Author(s): S. Daryanto & D. J. Eldridge
Encroachment of shrubs into open woodland is a global phenomenon affecting
Encroachment generally reduces pastoral productivity by
reducing grass cover for livestock.
Consequently, a range of mechanical methods
such as ploughing have been used in an attempt to remove encroaching shrubs.
Apart from the high cost, ploughing has been shown to have deleterious and
often inconsistent effects on woodland ecosystems.
Our work showed that soil
under shrub patches contain generally higher levels of nutrients and are preferred
sites of animal disturbance.
However, ploughing and grazing reduced the number
of vegetated patches, altered landscape heterogeneity, and often had speciesspecific
effects, potentially leading to a dominance of ploughing- or grazingresistant
With ploughing resulting in reductions in soil nutrients,
long–term increases in shrub density rather than reductions, and the lack of
sustained grass cover, we suggest that mechanical shrub removal is an
inappropriate method for managing shrub-encroached woodlands.
In the context
of pastoralism, alternative approaches such as time-controlled grazing or
rotational grazing (similar to transhumant systems) would be more appropriate
An alternative perspective, which is increasing in
popularity, is to value encroached woodlands in terms of the ecosystem benefits
These include habitat for animals, sinks for carbon dioxide,
ecotourism and water supplies.
ploughing, grazing, arid, shrubs, soil disturbance, woodland,
Australia, spatial distribution, land management.
Size: 558 kb
Paper DOI: 10.2495/RAV110041
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This paper can be found in the following bookManagement of Natural Resources, Sustainable Development and Ecological Hazards IIIBuy