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Tasmanian lentic wetland lawns are maintained by grazing rather than inundation.
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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.
|Keywords:||grazing, lawn, lentic wetlands, marsupials, short herbfield, shrub invasion, Tasmania, waterlogging.|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Austral Ecology|
|Identification Number - DOI:||10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02168.x|
The original publication is available at
|Date Deposited:||15 Oct 2010 05:03|
|Last Modified:||18 Nov 2014 04:13|
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