grazing

One hundred years of vegetation change at Cass, eastern South Island high country

Fire, pastoral farming and exotic species have been major drivers of vegetation change in the eastern South Island high country since human arrival. More recently, fire frequency and grazing intensity have declined allowing regeneration of previously suppressed woody elements in some areas, such as our 1775 ha Cass study site. We collected vegetation and abiotic data from 117 Recce plots (10 × 10 m) using an objective grid-based network to classify the vegetation, determine factors influencing vegetation pattern, discuss long-term vegetation changes and assess the role of exotic species.

Population age structure and recent Dracophyllum spread on subantarctic Campbell Island

Mid to late 20th century expansion of Dracophyllum scrub into tussock grassland on subantarctic Campbell Island has been attributed to the collective effects of global warming, cessation of farming in 1931, and continued grazing by feral sheep. To determine the importance of these, we dated the timing of scrub expansion by aging 241 Dracophyllum plants in 17 plots chosen to sample the range of environments this shrub/ small tree occupies on Campbell Island.

Vegetation recovery in rural kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) forest fragments in the Waikato region, New Zealand, following retirement from grazing

Vegetation was sampled in kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides)-dominant forest fragments having different recovery periods since grazing ceased in the Waikato region, North Island, New Zealand. Changes in vegetation were modeled against recovery periods ranging from 0–74 y and in relation to position within fragment (edge or interior). Indigenous plant species richness increased and adventive plant species (mostly pasture herbs) richness declined with increasing recovery period; small tree and sapling density and seedling ground cover increased.

Recovery of short tussock and woody species guilds in ungrazed Festuca novae-zelandiae short tussock grassland with fertiliser or irrigation

In a Festuca novae-zelandiae short tussock grassland in South Island, New Zealand, we tested the propositions (1) that present regional trends in vascular plant species-richness in tussock grasslands are independent of current pastoral management, and (2) that grazing retards the invasion and dominance of nonnative species, particularly where soil resources are not limiting. Sheep and rabbit-grazed, ungrazed, ungrazed+fertilised and ungrazed+irrigated treatments were applied in a replicated experiment that was sampled annually from 1988 to 2000.

Cattle grazing and the regeneration of totara (Podocarpus totara var. waihoensis) on river terraces, south Westland, New Zealand

Totara-matai forests are an under-represented forest type in Westland, relative to their original extent, and require protection and enhancement where possible. This study examined the regeneration of totara on gorse-covered river terraces of the Whataroa and Waiho Rivers, on a site grazed by cattle at Whataroa, and ungrazed sites at both locations. Totara is regenerating prolifically at all sites. Tall-seedling densities were significantly higher at the grazed Whataroa site than at the ungrazed Whataroa site.

Impact of cattle on conservation land licensed for grazing in South Westland, New Zealand

Making use of existing fences as ready-made exclosures, this study aimed to assess the long-term effects of cattle grazing on forest margins. Results indicated: 1) that cattle browsing and trampling has an impact on vegetation species composition, structure and regeneration; 2) that the effects of a particular grazing regime may take many decades to dissipate; and 3) that the impacts of cattle change with stock intensity. Some plant species appeared to be highly palatable to cattle and only occurred on sites without cattle.

Declining plant species richness in the tussock grasslands of Canterbury and Otago, South Island, New Zealand

We studied vegetation change on 142 permanently marked transects spread throughout tussock grasslands of Otago and Canterbury, in areas subject to both pastoral and conservation management. The transects were established between 1982 and 1986 and remeasured between 1993 and 1999, providing a record of vegetation change at each site over an interval varying from 10 to 15 years. Each transect consisted of 50 quadrats, each 0.25m(2), in which the presence of all vascular plant species had been recorded.

Effect of exclosure on soils, biomass, plant nutrients, and vegetation, on unfertilised steeplands, Upper Waitaki District, South Island, New Zealand

We sampled soils and vegetation within and outside two sheep and rabbit exclosures, fenced in 1979, on steep sunny and shady slopes at 770 m altitude on seasonally-dry pastoral steeplands. The vegetation of sunny aspects was characterised by higher floristic diversity, annual species, and low plant cover. Here the exotic grass Anthoxanthum odoratum dominated on grazed treatments, and the exotic forb Hieracium pilosella on ungrazed. Shady aspects supported fewer, and almost entirely perennial, species.

Factors predisposing short-tussock grasslands to Hieracium invasion in Marlborough, New Zealand

The effects of environment and management on the composition of short-tussock grasslands and the abundance of the invasive weed Hieracium pilosella were investigated in two small catchments. Species composition and site factors were recorded on a total of 182 plots and the management history of each catchment was reviewed. H. pilosella was present on >80% of all plots, but was at an early stage of invasion in one catchment (H. pilosella. In both catchments H. pilosella tended to be least abundant on the wettest, driest, and most fertile soils.

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