Spinifex grassland features

Whereas other grasslands have large mammalian grazers and large predators to prey on them the spinifex grassland has termites as herbivores and lizards as the predators of the termites.

Spinifex grassland features

Average weekly water and temperature indices for selected Australian locations. Fitzpatrick and Nix, A value of 0 means that the level of that factor is so low that all grow this prevented, and a value of 1 means that there is no limitation to growth by that factor. Soils Hubble identified three important features of Australian soils.

First, the generally low nutrient status, with widespread and severe deficiencies of nitrogen and phosphorus and sometimes sulphurand varying deficiencies of trace elements copper, zinc, molybdenum, cobalt, manganese, boron. Multiple deficiencies are common and, as Morley remarked, "Australian soils are rich only in the diversity and intensity of their deficiencies.

As a result, water infiltration is often poor and water storage low. Third, over large areas, the soils have strongly weathered or differentiated profiles, including those with strong texture contrast. Good soils deep, fertile, well drained are not common and are used for cropping if the climate is suitable, leaving the poorer soils for pastures.

Livestock Sheep and cattle dominate the Australian livestock numbers, but there have been marked changes in their relative importance over the past 30 years. The majority of the sheep are Merinos for wool, but British breeds and their crosses with Merinos are important for lamb production.

The complex effects of fire

Sheep numbers peaked at million inthen declined, but rose again to million in Market prospects for wool have been poor since then and numbers declined to million in Most of the cattle are beef animals but dairying is important in wetter coastal areas and some irrigation districts, particularly in Victoria.

Cattle numbers reached a peak of 33 million inthen fell until the mid s, but have since increased to 24 million beef cattle and 3 million dairy cattle in There are important goat herds in some inland areas, and an estimated feral goat population of 4.

Wildlife Australia has large populations of wildlife, including both native species and feral populations of exotic animals. There are a number of important predators dingo, fox, wild pig, raven or crow, eagleand also a range of animals that compete for grazing.

These include a range of macropods kangaroos, wallabies and also domestic species rabbits, donkeys, horses, camels. Rabbits have been and continue to be large competitors with domestic stock, although their numbers have been reduced by myxoma virus since the s, and more recently by rabbit calicivirus.

Australia had no equivalent of the huge herds of herbivores in parts of Africa or America, and the native plants evolved under conditions of generally light grazing, which has had serious consequences for their survival under increased grazing pressures since European settlement. Social aspects and institutions People The date of settlement of Australia by humans is debated, but there have been Aborigines in Australia for over 60 years; they were primarily hunters and their major influence on the grasslands would have been through widespread use of fire, to encourage feed for their prey and to assist with hunting.

In contrast to this long period of Aboriginal occupation, Europeans only settled in Australia a little over years ago, but in this time they have had massive impacts on the vegetation, both intentional tree clearing, cropping and sown pasture introductions, fertilizer application, domestic grazing animals, etc.

Settlement was rapid and almost all suitable lands were occupied by the end of the nineteenth century. Despite this rapid spread, the population remains concentrated in major cities and coastal urban areas, with only a sparse population in the interior.

For example, the Diamantina Shire in southwest Queensland has an area of 94 km2 and had a resident population of in the Census. Political system UntilAustralia consisted of six self-governing British colonies, which federated in to become states of the Commonwealth of Australia, with democratically elected governments at national, state and local levels.SPINIFEX GRASS Spinifex thrives on the poorest, most arid soils so it can survive in the Australian desert.

Spinifex roots go down a long way: approximately 3 metres. Roots develop from the same nodes as the shoots so that each shoot has its own personal water supply to . Rufous hare-wallabies required mosaics of burnt and unburnt patches of spinifex grassland to survive in the Tanami Desert.

The dominant species are mature Triodia pungens and Plectrachne schinzii. The various stages of fire succession, and the ecotones they . Spinifex Structural Features. Onefeaturethe spinifex grass has is that its leaves are tough and spiky so it is hard to bend in the wind.

Spinifex grassland features

The leaves can cut human skin and pretty much anything that tries to harm it. The. roots. and very strong and can go very deep in the ground, approximately 3 . Sandplain spinifex hummock grassland pastures in the North-eastern Goldfields Fire has a significant influence in the vegetation of the sandplains.

Spinifex hummocks are highly flammable and are particularly prone to fire, as is the foliage of myrtaceous plants found in the heath and mallee strata.


of a spinifex clump makes good shelter for snakes, lizards, and small mammals. Even when the temperature outside climbs to forty degrees Celsius, the heart stays cool and is an excellent place for wildlife to escape the heat. As . Spinifex grass is a species of grass that is found in wet areas, usually on the coast.

The grass is native to Australia and grows about 30 centimetres tall. The roots of spinifex grass are very strong and go quite deep into the earth.

NPR Choice page