Modelling responses of native plants to agricultural intensification

Josh Dorrough and I recently published a paper describing our analysis of a large-scale data set on the impacts of added phosphorous and grazing intensity on the occurence of plants in agricultural landscapes of south-eastern Australia in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Using a Bayesian heirarchical analysis, we were able to show that the occurences of individual plant species were strongly dependent on origins (native vs. exotic), life-histories (perennial vs. annual) and growth forms. In general, native annual plants (particularly geophytes and ferns), were most negatively impacted by agricultural intensification, while exotic, perennial plants benefited most.

We are currently applying the statistical methods developed in this project to predicting the impacts of secondary salinisation on riparian plants – a manuscript on this work will be ready for submission soon.

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