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Title: Comparison of biodiversity and ground cover between a commercial rotationally grazed property and an adjacent nature reserve in semi-arid rangeland
Contributor(s): McDonald, Sarah E  (author)orcid ; Reid, Nick  (author)orcid ; Smith, Rhiannon  (author)orcid ; Waters, Cathleen M  (author); Hunter, John  (author)orcid ; Rader, Romina  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2020-02
Early Online Version: 2019-11-01
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/aec.12829Open Access Link
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Abstract: Continuous livestock grazing can have negative effects on biodiversity and landscape function in arid and semi‐arid rangelands. Alternative grazing management practices, such as rotational grazing, may be a viable option for broad‐scale biodiversity conservation and sustainable pastoral management. This study compared ground cover, plant species composition and floristic and functional diversity along gradients of grazing intensity between a pastoral property rotationally grazed by goats and an adjacent nature reserve (ungrazed by commercial livestock) in semi‐arid south‐eastern Australia. Understorey plant species composition differed significantly between the rotationally grazed property and the nature reserve, with a greater proportion and frequency of palatable species recorded in the nature reserve. Understorey plant species richness, diversity, functional biodiversity measures and ground cover declined with increasing grazing pressure close to water points under commercial rotational grazing management. However, at a whole‐paddock scale, there were few differences in plant biodiversity and ground cover between the rotationally grazed property and the nature reserve, despite differences in overall plant species composition. Flexible, adaptive, rotational grazing should be investigated further for its potential to achieve both socio‐economic and biodiversity conservation outcomes in semi‐arid rangelands to complement existing conservation reserves.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Austral Ecology, 45(1), p. 60-69
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1442-9993
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
960811 Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone 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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