The response of an arboreal mammal to livestock grazing is habitat dependant

Neilly, Heather, and Schwarzkopf, Lin (2017) The response of an arboreal mammal to livestock grazing is habitat dependant. Scientific Reports, 7.

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Abstract

Inappropriate livestock grazing is implicated in the decline of vertebrate fauna species globally. Faunal responses to grazing can interact with the vegetation community in which they occur. We measured the response of an arboreal marsupial, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula vulpecula) to different cattle grazing strategies and vegetation types, and examined whether micro-habitat selection is driving this response. We hypothesised that where arboreal habitat is intact, brushtail possums would be resistant to the impacts of heavy grazing. We conducted a mark-recapture survey among four grazing treatments and in two vegetation types (Box and Ironbark), at a 20-year grazing trial in northern Australia. We found that brushtail possums were resistant to the impact of heavy grazing in both vegetation types, but preferred the heavy grazing treatment in the Box vegetation type. Complex arboreal habitat and low ground cover was preferred, and high grass cover and low tree species richness avoided. Most individuals exclusively used one vegetation type, with few using both, suggesting a 'matrix' vegetation between the Box and Ironbark may be creating a movement barrier. Vegetation type should provide a context for determining the benefits to arboreal wildlife of adopting a particular grazing management strategy.

Item ID: 51975
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
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Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

ISSN: 2045-2322
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2018 08:03
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management @ 100%
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