|Title||Contribution of pits dug by goannas (Varanus gouldii) to the dynamics of banded mulga landscapes in eastern Australia|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1998|
|Journal||Journal of Arid Environments|
|Date Published||December 1, 1998|
|ARIS Log Number||150367|
|Keywords||Australia, banded vegetation, goannas, grazing, landscapes, lizard, pits, seeds|
The densities of pits made by goannas Varanus gouldii were estimated in the three distinct zones of banded mulga landscapes (erosion slope, interception zone, and mulga grove) in paddocks of a grazing study in northwestern New South Wales, Australia. In lightly and moderately grazed paddocks, soil pits were significantly more abundant in the interception zones (M = 119•7m to the -2 degree) than in the groves and erosion slopes (M = 16•m to the -2 degree). In the overgrazed paddock, there were no differences in densities of pits in any of the zones. In the groves and erosion slopes, approximately 70-80% of the pits contained litter, seeds, and fruits. However, on the erosion slopes, less than 20% of the pits contained litter and seeds. The data support the hypothesis that soil disturbance by Varanus lizards produces a positive feedback mechanism for the viability of the interception zone and the functioning of banded vegetation landscapes.