Increased grazing and dominance of an exotic pasture (Bothriochloa pertusa) affects vertebrate fauna species composition, abundance and habitat in savanna woodland
Alex S Kutt, Alaric Fisher
RANGELAND JOURNAL | CSIRO PUBLISHING | Published : 2011
The invasion of exotic pasture species into intact woodlands has the potential to affect native fauna by altering habitat structure and ecosystem function. The spread of these weeds is generally in concert with cattle grazing, so that fauna or habitat change is due to multiple interrelated causes. In this study we investigated whether the spread of the introduced pasture grass Bothriochloa pertusa and replacement of the native bluegrass B. ewartiana in eucalypt woodlands of northern Queensland has had an effect on terrestrial vertebrate fauna. We located 40 sites that sampled a range of native and introduced pastures cover, and investigated the spatial pattern of abundance with canonical ana..View full abstract
This project was funded by the Native Vegetation R&D Program of the now defunct Land & Water Australia. Additional funding and support was provided by the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre, Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences. The writing of this manuscript was supported by funding from the CSIRO Building Resilient Australian Biodiversity Assets Theme. We are grateful to Emily Bolitho (James Cook University) and Jeanette Kemp (Queensland Herbarium) who assisted with fieldwork and Gen Perkins (CSIRO) for Fig. 1. Tara Martin (CSIRO) provided valuable comments on an earlier draft. Information about land condition, grazing histories and pastoral monitoring was provided by Bob Karfs, Bob Shepherd and Peter O'Reagain (Queensland Department of Primary Industries). The final manuscript was improved via the careful comments and review by David Freudenberger (Greening Australia) and David Eldridge (UNSW).