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Title: Floristics, dominance and diversity within the threatened 'Themeda' grassy headlands of the North Coast Bioregion of New South Wales
Contributor(s): Hunter, John T  (author); Hunter, Vanessa (author)
Publication Date: 2017
DOI: 10.1071/PC16013
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Abstract: We surveyed subtropical closed tussock grasslands on headlands within the North Coast Bioregion of New South Wales. The aims of the investigation were to provide baseline data on this listed threatened community. Additionally, we tested the effects of macropod grazing and biomass changes on assemblages. 117 full floristic survey plots were placed within extant natural grassland occurrences on 16 headlands. Data collected included the percent cover and frequency of each species. In addition we ranked the three species contributing most to overall biomass. Analysis of the full floristic cover data (percent cover) was performed using the Kulzynski association measure and UPGMA fusion strategy. Further analysis was performed using constrained and unconstrained ordinations and Generalised Additive Modelling (GAM) using species frequency data and explanatory variables including overall, and proportional species biomass, and macropod grazing impact. Seven distinct grassland assemblages were derived of which three were 'Themeda' dominated. Concentrating on the 'Themeda' dominated assemblages it was found that increasing biomass depth and a reduction in macropod grazing impact was associated with a reduction in plot species richness and diversity and trait richness and diversity. These changes were associated with a shift in floristic assemblage identity. All three 'Themeda' assemblages are likely to provide a unique combination of functional resources and all should be maintained in order to promote landscape diversity. We predict that use of frequent fire is likely to cause homogenisation (reduced landscape richness) and loss of important components including listed threatened taxa.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Pacific Conservation Biology, 23(1), p. 71-80
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Clayton, Australia
ISSN: 1038-2097
Field of Research (FOR): 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
060202 Community Ecology (excl. Invasive Species Ecology)
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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