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The impact of land-use intensification o The impact of land-use intensification o... - Complex Object ()
The impact of land-use intensification on the conservation management of native forest remnants embedded within production landscapes / Lisa H. Denmead
Land-use intensification is increasing worldwide as the need for resources grows along with the human population. The increased inputs and animal stocking rates that are part of increasing yields in production systems have negative impacts on farmland. However, farmer inputs are not static and can spill-over into adjacent natural systems, sometimes with harmful consequences. Actions taken to spare land for conservation will be compromised if spill-over from surrounding land-use inhibits recovery of the system. In the first half of my thesis I investigated the relative benefits of livestock exclusion for conservation of native forest remnants embedded within production landscapes of varying land-use intensity in the Waikato region, New Zealand. I measured detritivore invertebrate communities and leaf-litter decomposition rates in 11 fenced and 10 unfenced native forest remnants on farmland that varied in land-use intensity. Livestock exclusion was highly beneficial to detritivore communities under all land-use intensities. But surprisingly, the observed variation in detritivore community composition was independent of changes in land-use intensification in both fenced and unfenced remnants and therefore the relative benefit of fencing did not change with landuse intensity. These results have positive implications for land spared for conservation in New Zealand.
I tested the mechanistic drivers of livestock trampling impacts on land snail communities in the second half of my thesis, using an artificial trampling experiment conducted in a fenced forest remnant. I used a factorial combination of litter manipulation and trampling treatments to partition different causal drivers of livestock impacts on land snail communities, and relate treatment differences to covariance in five environmental variables which are impacted by livestock. Even the lowest intensity treatment caused severe changes to snail communities. The underlying drivers varied, but are primarily due to changes in litter mass and the effects of unknown mediating variables that were not measured in the experiment. The results suggest that even a minimal amount of stock access will cause significant impacts on snail communities, and should be discouraged. The results also further support the need to maintain livestock exclusion as a priority conservation management action for forest remnants on farmland.
Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Western Australia, 2012
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