Use by small mammals of a chronosequence of tropical rainforest revegetation

Whitehead, Tegan, Goosem, Miriam, and Preece, Noel D. (2014) Use by small mammals of a chronosequence of tropical rainforest revegetation. Wildlife Research, 41 (3). pp. 233-242.

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Context: The conversion of tropical rainforest to grazing pasture results in a drastic change in small-mammal community composition. Restoring the landscape through ecological revegetation is thus an increasingly important management technique to conserve rainforest mammals.

Aims: This study aimed to determine the habitat ages at which species of small mammals recolonised revegetated habitats on the southern Atherton Tablelands, north-eastern Queensland, Australia. We focussed on changes in rainforest mammal abundance and diversity with increasing habitat age.

Methods: Small-mammal trapping and mark–recapture techniques investigated mammal diversity, abundance and community composition within remnant rainforest, three age classes of ecological revegetation and abandoned grazing pasture.

Key results: Small-mammal community composition differed between remnant rainforest and abandoned grazing pasture. The pasture and 3-year old revegetated sites were similar in composition, both lacking rainforest small mammals. Six- and 7-year old revegetation plantings provided suboptimal habitat for both rainforest and grassland mammals, whereas 16- and 22-year old revegetated habitats were dominated by rainforest species, with some individuals being frequently recaptured.

Conclusions: As revegetated habitats aged, the small-mammal community composition transitioned from a grassland-like composition to a community dominated by rainforest species.

Implications: Although rainforest small mammals were very occasionally captured within the 6- and 7-year old habitats, revegetated plantings were not dominated by rainforest species until the habitat was 16 years old. This highlights the importance of commencing revegetation as early as possible to minimise future population declines and maximise the conservation of rainforest mammals.

Item ID: 35149
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5494
Keywords: revegetation; small mammals; rainforest; community composition; mammal abundance; chronosequence; pasture; habitat age
Additional Information:

Funders: Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA), School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University (JCU), Australian Research Council (ARC), Biodiversity Fund
Projects and Grants: Wet Tropics Management Authority - Whitehead, ARC Linkage Grant LP110201093, ARC Linkage Grant LP0989161
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2014 06:50
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050207 Environmental Rehabilitation (excl Bioremediation) @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961203 Rehabilitation of Degraded Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
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