Exotic grass invasion in the tropical savannas of northern Australia: Ecosystem consequences

Exotic grass invasion in the tropical savannas of northern Australia: Ecosystem consequences

Title
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsRossiter, NA, Setterfield, SA, Douglas, MM, Assoc Prof Hutley, LB, Cook, GD
EditorSindel, BM, Johnson, SB
Conference Name14th Australian Weeds Conference
Date Published6-9 September, 2004
PublisherWeed Society of New South Wales
Conference LocationWagga WaggaSydney
ISBN Number0-9752488-1-2
Abstract

Introduced African grasses are invading the tropical savannas of northern Australia and displacing native grasses. Andropogon gayanus Kunth. (Gamba grass) was introduced into the Northern Territory as a pasture species, but has now established outsideof pastoral properties and is considered an environmental weed in the savannas of the Northern Territory. We found that, compared with sites dominated by native grasses, sites invaded by gamba grass had (1) increased fire intensities by more than threetimes; (2) reduced available soil nitrate levels by 70%; (3) trebled grass water use; and (4) more than halved deep drainage of water. Gamba grass therefore has the ability to out-compete native species, and alter catchment hydrology to the detriment of wetlands and streams.

URLhttp://espace.cdu.edu.au/view/cdu:1598

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