Study

The effects of grazing and fire on vegetation and the vertebrate assemblage in a tropical savanna woodland in north-eastern Australia

  • Published source details Kutt A.S. & Woinarski J.C.Z. (2007) The effects of grazing and fire on vegetation and the vertebrate assemblage in a tropical savanna woodland in north-eastern Australia. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 23, 95-106.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning in combination with grazing

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Cease livestock grazing: Forest, open woodland & savanna

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning in combination with grazing

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2001 in savanna woodlands in Queensland, Australia (Kutt & Woinarski 2007) found that overall reptile abundance was similar in burned and unburned areas regardless of grazing practices, though the abundance of one of 18 species was higher after burning and of another was lower after burning with grazing. Overall reptile abundance was similar in burned (12–20 individuals/plot) and unburned plots (14–19), regardless of grazing practices. Of 18 species recorded, one dragon species abundance was higher in burned than unburned plots regardless of grazing (central netted dragon Ctenophorus nuchalis burned: 0.7–1.0 individuals/plot; unburned: 0–0.1) and one ctenotus abundance was lower in burned than unburned plots, particularly when burning was combined with grazing (leopard ctenotus Ctenotus pantherinus burned: 0–1.4; unburned: 1.3–4.4). In January 2001, reptiles were monitored on three cattle stations (>20,000 ha each) in 29 one-ha plots that were either grazed (4–8 cattle/ha) or ungrazed (paddocks where cattle were excluded) and either recently burned (within 2 years) or unburned (last burnt >2 years ago). Burns were a mixture of prescribed burns and wildfires and all treatments took place over >2,000 ha areas. Reptiles were sampled using cage traps and pitfalls supplemented by day and night log rolling and litter raking.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Cease livestock grazing: Forest, open woodland & savanna

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2001 in savanna woodland in Queensland, Australia (Kutt & Woinarski 2007) found that overall reptile abundance and the abundance of five of 18 species was higher in ungrazed than grazed plots. Overall reptile abundance was higher in ungrazed (18.5–19.6 individuals/plot) than grazed plots (12.3–14.0), regardless of fire history. Of 32 reptile species observed, 18 were included in analysis (appeared in high enough numbers). Five species abundances were higher in ungrazed than grazed plots (eastern bearded dragons Pogona barbata ungrazed: 0.6–0.7 individuals/plot vs grazed: 0–0.1; variable fat-tailed geckoes Diplodactylus conspicillatus: 0.8–1.0 vs. 0.1–0.2; stout ctenotus Ctenotus hebetior: 2.6–4.3 vs. 2.0–2.3; leopard ctenotus Ctenotus pantherinus: 1.4–4.4 vs. 0–1.3, red-earth ctenotus Ctenotus rosarium: 1.9–2.0 vs. 1.0–1.3). Dwarf skink Menetia greyii abundance was lower in ungrazed (0–0.3) than grazed plots (1.0–1.3). The abundance of the remaining 12 species was similar in ungrazed and grazed plots. In January 2001, reptiles were monitored on three cattle stations (>20,000 ha each) in 29 one-ha plots that were either ungrazed (paddocks where cattle were excluded) or grazed (4–8 cattle/ha). Plots were also either recently burned (within 2 years) or unburned (last burnt >2 years ago). Reptiles were sampled using cage traps and pitfalls supplemented by day and night log rolling and litter raking.

    (Summarised by: Guy Rotem)

  3. Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2001 in three sites within savanna woodlands in Queensland, Australia (Kutt & Woinarski 2007) found that overall reptile abundance was similar in burned and unburned areas, though the abundance of one species was higher after burning and another species abundance was lower after burning in combination with grazing. Overall reptile abundance was similar in burned (12–20 individuals/plot) and unburned plots (14–19), regardless of grazing practices. Of 18 species recorded, one dragon species abundance was higher in burned than unburned plots regardless of grazing and one ctenotus abundance was lower in burned than unburned plots, particularly when burning was combined with grazing (central netted dragon Ctenophorus nuchalis burned: 0.7–1.0 individuals/plot vs. unburned: 0–0.1; leopard ctenotus Ctenotus pantherinus 0–1 vs. 1–4). In January 2001, reptiles were monitored on three cattle stations (>20,000 ha each) in 29 one-ha plots that were either recently burned (within 2 years) or unburned (last burnt >2 years ago) and either ungrazed (paddocks where cattle were excluded) or grazed (4–8 cattle/ha). Burns were a mixture of prescribed burns and wildfires and all treatments took place over >2,000 ha areas. Reptiles were sampled using cage traps and pitfalls supplemented by day and night log rolling and litter raking.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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