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The Rangeland Journal publishes original work on the biophysical, social, cultural, economic, and policy influences affecting rangeland use and management. More

Editor-in-Chief: John Milne


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Published online 24 October 2014
Herders’ perception of climate change does not always fit with actual climate change 
Xiliang Li, Zhen Wang, Xiangyang Hou, Zhiying Liu, Sarula, Yanting Yin, Yong Ding and Jing Hu

Herders’ perception did not agree with the actual climate changes in six rangeland regions of Inner Mongolia in northern China. The majority of herders perceived a decline in precipitation over the past 30 years, whereas actual data showed no significant change. Furthermore, herders’ perceptions of a decrease in rainfall appeared to be influenced by their perceptions of reductions in the productivity of their rangelands.

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Published online 24 October 2014
Resting pastures to improve land condition in northern Australia: guidelines based on the literature and simulation modelling 
Joe C. Scanlan, John G. McIvor, Steven G. Bray, Robyn A. Cowley, Leigh P. Hunt, Lester I. Pahl, Neil D. MacLeod and Giselle L. Whish

Pasture deterioration has occurred in parts of northern Australia and reduces pasture and animal productivity. We reviewed the literature and undertook extensive simulation modelling to show that pasture resting offers a means of improving pasture condition with the degree of improvement depending on appropriate stocking rates and on the proportion of time that a pasture is rested. The practical aspects of implementing a successful pasture resting system require further investigation.

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Published online 20 October 2014
Climatic indices for determining risks to the distribution and maintenance of Quercus emoryi Torr. (Fagaceae) in Mexico 
Maria de Jesus Torres-Meza, Alma Delia Baez-Gonzalez and Jose Luis Ramos-Gonzalez

The local-scale analysis of trends in climate variables, using climate indices, can be useful in estimating both the potential benefits and risks presented by climate to species populations. The study analysed temperature trends that may affect Emory oak in Mexico and identified the populations likely to be adversely affected by them. The information may be used for in situ and ex situ species conservation programs.

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Published online 14 October 2014
How long does it take to pay back rangeland improvement investments? A case study from Erzurum Province in Turkey 
Abdurrahman Kara, Sibel Kadıoğlu, S. Emre Dumlu, Erdal Aksakal, M. Merve Özgöz, Mustafa Uzun, Şerafettin Çakal and Uğur Şimşek

Rangelands are important wealth components, thus restoration of degraded sites is of great importance. Surely, it is not possible to limit their positive outcomes only to financial benefits, but it is necessary to show the economic contributions of these investments for continuous support. This paper estimates the payback period of investments in rangeland improvement in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey to facilitate decision-making on investment policies and to guide future research studies.

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Published online 08 October 2014
Potential environmental effects of pack stock on meadow ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada, USA 
Steven M. Ostoja, Matthew L. Brooks, Peggy E. Moore, Eric L. Berlow, Robert Blank, Jim Roche, Jen Chase and Sylvia Haultain

The use of pack stock animals in support of recreational and administrative activities in Sierra Nevada (USA) meadows is an issue for land management agencies and special interest groups due to concerns regarding potential environmental effects.  We evaluated the literature on pack stock effects in meadow ecosystems and determined that pack stock animals through grazing and trampling have the potential to affect: plant cover and composition, soil compaction and stream bank integrity.  Sierra Nevada meadow ecosystems are biodiversity hot spots and provide essential ecosystem services so a detailed evaluation of potential stressors is needed for effective stewardship planning.  

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Published online 08 October 2014
Implementation of a rotational grazing system with large paddocks changes the distribution of grazing cattle in the south-western Italian Alps 
Massimiliano Probo, Michele Lonati, Marco Pittarello, Derek W. Bailey, Matteo Garbarino, Alessandra Gorlier and Giampiero Lombardi

Management of domestic herbivores is an important tool to manipulate the vegetation of alpine grasslands. Throughout the last decades, increased selective and spatially heterogeneous grazing of free-roaming livestock has resulted in a widespread tree and shrub-encroachment of grasslands in the southwestern Alps. Based on this case study, Pastoral Plans and rotational grazing systems with large pastures appear to be efficacious and sustainable management tools to reverse this process, by reducing cattle selectivity and improving grazing distribution on rugged alpine environments.

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Published online 30 September 2014
The response of grassland productivity, soil carbon content and soil respiration rates to different grazing regimes in a desert steppe in northern China 
Xiangyang Hou, Zhen Wang, Schellenberg P. Michael, Lei Ji and Xiangjun Yun

The effects of continuous, rotational and absence of grazing were measured on several community attributes in 2010 and 2012 on a desert steppe in northern China. Soil respiration increased linearly with increasing aboveground net primary productivity, belowground net primary productivity, and soil carbon and nitrogen contents across the 2 years, whereas a negative correlation was detected between soil respiration and soil temperature. The community aboveground net primary productivity, belowground net primary productivity, litter mass, soil carbon and nitrogen contents and soil respiration rates were lower in a dry year (2010) than in a wet year (2012).

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Published online 15 September 2014
Effects of light conditions and plant density on growth and reproductive biology of Cascabela thevetia (L.) Lippold 
Faiz F. Bebawi, Shane D. Campbell and Robert J. Mayer

Cascabela thevetia (L.) Lippold (Apocynaceae) is an invasive weed that has formed large infestations at several locations in northern Australia. A shade house study into its growth and reproduction under different light levels and plant densities found that young plants will reproduce quickest (within 353 days) and produce maximum seeds under full sunlight and low plant densities. Consequently, under field conditions, annual control activities by land managers should be sufficient to treat new plants before they produce seeds and replenish soil seed banks.

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Published online 08 September 2014
Impacts of climate change on net primary productivity of grasslands in Inner Mongolia 
Qiuyue Li, Debao Tuo, Lizhen Zhang, Xiaoyu Wei, Yurong Wei, Ning Yang, Yinlong Xu, Niels P. R. Anten and Xuebiao Pan

The prediction of net primary productivity (NPP) is important for adaptation to future climate change, food security and sustainable use of the grassland resources. The productivity of grassland in Inner Mongolia would significantly increase under climate change, however, the magnitude of the increase strongly responds to climate change differ between regions and interaction with social-economic based emission scenarios. This will provide opportunities and challenges for herders and policy makers in adapting to the change.

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Published online 20 August 2014
The benefits of seed enrichment on sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) populations, after 17 years, in semi-arid Western Australia 
Jonathan E. Brand, Benjamin Sawyer and David R. Evans

Natural populations of sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), famous for its valuable aromatic wood, were studied in central Western Australia over a 17 year period. This long-term study showed that sandalwood regeneration in this region is generally low and populations are in decline. In contrast, a sandalwood seed enrichment program conducted during the same time frame was successful, and similar seed enrichment methods are recommended to help sandalwood populations to regenerate.

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Published online 14 August 2014
Grazing primarily drives the relative abundance change of C4 plants in the typical steppe grasslands across households at a regional scale 
Qing Zhang, Yong Ding, Wenjing Ma, Sarula Kang, Xin Li, Jianming Niu, Xiangyang Hou, Xiliang Li and Sarula

Understanding the effects of climate change and grazing on the relative abundance of C4 plants in steppe grasslands is important. A 5-year experiment in the typical steppe region of Inner Mongolia showed that both increasing temperature and grazing intensity promoted the relative abundance of C4 plants, and grazing was the primary driver. This study provides a basis for assessing the effects of climate and land-use change on grassland ecosystem structure and function.

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Published online 17 June 2014
Effects of mowing regimes and climate variability on hay production of Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvelev grassland in northern China 
Taogetao Baoyin, Frank Yonghong Li, Qinghai Bao, Hugjiltu Minggagud and Yankai Zhong

Haymaking is an important practice for preparing winter feed for livestock production in northern China. Effects of four mowing regimes and climate variability on hay production in a Leymus chinensis natural grassland were investigated over 27 years. The results suggest that the best haymaking practice should be based on the rule of ‘mowing once a year’ in high-production years and grazing in low-production years.

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blank image The Rangeland Journal
Volume 36 Number 4 2014
Savanna Burning: Role and Opportunities in a Rangelands Carbon Economy

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Savanna burning: role and opportunities in a rangelands carbon economy 
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Tom Davison
pp. i-i

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Fire and carbon management in a diversified rangelands economy: research, policy and implementation challenges for northern Australia 
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Dionne Walsh , Jeremy Russell-Smith and Robyn Cowley
pp. 313-322

Fire is a substantial source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the land sector throughout the world. A carbon economy potentially provides a new opportunity for land managers to diversify their livelihoods by adopting fire management practices that reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration. The papers in this Special Issue present technical, policy and stakeholder perspectives for achieving better conservation, emissions and economic outcomes from improved burning practices in northern Australia.


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How hot? How often? Getting the fire frequency and timing right for optimal management of woody cover and pasture composition in northern Australian grazed tropical savannas. Kidman Springs Fire Experiment 1993–2013 
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Robyn A. Cowley , Mark H. Hearnden , Karen E. Joyce , Miguel Tovar-Valencia , Trisha M. Cowley , Caroline L. Pettit and Rodd M. Dyer
pp. 323-345

Can fire be used to manage the increasing woody cover in grazed savannas in northern Australia? This 20-year study found that 4-yearly late dry season fires provided the most effective management of woody cover and pasture composition, while more frequent or early fires caused an undesirable change in pasture composition. This is contrary to recommendations for early dry season fires for biodiversity conservation and greenhouse emissions reduction, and suggests optimal fire management will vary with land use and prevailing fire regimes.


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Aboveground and belowground carbon dynamics in response to fire regimes in the grazed rangelands of northern Australia: initial results from field studies and modelling 
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L. P. Hunt
pp. 347-358

Australia’s rangelands may offer considerable potential as a carbon sink that could help manage atmospheric carbon levels, but few data are available to assess this potential or to inform the type of fire and grazing management that would be necessary. Simulation modelling suggested that reducing fire frequency in grazed northern Australian savannas increased carbon stocks mainly through a build-up of woody vegetation, although this trend was not apparent in a field study of experimental fire regimes. Further studies are required to better understand the carbon sequestration potential of the rangelands.


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Impacts of fire on soil organic carbon stocks in a grazed semi-arid tropical Australian savanna: accounting for landscape variability 
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D. E. Allen , P. M. Bloesch , R. A. Cowley , T. G. Orton , J. E. Payne and R. C. Dalal
pp. 359-369

Fire and grazing in Australian tropical savannas is commonplace, yet their management on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks is not well understood. SOC stocks were measured at a long term fire experimental site in a grazed tropical savanna, accounting for background spatial variability and treatment replication (in the absence of baseline values). The lack of significant treatment differences illustrates the importance of accounting for these factors when developing accurate and cost-effective methodologies for land managers in the C economy.


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Fire patterns in north Australian savannas: extending the reach of incentives for savanna fire emissions abatement 
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Peter J. Whitehead , Jeremy Russell-Smith and Cameron Yates
pp. 371-388

We examine fire patterns and associated greenhouse gas emissions in north Australian savannas over a period of 15 years. We seek to identify the geographic area over which it may be plausible, under Australian carbon farming law, to extend options to earn carbon credits by reducing fire-generated emissions. We conclude that significant abatement may be achieved using approved methods in areas receiving above 600 mm rainfall annually but also showing extreme rainfall seasonality, evidenced by rainfall of less than 15 mm in the driest quarter.


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Carbon projects and Indigenous land in northern Australia 
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Jeremy Dore , Christine Michael , Jeremy Russell-Smith , Maureen Tehan and Lisa Caripis
pp. 389-402

The world’s first national land carbon offsets scheme, Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative, offers great potential for Indigenous landowners to boost income from the land. However, meeting land requirements means navigating a maze of state and federal legislation. This paper provides a snapshot of the pathways open for Indigenous landowners in northern Australia, and points out problems which might stand in the way of successful projects.


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Opportunities for fire and carbon on pastoral properties in the savanna rangelands: perspectives from the Indigenous Land Corporation and the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association 
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Nerissa Walton , Hilary Smith , Luke Bowen , Paul Mitchell , Emma Pethybridge , Tracey Hayes and Michael O’Ryan
pp. 403-409

This paper explores the potential for pastoral properties to diversify income through participation in carbon markets through early dry season savanna-burning projects. An examination of the experiences of the Indigenous Land Corporation and the pastoral industry in the Northern Territory of Australia exposes the benefits of carbon projects and the need to undertake further research into the practicalities of introducing carbon projects into predominantly pastoral landscapes.


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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

    RJ14072  Accepted 11 October 2014
    A novel protocol for assessment of above ground biomass in rangeland environments
    Charity Mundava, Antonius Schut, Petra Helmholz, Richard Stovold, Graham Donald, David Lamb

    RJ14065  Accepted 11 October 2014
    Response of the annual biomass production of a typical steppe plant community to precipitation fluctuations
    Zhen Wang, Qing Zhang, Yong Ding, Xiangyang Hou, Sarula Sarula, Xiliang Li, Haijun Chen, Yanting Yin, Jing Hu, Zhongling Liu, Xiaoping Xin

    RJ14011  Accepted 11 October 2014
    Assessment of vulnerability to climate change in the Inner Mongolia steppe at a county scale from 1980 to 2009
    Tingting Yang, Ping Li, Xinhong Wu, Xiangyang Hou, Pengtao Liu, Guozheng Yao

    RJ14077  Accepted 06 October 2014
    Changes in vegetation composition and plant diversity with rangeland degradation in the alpine region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
    Lin Tang, Shikui Dong, Ruth Sherman, Shiliang Liu, Quanru Liu, Xuexia Wang, Xukun Su, Yong Zhang, Yuanyuan Li, Yu Wu, Haidi Zhao, Chen Zhao, Xiaoyu Wu

    RJ14073  Accepted 06 October 2014
    Communal institutions for the management of rangeland resources and dairy production in Taleghan Valley, Northern Iran
    Mehdi Ghorbani, Ali Akbar Mehrabi, Hossein Azarnivand, Susan Bastani, Mohammad Jafari, Klaus Seeland

    RJ14081  Accepted 01 October 2014
    A comparison of biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships in alpine grasslands across a degradation gradient on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
    Xuexia Wang, Shikui Dong, Ruth Sherman, Quanru Liu, Yuanyuan Li, Yu Wu

    RJ14080  Accepted 01 October 2014
    Effects of grazing and climate warming on plant diversity, productivity and living state in the alpine rangelands and cultivated grasslands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
    Yong Zhang, Qingzhu Gao, Shikui Dong, Shiliang Liu, Xuexia Wang, Xukun Su, Yuanyuan Li, Lin Tang, Xiaoyu Wu, Haidi Zhao

    RJ14021  Accepted 30 September 2014
    Changing Patterns of Basic Household Consumption in the Inner Mongolian Grasslands: Case Study of Policy Oriented Adoptive Changes on Use of Grasslands
    Bingzhen Du, Lin Zhen, Rudolf de Groot, Clyde Goulden, Xin Long, XiaoChang Cao, Ruizi Wu, Chuan Sun

    RJ14094  Accepted 23 September 2014
    A critical review of socioeconomic and natural factors in ecological degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China
    Pu Wang, James Lassoie, Stephen Morreale, Shikui Dong

    RJ13051  Accepted 22 September 2014
    Evaluation of the livelihood vulnerability of pastoral households in Northern China to natural disasters and climate change
    Wenqiang Ding, Ping Li, Wenbo Ren, Xiangyang Hou, Xiaolong Sun, Xiliang Li, Jihong Xie, Yong Ding

    RJ13040  Accepted 08 September 2014
    Herders' opinions about desirable stocking rates and overstocking in the rangelands of northern China
    Xiangyang Hou, Yanting Yin, David Michalk, Xiangjun Yun, Yong Ding, Xiliang Li, Jizhou Ren

    RJ14055  Accepted 29 August 2014
    Herdsmen’s attitudes towards rangeland fencing, protection of Przewalski's gazelle and control of wolf predation on livestock
    Jianbin Shi, Wenyuan You, Feiying Lu, Zihui Zhang, Xiaowen Li

    RJ14064  Accepted 26 August 2014
    Changes in rangeland cover associated with livestock grazing in Altun National Nature Reserve, northwest Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
    Xukun Su, Shikui Dong, Shiliang Liu, Yu Wu, Haidi Zhao, Xiang Zhang, Jjin Weng, Lin Tang, Xiaoyu Wu, Peng Hou

    RJ14101  Accepted 19 August 2014
    FOREWORD:- Fire - Carbon - Savanna special issue
    Tom Davison

    RJ14061  Accepted 07 August 2014
    Analysis of vegetation change associated with human disturbance using MODIS data on the rangelands of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
    Haidi Zhao, Shiliang Liu, Shikui Dong, Xukun Su, Xuexia Wang, Xiaoyu Wu, Lei Wu, Xiang Zhang

    RJ14068  Accepted 29 July 2014
    Spatio-temporal variability in rangeland condition associated with climate change in the Altun Nature Reserve on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the past 15 years
    Shiliang Liu, Haidi Zhao, Xukun Su, Li Deng, Shikui Dong, Xiang Zhang

The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 3 April 2014
Principles and guidelines for managing cattle grazing in the grazing lands of northern Australia: stocking rates, pasture resting, prescribed fire, paddock size and water points – a review

L. P. Hunt, J. G. McIvor, A. C. Grice and S. G. Bray

2. Published 13 January 2014
Can changes to pasture management reduce runoff and sediment loss to the Great Barrier Reef? The results of a 10-year study in the Burdekin catchment, Australia

Rebecca Bartley, Jeff P. Corfield, Aaron A. Hawdon, Anne E. Kinsey-Henderson, Brett N. Abbott, Scott N. Wilkinson and Rex J. Keen

3. Published 21 October 2013
Landscape ecology: its role as a trans-disciplinary science for rangeland sustainability

Diane M. Pearson

4. Published 13 January 2014
Incorporating farmed goats into sustainable rangeland grazing systems in southern Australia: a review

Ronald B. Hacker and Yohannes Alemseged

5. Published 13 January 2014
Establishing the carrying capacity of the grasslands of China: a review

Y. J. Zhang, X. Q. Zhang, X. Y. Wang, N. Liu and H. M. Kan

6. Published 26 June 2014
Sustainable grazing management for temporal and spatial variability in north Australian rangelands – a synthesis of the latest evidence and recommendations

Peter O'Reagain, Joe Scanlan, Leigh Hunt, Robyn Cowley and Dionne Walsh

7. Published 13 January 2014
Introduction of Dorper sheep into Australian rangelands: implications for production and natural resource management

Yohannes Alemseged and Ronald B. Hacker

8. Published 3 April 2014
A comparison of stocking methods for beef production in northern Australia: pasture and soil surface condition responses

Trevor J. Hall, John G. McIvor, David J. Reid, Paul Jones, Neil D. MacLeod, Cam K. McDonald and David R. Smith

9. Published 26 June 2014
A rapid survey method for estimating population density of European rabbits living in native vegetation

Greg Mutze, Brian Cooke, Mark Lethbridge and Scott Jennings

10. Published 13 January 2014
Working Knowledge: characterising collective indigenous, scientific, and local knowledge about the ecology, hydrology and geomorphology of Oriners Station, Cape York Peninsula, Australia

M. Barber, S. Jackson, J. Shellberg and V. Sinnamon

11. Published 3 April 2014
Remotely-sensed analysis of ground-cover change in Queensland’s rangelands, 1988–2005

G. Bastin, R. Denham, P. Scarth, A. Sparrow and V. Chewings

12. Published 26 June 2014
Virtual herding for flexible livestock management – a review

Dean M. Anderson, Rick E. Estell, Jerry L. Holechek, Shanna Ivey and Geoffrey B. Smith

13. Published 21 October 2013
Pastoralists’ knowledge of plant palatability and grazing indicators in an arid region of South Australia

Helen P. Waudby, Sophie Petit and Guy Robinson

14. Published 3 April 2014
EcoFire: regional-scale prescribed burning increases the annual carrying capacity of livestock on pastoral properties by reducing pasture loss from wildfire

Anja Skroblin, Sarah Legge, Terry Webb and Leigh P. Hunt

15. Published 21 October 2013
The ages and fecundity of some arid-zone plants in Western Australia

S. J. J. F. Davies and S. A. Kenny

16. Published 13 January 2014
The polyploid nature of Cenchrus ciliaris L. (Poaceae) has been overlooked: new insights for the conservation and invasion biology of this species – a review

Amina Kharrat-Souissi, Sonja Siljak-Yakovlev, Spencer C. Brown, Alex Baumel, Franck Torre and Mohamed Chaieb

17. Published 13 January 2014
High levels of diversity for seed and forage production exist in Cullen australasicum, a potential new perennial forage legume for dry environments in southern Australia

Alan W. Humphries, Stephen J. Hughes, Ramakrishnan M. Nair, Eric Kobelt and Graeme Sandral

18. Published 21 October 2013
Forecasting rainfall based on the Southern Oscillation Index phases at longer lead-times in Australia

David H. Cobon and Nathan R. Toombs

19. Published 3 April 2014
Characterisation of locoweeds and their effect on livestock production in the western rangelands of China: a review

Hao Lu, Dan Dan Cao, Feng Ma, Shan Shan Wang, Xiao Wen Yang, Wen Long Wang, Qi Wu Zhou and Bao Yu Zhao

20. Published 21 October 2013
Seed bank dynamics of Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd. and its encroachment potential in sub-humid grasslands of eastern Australia

H. Ibrahim Erkovan, Peter J. Clarke and Ralph D. B. Whalley

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