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Succession in Bird and Plant Communities over a 24-Year Chronosequence of Mine Rehabilitation in the Australian Monsoon Tropics

Brady, Christopher Joseph and Noske, Richard Alfred (2010). Succession in Bird and Plant Communities over a 24-Year Chronosequence of Mine Rehabilitation in the Australian Monsoon Tropics. Restoration Ecology,18(6):855-864.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 80270966xPUB27
Title Succession in Bird and Plant Communities over a 24-Year Chronosequence of Mine Rehabilitation in the Australian Monsoon Tropics
Author Brady, Christopher Joseph
Noske, Richard Alfred
Journal Name Restoration Ecology
Publication Date 2010
Volume Number 18
Issue Number 6
ISSN 1526-100X   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-78049463687
Start Page 855
End Page 864
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication US
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract We compared the bird and woody plant communities of 2 to 24-year-old rehabilitation areas at Gove bauxite mine (20 km2) in the seasonal tropics of northern Australia, where Alcan has maintained a consistent rehabilitation program since it began operation in 1974. Birds were censused every second month over 2 years in 30 widely separated 0.25-ha plots, representing five chronosequence stages. These were also compared with six ("off-mine") plots adjacent to the mine, which represented the annually burnt open forest typical of the region. Short-lived Acacias dominated the early chronosequence stages, whereas eucalypts dominated in later stages. Mean avian species richness and abundance increased significantly along the chronosequence, with values for the oldest rehabilitation plots being very similar to those for the off-mine plots. However, analyses of similarity revealed that the bird communities of the oldest rehabilitation plots were distinct from those of the off-mine plots, indicating that succession in rehabilitation areas is not following a direct trajectory toward the native open forest surrounding the mine. Several hollow-nesting bird species were scarce or absent in the rehabilitation areas, probably reflecting the absence of older hollow-bearing trees. Many differences between the rehabilitation and the off-mine areas in vegetation structure, woody flora, and avifauna appear to be related to the exclusion of fire from the minesite. We recommend the initiation of experiments designed to assess the effects of fire on the biota but caution against the use of fires for the majority of rehabilitation areas.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00511.x   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Fri, 09 Apr 2010, 08:45:05 CST by Sarena Wegener