Study

Bringing forward the benefits of coarse woody debris in ecosystem recovery under different levels of grazing and vegetation density

  • Published source details Manning A.D., Cunningham R.B. & Lindenmayer D.B. (2013) Bringing forward the benefits of coarse woody debris in ecosystem recovery under different levels of grazing and vegetation density. Biological Conservation, 157, 204-214.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add woody debris to landscapes

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Remove or control invasive or problematic herbivores and seed eaters

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Add woody debris to landscapes

    A replicated, controlled study in 2007–2010 in two grassy woodland reserves near Canberra, Australia (Manning et al. 2013) found that adding coarse woody debris in clumps only, or dispersed and in clumps, increased reptile abundance over four years, although the effect size depended on vegetation density and grazing intensity. Adding coarse woody debris (20 tonne/ha clumped or 40 tonne/ha clumped and dispersed) increased overall reptile abundance in one site and overall reptile abundance and small skink abundance in another site compared to not adding debris (results reported as model outputs). The effect of adding coarse woody debris was greatest in open vegetation compared to mid- or high-density vegetation, particularly when vegetation was subject to high-intensity grazing by kangaroos Macropus giganteus (see paper for details). Reptiles were monitored in 96 plots (1 ha) in 24 sites across two nature reserves (4 plots/site). In October 2007, coarse woody debris was added to 1 ha plots as follows: 20 tonnes/ha evenly dispersed (24 plots), 20 tonnes/ha in clumps (24), 40 tonnes/ha clumped and dispersed (24), or no coarse woody debris (24). In December 2007, six sites were fenced to exclude kangaroos and grazing levels were classed as low (fenced: 0.4 kangaroos/ha) or high (unfenced: 2.1). Reptiles were surveyed at each site using 30-minute active searches from March to April in 2007–2010.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Remove or control invasive or problematic herbivores and seed eaters

    A replicated, controlled study in 2007–2010 in two grassy woodland reserves near Canberra, Australia (Manning et al. 2013) found that fencing to reduce grey kangaroo Macropus giganteus grazing intensity had mixed effects on small skink abundance compared to not fencing depending on the amount of vegetation and whether coarse woody debris was added. At high vegetation density, small skink abundance increased over four years in fenced areas, but decreased in unfenced areas, whereas at medium-density vegetation the reverse was true (results reported on log scale). At low-density vegetation, small skink numbers remained stable over four years in both fenced and unfenced areas. In fenced low and medium-density vegetation sites, adding coarse woody debris (particularly 20 tonnes/ha clumped) lead to an increase in small skink abundance over time compared to when no debris was added (see paper for details). Reptiles were monitored in 96 plots (1 ha) in 24 sites across two nature reserves (4 plots/site). In October 2007, coarse woody debris was added to 72 plots (either 20 tonnes/ha evenly dispersed, 20 tonnes/ha clumped, 40 tonnes/ha dispersed and clumped) and none added to 24 plots. In December 2007, six sites were fenced to exclude kangaroos and grazing levels were classed as low (fenced: 0.4 kangaroos/ha) or high (unfenced: 2.1). Reptiles were surveyed at each site using 30-minute active searches from March to April in 2007–2010.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

Output references
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