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Type: Journal article
Title: Long-term influence of fallen logs on patch formation and their effects under contrasting grazing regimes
Author: Bowman, A.
Facelli, J.
Sinclair, R.
Citation: Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, 2015; 40(3):238-244
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1442-9985
Statement of
Alexandra S. Bowman, José M. Facelli and Russell Sinclair
Abstract: Patchiness is a critical functional feature of arid lands, increasing productivity and diversity, but there is little information on the long-term dynamics of patch formation.While plant-created heterogeneity is widespread, grazing reduces plant density, hence removing patchiness. Patchiness is also associated with fallen logs and it is particularly important to assess this association in grazed areas, as there are few patches which are not created by living plants. We studied differences in soil nutrient content and soil seed bank associated with the presence of logs in the long ungrazed Koonamore Vegetation Reserve and an adjacent heavily grazed paddock in chenopod shrublands of South Australia. We studied soil properties associated with fallen logs of unknown age, and others known to have persisted for up to 78 years. Logs acted as traps for soil nutrients and seeds. Organic carbon was higher in soils associated with logs, and also higher inside the reserve than in the grazed paddock. Propagule number and species richness were higher next to logs than in open spaces and viable seeds were in much higher abundance next to logs in the grazed paddock than any other site. Increased time in situ of a log had a relatively small effect on soil organic carbon and total nitrogen. Logs act as resource traps which may enhance the diversity of the system, and may be particularly important for maintaining patches of resources in areas of severe grazing damage. Hence, their preservation should be incorporated into management schemes. [Correction added on 3 March 2015, after online publication: The following parts in the abstract have been edited. ‘Organic carbon and total nitrogen were higher in soils associated with logs’ has been corrected to ‘Organic carbon was higher in soils associated with logs’, and ‘had a relatively small effect on soil organic carbon, total nitrogen and available potassium’ has been corrected to ‘had a relatively small effect on soil organic carbon and total nitrogen’.]
Keywords: arid land; grazing exclusion; nutrient accumulation; resource heterogeneity; seed bank
Rights: © 2014 The Authors. Austral Ecology © 2014 Ecological Society of Australia
DOI: 10.1111/aec.12204
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 7
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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