Demographic responses of an arboreal marsupial, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) to a prescribed fire

Isaac, Joanne L., Valentine, Leonie E., and Goodman, Brett A. (2008) Demographic responses of an arboreal marsupial, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) to a prescribed fire. Population Ecology, 50 (1). pp. 101-109.

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Abstract

We investigated demographic responses of the common brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula, a medium-sized arboreal marsupial, after a prescribed fuel reduction burn on Magnetic Island, tropical north Queensland, Australia. Possums were live-trapped every month for 14 months before the fire and 11 months after the fire in both the burnt and unburnt areas; measurements of individuals were taken each month and demographic parameters were modelled using capture–mark–recapture data. Significant differences between the burnt and unburnt sites were found following the fire; recruitment was lower in the unburnt area, where population size also declined. In the burnt area, population size and recruitment displayed a tendency to increase after the fire, while capture probability declined, suggesting that an influx of new individuals, attracted to re-sprouting vegetation, had resulted in trap saturation. There was no detectable effect of the fire on survival, and no fire-induced mortalities were observed. We conclude that a low-intensity, prescribed, fuel-reduction burn had no obvious negative consequences for this possum population.

Item ID: 7040
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: arboreal mammal; capture-mark-recapture; population; prescribed fire; recruitment; survival; tropical biology
ISSN: 1438-390X
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2010 06:00
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 80%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 4
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