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Alpine road colonisation: An update



A wide road verge on the Bogong High Plains near Falls Creek (north-eastern Victoria), stabilised with exotic species in the late 1950s, was monitored for species composition and cover between 1989 and 2010. Following the removal of cattle grazing in 1991, the cover and species richness of native shrubs, forbs and grasses increased on the verge. Changes were initially slow, but by 1999, they were profound. The cover of exotic species decreased over the same period, but the species richness of exotic species remained unchanged. A wildfire in 2003 did not alter the trajectories of change. Although native species are proving to be competitive, the exotic rhizomic grass Brown-top Bent (Agrostis capillaris) has been very persistent and is still locally dominant. Feral horses and rabbits are future threats to the continued colonisation by native species.