing management generally had greater floristic richness and diversity than continuously grazed areas, the results varying with season (spring/autumn) and soil type (clay/sandy-loam), particularly at fine scale (1-m2 quadrats). These findings indicate that rotational grazing management on commercial properties has the potential to improve biodiversity conservation outside the reserve system compared to conventional grazing management.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: The Rangeland Journal, 41(2), p. 135-145
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1834-7541
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
070301 Agro-ecosystem Function and Prediction
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 410401 Conservation and biodiversity
300402 Agro-ecosystem function and prediction
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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