Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Condition of fenced and unfenced remnant vegetation in inland catchments in south-eastern Australia

Sue V. Briggs A C , Nicola M. Taws B , Julian A. Seddon A and Bindi Vanzella B

A Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW, c/- CSIRO, GPO Box 284, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.

B Greening Australia Capital Region, PO Box 538, Jamison Centre ACT 2614, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: sue.briggs@csiro.au

Australian Journal of Botany 56(7) 590-599 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT08046
Submitted: 17 March 2008  Accepted: 27 October 2008   Published: 26 November 2008

Abstract

Considerable areas of remnant native vegetation have been fenced in the last decade to manage grazing by domestic stock. This study investigated vegetation condition in comparative fenced and unfenced remnant vegetation in the mid–upper Murrumbidgee and Lachlan catchments in south-eastern Australia. Native species richness, native groundcover and overstorey regeneration were higher at fenced than at unfenced sites. Area of bare ground was lower at fenced sites. Exotic groundcover did not differ between fenced and unfenced sites. Native species richness was higher at sites fenced for longer and with no stock grazing; neither native nor exotic groundcover at fenced sites was related to time since fencing or stock grazing pressure. Some tree species regenerated at both fenced and unfenced sites (Blakely’s red gum, Eucalyptus blakelyi; tumbledown gum, E. dealbata, long-leaved box, E. goniocalyx; red stringbark, E. macrorhyncha), some regenerated at few fenced and few unfenced sites (white box, E. albens; yellow box, E. melliodora) and some regenerated at fenced sites but not at unfenced sites (grey box, E. microcarpa; mugga ironbark, E. sideroxylon; white cypress pine, Callitris glaucophylla). Although less robust than pre- and postfencing monitoring, the comparisons reported here provide a logistically feasible and relatively inexpensive assessment of effects of the sizeable public investment in fencing on vegetation condition.


Acknowledgements

The project was funded by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust, with support from Greening Australia and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. We are grateful to Sue Streatfield, Paul Ryan, David Freudenberger, Sue McIntyre, James Morris, Ann Morris, Tracy Kerin, Stuart Doyle and the landholders who participated in the study for their contributions to the project. We thank Josh Dorrough, Peter Spooner and the referees for their useful comments on the paper. The contents of the paper do not reflect the official policy of the NSW Government or any other government, agency or organisation.


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