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Tasmanian lentic wetland lawns are maintained by grazing rather than inundation


Roberts, Cynthia and Kirkpatrick, JB and McQuillan, PB, Tasmanian lentic wetland lawns are maintained by grazing rather than inundation, Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, 36, (3) pp. 303-309. ISSN 1442-9985 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2010 Ecological Society of Australia

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02168.x


Vertebrate grazers have been shown to be a critical element in maintaining lawns, although lawns can also form in places without such herbivores. In Tasmania lawns are widespread in lentic wetlands. We used environmental observations and exclosure experiments at two altitudinally contrasting lentic wetland lawns, and waterlogging experiments, to test the hypotheses that their structure is maintained (i) periodic inundation; and (ii) grazing.Waterlogging experiments and field observations demonstrated that the two main invading shrubs were indifferent to immersion for several months and that the distribution of the lawns was independent of inundation period, results inconsistent with the first hypothesis. The exclosure experiments showed that both woody and non-woody plants became taller in the lawns when marsupial grazers and rabbits were excluded. It therefore seems that the lawn structure is maintained by grazing and that alternative structural states result from exclusion of grazing pressure in less than 2 years.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:grazing, lawn, lentic wetlands, marsupials, short herbfield, shrub invasion, Tasmania, waterlogging.
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use
UTAS Author:Roberts, Cynthia (Ms Roberts)
UTAS Author:Kirkpatrick, JB (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
UTAS Author:McQuillan, PB (Mr Peter McQuillan)
ID Code:65191
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2010-10-12
Last Modified:2012-08-03

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