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Early recovery signs of an Australian grassland following the management of Parthenium hysterophorus L

Belgeri, Amalia and Navie, Sheldon C. and Vivian-Smith, Gabrielle and Adkins, Steve W. (2014) Early recovery signs of an Australian grassland following the management of Parthenium hysterophorus L. Flora - Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants, 209 (10). pp. 587-596. ISSN 0367-2530

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2014.06.010

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367253014000802

Abstract

Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) is believed to reduce the above- and below-ground plant species diversity and the above-ground productivity in several ecosystems. We quantified the impact of this invasive weed upon species diversity in an Australian grassland and assessed the resulting shifts in plant community composition following management using two traditional approaches. A baseline plant community survey, prior to management, showed that the above-ground community was dominated by P. hysterophorus, stoloniferous grasses, with a further high frequency of species from Malvaceae, Chenopodiaceae and Amaranthaceae. In heavily invaded areas, P. hysterophorus abundance and biomass was found to negatively correlate with species diversity and native species abundance. Digitaria didactyla Willd. was present in high abundance when P. hysterophorus was not, with these two species, contributing most to the dissimilarity seen between areas. The application of selective broad leaf weed herbicides significantly reduced P. hysterophorus biomass under ungrazed conditions, but this management did not yet result in an increase in species diversity. In the above-ground community, P. hysterophorus was partly replaced by the introduced grass species Cynodon dactylon L. (Pers.) 1 year after management began, increasing the above-ground forage biomass production, while D. didactyla replaced P. hysterophorus in the below-ground community. This improvement in forage availability continued to strengthen over the time of the study resulting in a total increase of 80% after 2 years in the ungrazed treatment, demonstrating the stress that grazing was imposing upon this grassland-based agro-ecosystem and showing that it is necessary to remove grazing to obtain the best results from the chemical management approach.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Chemical control Grazing Invasive species Plant community composition Species diversity
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Weed ecology
Science > Invasive Species > Plants
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Deposited On:21 Jan 2015 02:17
Last Modified:21 Jan 2015 02:17

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