Land-use intensification is increasing worldwide as the need for resources grows along with the human population. The increased inputs and animal stocking rates that are part of increasing yields in production systems have negative impacts on farmland. However, farmer inputs are not static and can spill-over into adjacent natural systems, sometimes with harmful consequences. Actions taken to spare land for conservation will be compromised if spill-over from surrounding land-use inhibits recovery of the system. In the first half of my thesis I investigated the relative benefits of livestock exclusion for conservation of native forest remnants embedded within production landscapes of varying land-use intensity in the Waikato region, New Zealand. I measured detritivore invertebrate communities and leaf-litter decomposition rates in 11 fenced and 10 unfenced native forest remnants on farmland that varied in land-use intensity. Livestock exclusion was highly beneficial to detritivore communities under all land-use intensities. But surprisingly, the observed variation in detritivore community composition was independent of changes in land-use intensification in both fenced and unfenced remnants and therefore the relative benefit of fencing did not change with landuse intensity. These results have positive implications for land spared for conservation in New Zealand.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2012|