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The early effects of fire and grazing on bryophytes and lichens in tussock grassland and hummock sedgeland in north-eastern Tasmania


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Ferguson, AV, Pharo, EJ, Kirkpatrick, JB ORCID: 0000-0003-2763-2692 and Marsden-Smedley, JB 2009 , 'The early effects of fire and grazing on bryophytes and lichens in tussock grassland and hummock sedgeland in north-eastern Tasmania' , Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 57 , pp. 556-561 , doi: 10.1071/BT09131.

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Little is known of the interactive effects of fire and grazing on cryptogam species and assemblages. These
effects were observed for bryophyte and lichen species in Tasmanian tussock grassland and hummock sedgeland
several months after experimental burning and fencing. A factorial design was used on 40 randomly located and treated
pairs of 1m1m quadrats in each of the vegetation types. In total, 24 cryptogam taxa were found, with grassland having
a greater taxon richness, as well as higher total cryptogam cover and a different species composition, to the hummock
sedgeland. There was greater cryptogam cover in the burned quadrats than the unburned quadrats in the grassland.
However, only bryophytes had different species composition between burned and unburned quadrats. There was a small but
significant difference in richness in hummock sedgeland, with burned being richer than unburned. Three species were more
abundant in the burned than in the unburned treatments in the grassland, whereas no species responded to treatment in
the sedgeland and no species responded to grazing. The fact that no species or assemblage of species was significantly
reduced in cover by the burns testifies to a high degree of cryptogam resilience to this disturbance. The total lack of
negative grazing effects suggests cryptogams are not a major source of sustenance for the local vertebrate herbivores.
These conclusions differ from those made elsewhere in the world.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ferguson, AV and Pharo, EJ and Kirkpatrick, JB and Marsden-Smedley, JB
Keywords: grassland, bryophyte, buttongrass moorland, fire, Tasmania, grazing
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Botany
ISSN: 0067-1924
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/BT09131
Additional Information:

© 2009 CSIRO

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