Effects of landscape fragmentation in agricultural areas

R. J. Hobbs, D. A. Saunders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Examines the biogeographic and ecosystem consequences of the rapid clearance of native vegetation for agriculture which has tken place in southern Australia over the past century, focusing on the central wheatbelt of Western Australia. Clearance resulted in significant reductions in the extent of native vegetation, and preferential clearing on better soils has resulted in some plant communities being poorly represented in the remnants of native vegetation. Grazing by stock has significantly altered vegetation structure, and remnants are being invaded by non-native plant species. While reduction in area of habitat and increased isolation have reduced species numbers and abundances, the invasion of rabbits and red foxes which occurred at the same time as habitat fragmentation has had an equally important influence. Changes in hydrology, nutrient flows, radiation balance and wind regime have also had marked impacts on remnant vegetation. These external factors arising in the surrounding agricultural matrix are now largely driving the dynamics of remnant areas. For successful conservation management of small remnants, management has to be tackled at a landscape scale, and integrated with agriculture. Individual remnants cannot be managed in isolation, but conservation networks have to be established which are managed in the overall context of the agricultural landscape. Important research challenges include determining design characteristics for restored landscapes which will maximize the conservation value of revegetation, and developing effective management regimes to maintain and rehabilitate remnant areas. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConservation biology in Australia and Oceania
EditorsCraig Moritz, Jiro Kikkawa
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherSurrey Beatty and Sons Pty Ltd
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)0-949324-48-5
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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