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Eaten out of house and home: impacts of grazing on ground-dwelling reptiles in Australian grasslands and grassy woodlands

Howland, Brett; Stojanovic, Dejan; Gordon, Iain J.; Manning, Adrian D.; Fletcher, Don; Lindenmayer, David B

Description

Large mammalian grazers can alter the biotic and abiotic features of their environment through their impacts on vegetation. Grazing at moderate intensity has been recommended for biodiversity conservation. Few studies, however, have empirically tested the benefits of moderate grazing intensity in systems dominated by native grazers. Here we investigated the relationship between (1) density of native eastern grey kangaroos, Macropus giganteus, and grass structure, and (2) grass structure and...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHowland, Brett
dc.contributor.authorStojanovic, Dejan
dc.contributor.authorGordon, Iain J.
dc.contributor.authorManning, Adrian D.
dc.contributor.authorFletcher, Don
dc.contributor.authorLindenmayer, David B
dc.date.accessioned2015-10-25T22:23:28Z
dc.date.available2015-10-25T22:23:28Z
dc.identifier.issn1932-6203
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/16061
dc.description.abstractLarge mammalian grazers can alter the biotic and abiotic features of their environment through their impacts on vegetation. Grazing at moderate intensity has been recommended for biodiversity conservation. Few studies, however, have empirically tested the benefits of moderate grazing intensity in systems dominated by native grazers. Here we investigated the relationship between (1) density of native eastern grey kangaroos, Macropus giganteus, and grass structure, and (2) grass structure and reptiles (i.e. abundance, richness, diversity and occurrence) across 18 grassland and grassy Eucalyptus woodland properties in south-eastern Australia. There was a strong negative relationship between kangaroo density and grass structure after controlling for tree canopy cover. We therefore used grass structure as a surrogate for grazing intensity. Changes in grazing intensity (i.e. grass structure) significantly affected reptile abundance, reptile species richness, reptile species diversity, and the occurrence of several ground-dwelling reptiles. Reptile abundance, species richness and diversity were highest where grazing intensity was low. Importantly, no species of reptile was more likely to occur at high grazing intensities. Legless lizards (Delma impar, D. inornata) were more likely to be detected in areas subject to moderate grazing intensity, whereas one species (Hemiergis talbingoensis) was less likely to be detected in areas subject to intense grazing and three species (Menetia greyii, Morethia boulengeri, and Lampropholis delicata) did not appear to be affected by grazing intensity. Our data indicate that to maximize reptile abundance, species richness, species diversity, and occurrence of several individual species of reptile, managers will need to subject different areas of the landscape to moderate and low grazing intensities and limit the occurrence and extent of high grazing.
dc.description.sponsorshipFinancial support was provided by Canberra Birds Conservation Fund to BH (http:// cbcf.canberrabirds.org.au), Bush Heritage Andyinc Foundation Environmental Research Postgraduate Scholarship to BH (http://www.bushheritage.org.au) and the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education Australian Postgraduate Award to BH (http://www.innovation.gov.au/research/ researchblockgrants/pages/ australianpostgraduateawards.aspx). Financial support was provided to BH by the Australian Government for monitoring activities undertaken at a single property used in this research. AM was funded by ARC Future fellowship FT100100358.
dc.format25 pages
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherPublic Library of Science
dc.rights© 2014 Howland et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
dc.sourcePLoS ONE
dc.subjectanimals
dc.subjectaustralia
dc.subjectbiodiversity
dc.subjectconservation of natural resources
dc.subjecteucalyptus
dc.subjectmacropodidae
dc.subjectpoaceae
dc.subjectprincipal component analysis
dc.subjectreptiles
dc.subjectsouth australia
dc.subjecteating
dc.subjectforests
dc.subjectgrassland
dc.titleEaten out of house and home: impacts of grazing on ground-dwelling reptiles in Australian grasslands and grassy woodlands
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume9
dcterms.dateAccepted2014-07-31
dc.date.issued2014-12-11
local.identifier.absfor050202
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4279067xPUB1280
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.plos.org/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationHowland, Brett, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Fenner School of Environment and Society, FSES General, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationStojanovic, Dejan, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Fenner School of Environment and Society, FSES General, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationGordon, Iain, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Fenner School of Environment and Society, FSES General, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationManning, Adrian, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Fenner School of Environment and Society, FSES General, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationFletcher, Donald, ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, Australia
local.contributor.affiliationLindenmayer, David, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, CMBE Fenner School of Environment and Society, FSES General, The Australian National University
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT100100358
local.identifier.essn1932-6203
local.bibliographicCitation.issue12
local.bibliographicCitation.startpagee105966
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage25
local.identifier.doi10.1371/journal.pone.0105966
local.identifier.absseo960800
dc.date.updated2016-06-14T09:00:15Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84917705499
local.identifier.thomsonID000347146700001
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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