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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 34(8)

Ecological impacts of feral pig diggings in north Queensland rainforests

J. Mitchell A E, W. Dorney B, R. Mayer C, J. McIlroy D

A Department of Primary Industries, PO Box 187, Charters Towers, Qld 4820, Australia.
B Department of Primary Industries, PO Box 20, South Johnstone, Qld 4859, Australia.
C Department of Primary Industries, PO Box 1085, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia.
D 38 Hempleman Drive, Akaroa, 8161, New Zealand.
E Corresponding author. Email: jim.mitchell@dpi.qld.gov.au
 
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Abstract

This two-year study examined the impacts of feral pig diggings on five ecological indicators: seedling survival, surface litter, subsurface plant biomass, earthworm biomass and soil moisture content. Twelve recovery exclosures were established in two habitats (characterised by wet and dry soil moisture) by fencing off areas of previous pig diggings. A total of 0.59 ha was excluded from further pig diggings and compared with 1.18 ha of unfenced control areas. Overall, seedling numbers increased 7% within the protected exclosures and decreased 37% within the unprotected controls over the two-year study period. A significant temporal interaction was found in the dry habitat, with seedling survival increasing with increasing time of protection from diggings. Feral pig diggings had no significant effect on surface litter biomass, subsurface plant biomass, earthworm biomass or soil moisture content.

   
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