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Changes in vegetation sand floristics under a powerline easement and implications for vegetation management
journal contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by T Meers, Robyn Adams
Utility corridors such as powerlines are widespread linear easements of highly modified vegetation which often fragment natural areas of conservation significance. Vegetation management along these easements is aimed at modifying vegetation structure by the removal of all tall shrubs and trees, which may have adverse impacts on flora and fauna diversity. Victoria's Bunyip State Park is bisected by a high voltage powerline easement which is managed by a four year slashing cycle. Repeated slashing has altered plant species composition and structure of the drier slope and ridge vegetation compared to unslashed adjacent Open Forest vegetation, but Wet Heath within the management zone has remained largely unmodified. At a broad level, plant species diversity in the easement is increased, and higher vegetation density has created small mammal habitat. The powerline easement did not appear to facilitate weed invasion. Vegetation management by repeated slashing has altered the vegetation, but does not appear to have had adverse conservation impacts on local plant and small mammal diversity.