Study

Divergent responses to long-term grazing exclusion among three plant communities in a flood pulsing wetland in eastern Australia.

  • Published source details Berney P.J., Wilson G.G., Ryder D.S., Whalley R.D.B., Duggin J. & McCosker R.O. (2014) Divergent responses to long-term grazing exclusion among three plant communities in a flood pulsing wetland in eastern Australia.. Pacific Conservation Biology, 20, 237-251.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Exclude or remove livestock from historically grazed freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Exclude wild vertebrates: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Exclude or remove livestock from historically grazed freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1994–2008 in three marshes on a floodplain in New South Wales, Australia (Berney et al. 2014) found that plots fenced to exclude cattle typically contained a similar plant community, with similar species richness and biomass, to plots that remained grazed by cattle. In the first four years after intervention, exclusion and grazed plots had a similar overall plant community composition (26 of 26 comparisons; data reported as graphical analyses), similar overall plant species richness (26 of 26 comparisons; 3–19 vs 3–17 species/m2) and similar plant biomass (3 of 3 comparisons; 630–1,300 vs 430–1,130 g/m2). After 13–14 years, exclusion and grazed plots had a similar plant community composition in seven of nine comparisons (data reported as a graphical analysis) and similar plant species richness in five of nine comparisons (exclusion: 5–19; grazed: 10–17 species/m2). Plant species richness was higher in exclusion than grazed plots in two comparisons (both in one marsh) and lower in exclusion than grazed plots in two comparisons (both in one marsh). The study also reported data on the cover of individual plant species (see original paper). Methods: In early 1994, twelve pairs of 25 x 25 m plots were established in three historically grazed marshes (four pairs/marsh). In each pair, one random plot was fenced to exclude domestic cattle (but not wild herbivores). The other plot was not fenced and was open to all herbivores, including 0.5–2.0 cows/ha. In 1994–1998 (a wetter period) and 2007–2008 (a drier period), plant species and their cover were recorded in ten 1-m2 quadrats/plot. In May 1998, live above-ground biomass was collected from two 0.25-m2 quadrats/plot, then dried and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Exclude wild vertebrates: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1994–2008 in three floodplain marshes in New South Wales, Australia (Berney et al. 2014) found that plots fenced to exclude wild mammals typically contained more plant biomass than plots that remained open to mammals, but typically had a similar plant community composition and species richness. After four years, fenced plots contained more live, above-ground plant biomass than open plots in two of three marshes (for which fenced: 1,640–2,420 g/m2; open: 930–1,300 g/m2). There was no significant difference in the other marsh (for which fenced: 850 g/m2; open: 630 g/m2). The overall plant community composition was statistically similar in fenced and open plots in at least 33 of 35 comparisons over 14 years (data reported as graphical analyses). In all 35 comparisons, fenced plots had similar plant species richness to open plots (fenced: 2–20 species/m2; open: 3–19 species/m2). The study also reported data on the cover of individual plant species (see original paper). Methods: In early 1994, twelve pairs of 25 x 25 m plots were established across three historically grazed floodplain marshes (four pairs/marsh). In each pair, one random plot was fenced to exclude wild mammals (native marsupials and feral pigs/rabbits). The other plots were left open. Domestic cattle were excluded from all 24 experimental plots. In 1994–1998 (a wetter period) and 2007–2008 (a drier period), plant species and cover were recorded in ten 1-m2 quadrats/plot. In May 1998, live above-ground vegetation was collected from two 0.25-m2 quadrats/plot, then dried and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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