Correlates of grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia

K Scott, Samantha Setterfield, Alan Andersen, Michael Douglas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Environmental features associated with the distribution of grass species are poorly known in tropical savannas, particularly at smaller spatial scales. The present study aimed to determine the relative influence of 11 environmental characteristics on grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia. Environmental characteristics relating to woody-vegetation structure and soil, plus the long-term (14-year) fire frequency, were documented along an environmental gradient and compared with grass-species composition. Differences in grass-species composition, as well as richness and evenness, were related to differences in vegetation structure and edaphic characteristics. In particular, grass-species composition was most strongly related to plant-available moisture, the density of woody plants in the midstorey (2.0-9.99m height), and canopy and litter cover. Grass-species richness and evenness were extremely low in areas where midstorey density, canopy cover and litter cover were high, and where soil moisture content in the root zone of grasses was low. Differences in fire frequency also influenced grass-species composition, with areas that had experienced lower fire frequency during the previous 14 years having lower density of the annual grass Sorghum intrans (F.Muell. ex Benth.) and the perennial grass Heteropogon triticeus (R.Br.) Stapf, and increased dominance of the perennial Eriachne triseta Nees ex Steud. The results of the present study demonstrate a complex interplay between bottom-up environmental factors and top-down processes such as fire, as determinants of grass-species composition in tropical savannas. � CSIRO 2009.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10-17
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
    Volume57
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Fingerprint

    savanna
    savannas
    woodlands
    woodland
    grass
    grasses
    species diversity
    vegetation structure
    Heteropogon
    litter
    canopy
    Digitaria
    species evenness
    environmental gradient
    woody plant
    sorghum
    woody plants
    Sorghum (Poaceae)
    rhizosphere
    soil water content

    Cite this

    Scott, K., Setterfield, S., Andersen, A., & Douglas, M. (2009). Correlates of grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia. Australian Journal of Botany, 57(1), 10-17.
    Scott, K ; Setterfield, Samantha ; Andersen, Alan ; Douglas, Michael. / Correlates of grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia. In: Australian Journal of Botany. 2009 ; Vol. 57, No. 1. pp. 10-17.
    @article{5b89f992d9cf4f918bcd9c36dfc75b77,
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    abstract = "Environmental features associated with the distribution of grass species are poorly known in tropical savannas, particularly at smaller spatial scales. The present study aimed to determine the relative influence of 11 environmental characteristics on grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia. Environmental characteristics relating to woody-vegetation structure and soil, plus the long-term (14-year) fire frequency, were documented along an environmental gradient and compared with grass-species composition. Differences in grass-species composition, as well as richness and evenness, were related to differences in vegetation structure and edaphic characteristics. In particular, grass-species composition was most strongly related to plant-available moisture, the density of woody plants in the midstorey (2.0-9.99m height), and canopy and litter cover. Grass-species richness and evenness were extremely low in areas where midstorey density, canopy cover and litter cover were high, and where soil moisture content in the root zone of grasses was low. Differences in fire frequency also influenced grass-species composition, with areas that had experienced lower fire frequency during the previous 14 years having lower density of the annual grass Sorghum intrans (F.Muell. ex Benth.) and the perennial grass Heteropogon triticeus (R.Br.) Stapf, and increased dominance of the perennial Eriachne triseta Nees ex Steud. The results of the present study demonstrate a complex interplay between bottom-up environmental factors and top-down processes such as fire, as determinants of grass-species composition in tropical savannas. � CSIRO 2009.",
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    Scott, K, Setterfield, S, Andersen, A & Douglas, M 2009, 'Correlates of grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia', Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 10-17.

    Correlates of grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia. / Scott, K; Setterfield, Samantha; Andersen, Alan; Douglas, Michael.

    In: Australian Journal of Botany, Vol. 57, No. 1, 2009, p. 10-17.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Correlates of grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia

    AU - Scott, K

    AU - Setterfield, Samantha

    AU - Andersen, Alan

    AU - Douglas, Michael

    PY - 2009

    Y1 - 2009

    N2 - Environmental features associated with the distribution of grass species are poorly known in tropical savannas, particularly at smaller spatial scales. The present study aimed to determine the relative influence of 11 environmental characteristics on grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia. Environmental characteristics relating to woody-vegetation structure and soil, plus the long-term (14-year) fire frequency, were documented along an environmental gradient and compared with grass-species composition. Differences in grass-species composition, as well as richness and evenness, were related to differences in vegetation structure and edaphic characteristics. In particular, grass-species composition was most strongly related to plant-available moisture, the density of woody plants in the midstorey (2.0-9.99m height), and canopy and litter cover. Grass-species richness and evenness were extremely low in areas where midstorey density, canopy cover and litter cover were high, and where soil moisture content in the root zone of grasses was low. Differences in fire frequency also influenced grass-species composition, with areas that had experienced lower fire frequency during the previous 14 years having lower density of the annual grass Sorghum intrans (F.Muell. ex Benth.) and the perennial grass Heteropogon triticeus (R.Br.) Stapf, and increased dominance of the perennial Eriachne triseta Nees ex Steud. The results of the present study demonstrate a complex interplay between bottom-up environmental factors and top-down processes such as fire, as determinants of grass-species composition in tropical savannas. � CSIRO 2009.

    AB - Environmental features associated with the distribution of grass species are poorly known in tropical savannas, particularly at smaller spatial scales. The present study aimed to determine the relative influence of 11 environmental characteristics on grass-species composition in a savanna woodland in northern Australia. Environmental characteristics relating to woody-vegetation structure and soil, plus the long-term (14-year) fire frequency, were documented along an environmental gradient and compared with grass-species composition. Differences in grass-species composition, as well as richness and evenness, were related to differences in vegetation structure and edaphic characteristics. In particular, grass-species composition was most strongly related to plant-available moisture, the density of woody plants in the midstorey (2.0-9.99m height), and canopy and litter cover. Grass-species richness and evenness were extremely low in areas where midstorey density, canopy cover and litter cover were high, and where soil moisture content in the root zone of grasses was low. Differences in fire frequency also influenced grass-species composition, with areas that had experienced lower fire frequency during the previous 14 years having lower density of the annual grass Sorghum intrans (F.Muell. ex Benth.) and the perennial grass Heteropogon triticeus (R.Br.) Stapf, and increased dominance of the perennial Eriachne triseta Nees ex Steud. The results of the present study demonstrate a complex interplay between bottom-up environmental factors and top-down processes such as fire, as determinants of grass-species composition in tropical savannas. � CSIRO 2009.

    KW - dominance

    KW - environmental gradient

    KW - grass

    KW - perennial plant

    KW - savanna

    KW - soil moisture

    KW - species evenness

    KW - species richness

    KW - vegetation structure

    KW - woodland

    KW - woody plant

    KW - Australasia

    KW - Australia

    KW - Eriachne triseta

    KW - Heteropogon triticeus

    KW - Poaceae

    KW - Sorghum intrans

    M3 - Article

    VL - 57

    SP - 10

    EP - 17

    JO - Australian Journal of Botany

    JF - Australian Journal of Botany

    SN - 0067-1924

    IS - 1

    ER -