Harvesting as an alternative to burning for managing spinifex grasslands in Australia

Exciting new publication led by Harshi Gamage University of Queensland

We know so little about our very special and widespread endemic grass Spinifex (Triodia spp.). Harvesting of this species close to desert settlements is being considered for sourcing biomaterials for sustainable desert living but also to reduce the risk and occurrence of wildfires. What is not know is whether this can be sustainable without the loss of biodiversity. We compared the effects of burning and harvesting over three years and found no significant difference in biodiversity, although germination tests showed that fire was essential for 20% of the species surveyed. Our findings suggest that harvesting may be a viable new industry for desert communities.

 

Please follow this link to read Harshi’s manuscript http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ae/2014/430431/abs/

Spinifex seed bank (photo credit Harshi Gamage)

 

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