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Variability in the incidence and characteristics of animal paths in montane vegetation


Ferguson, A and Kirkpatrick, J and Pharo, E, Variability in the incidence and characteristics of animal paths in montane vegetation, Plant Ecology and Diversity, 3, (1) pp. 9-17. ISSN 1755-0874 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/17550871003610930


Background: There have been few quantitative observations of the attributes of native animal paths and no studies of their variation between vegetation types. These paths may be important in extending the local ranges of plant species. Aims: To determine the incidence, cover and characteristics of native animal paths in different vegetation types, their relationships with other variables and the influence of paths on plant species distributions. Methods: Randomly located line transects, and paired quadrats on and adjacent to paths, were used to record path and environmental attributes at 10 sites in each of 10 vegetation types. The relationships between path cover, number, width and depth and potential predictor variables were determined by using Pearsons product moment correlation. Results: The mean cover of paths in plant communities varied between 6.5% and 12.6%. Path cover, number, width and depth varied between vegetation types. Penetration resistance, bare ground, scat density and plant species richness had higher values in path quadrats than in controls. Within particular vegetation types, several plant species were restricted to paths. Conclusions: Animal trampling is an important influence on vegetation structure and the distribution of plant species in the study area.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:animal trampling; animal paths; animal tracks; marsupial grazers; montane vegetation; plant diversity; Tasmania;
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Ferguson, A (Ms Anneka Ferguson)
UTAS Author:Kirkpatrick, J (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
UTAS Author:Pharo, E (Dr Emma Little)
ID Code:62508
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2010-03-12
Last Modified:2011-03-28

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