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Tasmanian lentic wetland lawns are maintained by grazing rather than inundation.

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Roberts, C and Kirkpatrick, JB and McQuillan, PB (2010) Tasmanian lentic wetland lawns are maintained by grazing rather than inundation. Austral Ecology (publis). ISSN 1442-9993 (In Press)

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Abstract

Vertebrate grazers have been shown to be a critical element in maintaining lawns, although lawns can also form in places without such herbivores. In Tasmania lawns are widespread in lentic wetlands. We used environmental observations and exclosure experiments at two altitudinally contrasting lentic wetland lawns, and waterlogging experiments, to test the hypotheses that their structure is maintained (i) periodic inundation; and (ii) grazing.Waterlogging experiments and field observations demonstrated that the two main invading shrubs were indifferent to immersion for several months and that the distribution of the lawns was independent of inundation period, results inconsistent with the first hypothesis. The exclosure experiments showed that both woody and non-woody plants became taller in the lawns when marsupial grazers and rabbits were excluded. It therefore seems that the lawn structure is maintained by grazing and that alternative structural states result from exclusion of grazing pressure in less than 2 years.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: grazing, lawn, lentic wetlands, marsupials, short herbfield, shrub invasion, Tasmania, waterlogging.
Journal or Publication Title: Austral Ecology
ISSN: 1442-9993
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02168.x
Additional Information: The original publication is available at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2010 05:03
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:13
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/10218
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