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By David A Norton; Nick Reid

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This is probably because the outcomes for native plants are less spectacular than for fauna (native species plantings excepted). The prior history of cropping, sown pasture and fertiliser use, and commercial stocking rates, coupled with the soil disturbance and use of herbicides and fertilisers to establish trees on farms, means that the understorey plants that volunteer beneath planted trees and shrubs tend to be species favoured by soil disturbance and nutrient enrichment. g. weeping ricegrass in south-eastern Australia), they are unlikely to be decreaser plants of high conservation value.

Many of the weeds of agriculture in Australia and New Zealand are weeds in similar situations in their countries of origin in the northern hemisphere, South America or southern Africa. Some have also become major environmental weeds more generally in their new homes in southern lands, especially in the absence of ungulate grazing, which is an important check on their abundance in their home ranges. 3 A cc i d e n t s o f h i s to r y, fa r m i n g a n d t h e i m pa c t o n b i o d i v e r s i t y A spectrum of farming systems Farming systems in Australia and New Zealand can be characterised in terms of three key attributes of the dominant plant species: longevity (annual or perennial), growth form (tree, shrub, grass or forb) and origin (native or introduced), as well as the source of water used for production (rainfed or irrigated).

102 The small remnants of native forest are insufficient foraging areas for many birds especially in winter, and only those species able to forage in farmland and adjacent urban areas are able to survive in substantial numbers. Birds with more restricted habitat requirements are resource-limited during winter and are either very scarce or absent. It is possible to predict with reasonable accuracy the sorts of species that will be lost from remnants of habitat in agricultural landscapes from first principles.

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