Impacts of livestock grazing and tree clearing on birds of woodland and riparian habitats

Martin, T. G. and McIntye, S. (2007) Impacts of livestock grazing and tree clearing on birds of woodland and riparian habitats. Conservation Biology, 21 2: 504-514. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00624.x

Author Martin, T. G.
McIntye, S.
Title Impacts of livestock grazing and tree clearing on birds of woodland and riparian habitats
Journal name Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0888-8892
Publication date 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00624.x
Volume 21
Issue 2
Start page 504
End page 514
Total pages 11
Editor Meffe, G. K.
Place of publication United States
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject C1
270708 Conservation and Biodiversity
770703 Living resources (flora and fauna)
Abstract We investigated the impact of pastoral management on birds in subtropical grassy eucalypt woodland in southeastern Queensland, Australia, where the patterns of land management have made it possible to disentangle the effects of livestock grazing from those of tree clearing. We recorded changes in bird species composition, density, and relative abundance across two woodland habitat types (riparian and nonriparian) and two levels of clearing (wooded and nonwooded) and three levels of livestock grazing (low, moderate, and high) replicated over space (1000 km(2)) and time (2001-2002). We predicted that species that depend on understory vegetation would be most negatively affected by livestock grazing. A Bayesian generalized linear model showed that the level of grazing had the greatest effect when trees were present. When trees were absent, the impact of grazing was overshadowed by the effects of a lack of trees. Over 65% of species responded to different levels of grazing, and the abundance of 42% of species varied markedly with habitat and grazing. The most common response to grazing was high species relative abundance under low levels of grazing (28% of species), species absence at high levels of grazing (20%), and an increase in abundance with increasing grazing (18%). Despite having similar bird assemblages, the effect of grazing was stronger in riparian habitat than in adjacent woodland habitat. Our results suggest that any level of commercial livestock grazing is detrimental to some woodland birds, particularly the understory-dependant species, as predicted. Nevertheless, provided trees are not cleared, a rich and abundant bird fauna can coexist with moderate levels of grazing. Habitats with high levels of grazing, on the other band, resulted in a species-poor bird assemblage dominated by birds that are increasing in abundance nationally.
Keyword Biodiversity Conservation
Environmental Sciences
Bayesian GLM
cattle grazing
grassy eucalypt woodland
grazing management
native pasture
noisy miner
woodland bird conservation
zero-inflated models
Zero-inflated Poisson
Eastern Australia
Species Richness
North Queensland
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Spatial Ecology Lab Publications
2008 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 50 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 57 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 16:46:42 EST