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Dynamics of plant populations in Heteropogon contortus(black speargrass) pastures on a granite landscape in southern Queensland. 1. Dynamics of H. contortus populations

Orr, D.M. and Paton, C.J. and Reid, D.J. (2004) Dynamics of plant populations in Heteropogon contortus(black speargrass) pastures on a granite landscape in southern Queensland. 1. Dynamics of H. contortus populations. Tropical Grasslands, 38 . pp. 17-30.

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Abstract

The dynamics of Heteropogon contortus (black speargrass) populations were measured in a subset of treatments contained within an extensive grazing study conducted between 1990 and 1996 in H. contortus pasture in southern Queensland. This subset included 2 landscape positions and 3 stocking rates in both native pasture and legume-oversown native pasture.

Severe drought conditions throughout much of the study necessitated ongoing adjustments to the original stocking rates and, as a result, drought was the major influence on the dynamics of H. contortus populations. Plant density and basal area in the silver-leaved ironbark landscape were consistently higher than those in the narrow-leaved ironbark landscape. There was limited evidence of any impact by either light or moderate stocking rate but there was evidence of an impact at the heaviest stocking rate. There was minimal impact of legume oversowing.

Relatively large fluctuations in plant density occurred during this study resulting from the death of existing plants, due mainly to drought, and seedling recruitment. Similarly, there were relatively large fluctuations in basal area caused mainly by changes in plant size. Rates for turnover of plant numbers were relatively high whereas plant turnover rates of basal areas were relatively low. Regular seedling recruitment appeared necessary to ensure the persistence of this species. Despite the high turnover, populations were maintained at reasonable levels indicating the overall resilience of H. contortus.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© The Tropical Grassland Society of Australia Inc. Access to published version may be available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Heteropogon contortus; black speargrass; plant populations; grazing; drought.
Subjects:Plant culture > Seeds. Seed technology
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Science > Botany > Plant ecology
Deposited On:28 Jun 2004
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 05:34

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