Le Brocque, Andrew F. and Zammit, Charlie (2010) Four years of sheep exclusion shows no changes in understorey composition in grazed woodlands of southern Queensland. In: Ecological Society of Australia 2010 Annual Conference: Sustaining Biodiversity - the next 50 Years (ESA 2010), 6-10 Dec 2010, Canberra, ACT, Australia. (Unpublished)
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Official URL: http://www.esa2010.org.au/Detailed%20program.pdf
Retaining trees in low-input, low-productivity grazing systems in southern Queensland can provide biodiversity benefits without adversely impacting upon production. Although previous research conducted during period of extended drought, may have failed to determine the overall biodiversity potential in relation to management practices. We describe a grazing exclusion trial designed to monitor biodiversity changes following the removal of grazing in the Traprock wool producing region of southern Queensland. Eighteen sites across 10 properties were sampled across two vegetation types (grassy box woodland and ironbark/gum woodland), three overstorey tree densities (<6 trees/ha; 6-20 trees/ha; >20 trees/ha), and three exclosure types (full exclosure; partial exclosure and control (open). Exclosures were established in 2005 and sampled over a four year period for understorey composition and above-ground biomass. No differences were apparent in composition between exclosure treatments (ANOSIM, p > 0.05), although patterns were observed in overstorey tree density treatments within vegetation types. There were no differences (p > 0.05) in biomass between exclosures, although significantly higher plant biomass was observed in low density treatments. Exclusion of grazing has not significantly altered composition after 4 years. However, above-ground biomass has responded to the removal of grazing in open paddock areas. A longer period of exclusion may be necessary to detect changes (if any) in plant species composition.
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