Catastrophic drought-induced die-off of perennial chenopod shrubs in arid Australia following intensive cattle browsing

Catastrophic drought-induced die-off of perennial chenopod shrubs in arid Australia following intensive cattle browsing Journal Article

Journal of Arid Environments

  • Author(s): Read, John L.
  • Published: 2004
  • Volume: 58
  • ISBN: 0140-1963

Abstract: Cover and survivorship of perennial chenopods, Atriplex vesicaria and Maireana astrotricha, declined markedly during a prolonged dry period at Roxby Downs in arid South Australia. Despite their resilience to browsing in favourable seasons, only 2% of the A. vesicaria shrubs browsed heavily by cattle survived the drought. M. astrotricha exhibited greater drought survivorship, although the post-drought cover retention in browsed shrubs was only half that of unbrowsed controls. Survivorship was highest for unbrowsed chenopods growing in moisture-enhanced run-on or dune-base environments. Maintenance of these patchy areas with reduced water-stress is hence important for the persistence of browsed chenopod shrublands. Light browsing by either European Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) or Greater Stick-nest Rats (Leporillus conditor) had no measurable impact upon chenopod survivorship.

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Suggested Citation
Read, John L., 2004, Catastrophic drought-induced die-off of perennial chenopod shrubs in arid Australia following intensive cattle browsing, Volume:58, Journal Article, viewed 15 June 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=13031.

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