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The Center for Native Grasslands Management




Title: Grasshopper response to a 40-year experimental burning and mowing regime, with recommendations for invertebrate conservation management
Year: 1998
Author(s): Chambers, B. Q., Samways, M. J.
Source Title: Biodiversity and Conservation
Source Type: Journal
pages: 985-1012
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Grasshopper assemblages were sampled in 44 plots in each of three adjacent sites in a 40-year-old southern tall grassland experimental area in South Africa. Specific plots received particular mowing and/or burning treatments over the 40-year period. Grasshopper responses to vegetation type, and to different burning and mowing practices, were site-specific, despite the close proximity of sites. This suggests that grasshopper assemblage composition is not entirely deterministic and depends on the trajectory of plant succession. Grasshopper species richness and abundance decreased from annually to triennially burnt plots, and increased in plots mown once per year to plots mown three times per year. Burning in the first week of August (winter) was more favourable for grasshopper assemblages than burning in autumn or after the first spring rains. Mean grasshopper species richness was highest in plots mown after the first spring rains, and the mean number of individuals was highest i n plots mown early in summer. When annually burnt plots were compared with annually mown plots, grasshopper abundance and species richness were highest in the burnt plots. A rotational winter burning programme, which is practical under African conditions, is recommended for the conservation of grasshoppers and other invertebrates.
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