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Title: Potential impacts of fire and grazing in an endangered ecological community: plant composition and shrub and eucalypt regeneration in Cumberland Plain Woodland
Contributor(s): Hill, Sarah J  (author)orcid ; French, Kristine (author)
Publication Date: 2004-02-17
DOI: 10.1071/BT02068
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Abstract: Exclosure plots were used to determine the effect of fire and grazing on the structure of a grassy-woodland community. Eighteen months after fire and fence treatments were applied, the species richness, cover and composition of shrubs, trees, herbs and grasses were assessed and compared to pre-treatment censuses. Unburned plots had fewer shrub species and a lower abundance of shrubs, indicating the importance of fire in promoting regeneration of shrub species. Eucalypt species were more abundant and richer following the wildfire burn in summer, suggesting timing of fires is an important aspect in the establishment of the canopy species. Interactions between fire and grazing were found for the abundance of eucalypts (although weak) and resprouting eucalypts, suggesting a subtle interaction between fire and grazing shortly after fire. There was no effect of grazing and no interaction effect between fire and grazing on shrub species richness and abundance or tree species richness and seedling abundance.
All plots showed a change in species composition despite treatment, and 46 species (32% of total richness) were recorded only in the final survey. The high rainfall during the 18-month study is likely to be an important factor in facilitating the establishment of species following all disturbances. This may have ameliorated the impact of grazing as abundant food was available throughout the woodland. The interaction between fire and grazing may be more important in structuring these grassy communities during periods of lower rainfall.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Botany, 52(1), p. 23-29
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1444-9862
Field of Research (FOR): 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
060202 Community Ecology (excl. Invasive Species Ecology)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 961310 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Urban and Industrial Environments
960812 Urban and Industrial Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
960511 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Urban and Industrial Environments
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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