Seedling recruitment of the exotic grass Andropogon gayanus (Poaceae) in northern Australia

Seedling recruitment of the exotic grass Andropogon gayanus (Poaceae) in northern Australia

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsFlores, TA, Setterfield, SA, Douglas, MM
JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
Pagination243 - 249
Date Published01/01/05

Andropogon gayanus Kunth. (Gamba grass), a tall perennial grass from Africa, is invading savanna ecosystems in northern Australia. This study investigated A. gayanus recruitment to determine the habitats at risk of invasion and to provide recommendations for its management. A. gayanus is able to establish and spread into new areas because of its high seed production (averaging 70 000 seeds m-2) and ability to establish across a range of habitats: from open woodlands on relatively dry lateritic soils to the more closed forests on black soil of the floodplain margins. Seedling emergence occurred in the absence of soil cultivation, although soil cultivation did increase emergence in the wetter habitats (Melaleuca uplands and floodplain margins). Seedling survival was high in the savanna (∼90%) but low in the wetter habitats owing to wet-season inundation. A seed longevity trial based on burying seed in the field and retrieving between 1 and 12 months after burial showed that less than 1% of seeds survived in the seedbank after 12 months. Effective control programs are needed immediately because of the vast area and range of habitats in northern Australia that could potentially be invaded by A. gayanus. Management that can limit site disturbance and seed production, and can incorporate follow-up control for one to two years, should be an important part of an A. gayanus control strategy.



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