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Land 2013, 2(1), 20-36; doi:10.3390/land2010020
Article

The Effectiveness of Conservation Reserves: Land Tenure Impacts upon Biodiversity across Extensive Natural Landscapes in the Tropical Savannahs of the Northern Territory, Australia

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Received: 27 November 2012; in revised form: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
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Abstract: This study examines whether there is a biodiversity benefit (“dividend”) associated with the existence and management of conservation reserves in the extensive and largely natural landscape of northern Australia. Species richness and abundance of vertebrate fauna and the intensity of a range of disturbance factors were compared across a set of 967 sampled quadrats, located either in pastoral lands, Indigenous lands or conservation reserves, with all sampled quadrats within a single vegetation type (open forests and savannah woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus miniata and/or E. tetrodonta). The relationships with land tenure varied between major taxonomic groups, but generally (and particularly for threatened species) values were highest for conservation reserves. This “biodiversity dividend” associated with conservation reserves is considered to be due to the effects of management rather than because conservation reserves were established on lands supporting atypically high conservation values. The impact of weeds and (unsurprisingly) livestock was greatest on pastoral lands, and pig impact was greatest in conservation reserves. Although pastoral and Indigenous lands supported lower biodiversity tallies than reserved lands, the conservation values of reserved lands in this region are probably substantially supported by the maintenance of relatively intact ecological systems across all lands.
Keywords: indigenous land management; national park; biodiversity; fire; pastoralism; tropical savannah; threatened species indigenous land management; national park; biodiversity; fire; pastoralism; tropical savannah; threatened species
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Woinarski, J.C.; Green, J.; Fisher, A.; Ensbey, M.; Mackey, B. The Effectiveness of Conservation Reserves: Land Tenure Impacts upon Biodiversity across Extensive Natural Landscapes in the Tropical Savannahs of the Northern Territory, Australia. Land 2013, 2, 20-36.

AMA Style

Woinarski JC, Green J, Fisher A, Ensbey M, Mackey B. The Effectiveness of Conservation Reserves: Land Tenure Impacts upon Biodiversity across Extensive Natural Landscapes in the Tropical Savannahs of the Northern Territory, Australia. Land. 2013; 2(1):20-36.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Woinarski, John C.; Green, Jon; Fisher, Alaric; Ensbey, Michelle; Mackey, Brendan. 2013. "The Effectiveness of Conservation Reserves: Land Tenure Impacts upon Biodiversity across Extensive Natural Landscapes in the Tropical Savannahs of the Northern Territory, Australia." Land 2, no. 1: 20-36.

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