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Relative impacts of cattle grazing and feral animals on an Australian arid zone reptile and small mammal assemblage

Read, John; Cunningham, Ross

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The effect of different levels of cattle grazing on an arid Australian small terrestrial mammal and lizard assemblage was assessed in a long-tem series of cross-fence comparisons. Cross-fenced sites were closely matched for edaphic and vegetation characteristics and experienced near identical weather patterns, to ensure that cattle grazing pressure was the principal determinant of any differences in fauna assemblages. In addition, the effects of removal of cattle, cats, foxes and rabbits from...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorRead, John
dc.contributor.authorCunningham, Ross
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:00:43Z
dc.identifier.issn1442-9985
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/61466
dc.description.abstractThe effect of different levels of cattle grazing on an arid Australian small terrestrial mammal and lizard assemblage was assessed in a long-tem series of cross-fence comparisons. Cross-fenced sites were closely matched for edaphic and vegetation characteristics and experienced near identical weather patterns, to ensure that cattle grazing pressure was the principal determinant of any differences in fauna assemblages. In addition, the effects of removal of cattle, cats, foxes and rabbits from three of these long-term monitoring sites were assessed to determine the relative impacts of cattle grazing and feral animals. Small mammal captures, with the exception of Mus musculus, revealed a significant negative response to cattle grazing pressure but this response was of a considerably lower magnitude than the dramatic increase in rodent captures and species richness within the feral animal-proof Arid Recovery Reserve. Higher kangaroo numbers in ungrazed controls, compared with treatments grazed by cattle, possibly negated the benefits to small mammals of removing cattle grazing. No reptile species responded significantly to the grazing treatments although reptile richness and captures of geckos and skinks were the lowest and agamid captures were the highest at heavily grazed sites. Nephrurus levis was the only reptile species to increase significantly, while captures of some smaller geckoes declined, within the feral-proof treatment. Feral predation exerted a more significant effect on most small mammal species than the levels of cattle grazing assessed in this study, yet reptile responses to grazing or feral animals were less apparent and were likely primarily driven by changes in vegetation cover or secondary trophic impacts.
dc.publisherBlackwell Science Asia
dc.sourceAustral Ecology
dc.subjectKeywords: arid region; capture method; cattle; community structure; ecological impact; feral organism; lizard; marsupial; population decline; predation; rodent; species richness; terrestrial ecosystem; vegetation cover; Australia; Agamidae; Animalia; Bos; Canidae; Arid recovery; Arid zone; Cattle grazing; Cross-fence comparison; Lizard; Predation; Small mammal
dc.titleRelative impacts of cattle grazing and feral animals on an Australian arid zone reptile and small mammal assemblage
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume35
dc.date.issued2010
local.identifier.absfor050211 - Wildlife and Habitat Management
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4279067xPUB613
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationRead, John, Arid Recovery
local.contributor.affiliationCunningham, Ross, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage314
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage324
local.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02040.x
local.identifier.absseo960804 - Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T10:52:13Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-77952939880
local.identifier.thomsonID000276921100008
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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