Effects of local-scale management on herbaceous plant communities in Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) agroecosystems of southern Queensland, Australia

Collard, Stuart J. and Le Brocque, Andrew F. and Zammit, Charlie (2011) Effects of local-scale management on herbaceous plant communities in Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) agroecosystems of southern Queensland, Australia. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 142 (3-4). pp. 176-183. ISSN 0167-8809


Remnant vegetation in agricultural landscapes is assumed to contain the majority of biodiversity, although few Australian studies have considered the contribution made by the surrounding production matrix. In this study, herbaceous plant communities from Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla) remnants and adjoining areas of the matrix were sampled to determine differences in plant species composition at the core and edge of four distinct land management categories. Nineteen sites consisting of Brigalow
remnant and adjacent matrix were selected in the Brigalow Belt Bioregion of southern Queensland, Australia. This region has undergone recent agricultural development relative to the older, well studied landscapes of western Europe. Edge and core transects in four different land management categories were sampled for herbaceous plant species richness, composition and cover. Brigalow remnants contained significantly higher mean herbaceous richness than all other land management categories, and cultivated areas contained the lowest. Species richness, cover and composition did not differ between previously cultivated and uncultivated grasslands. Unlike other studies, there were no detectable edge effects for plant species richness, herbaceous cover and composition in any of the land management categories. Biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes in Australia should maintain a focus on the remnant vegetation components; however, our results suggest that there is the potential for enhancing
plant biodiversity and ecological functioning by targeted management in modified grassland communities. Management and restoration efforts to conserve agroecosystem plant biodiversity should therefore integrate a range of different landscape elements.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2011 09:25
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2014 01:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: brigalow; plant biodiversity; production matrix; landscape context
Fields of Research : 06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2011.05.001
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/19492

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