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Determinants of survival for the northern brown bandicoot under a landscape-scale fire experiment

Pardon, Lloyd G., Brook, Barry W., Griffiths, Anthony D. and Braithwaite, R. W. (2003). Determinants of survival for the northern brown bandicoot under a landscape-scale fire experiment. Journal of Animal Ecology,72(1):106-115.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Determinants of survival for the northern brown bandicoot under a landscape-scale fire experiment
Author Pardon, Lloyd G.
Brook, Barry W.
Griffiths, Anthony D.
Braithwaite, R. W.
Journal Name Journal of Animal Ecology
Publication Date 2003
Volume Number 72
Issue Number 1
ISSN 0021-8790   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0037281737
Start Page 106
End Page 115
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract 1. More than half of all Australian bandicoot species (family Peramelidae) are listed by the IUCN as extinct or threatened and changed fire regimes in arid and semi-arid Australia have been identified as an important agent in their decline. The northern brown bandicoot is currently one of Australia's most common bandicoots, but their continued persistence in the tropical savannas cannot be taken for granted. Previous studies in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory have shown this species to be prone to sudden declines in abundance, possibly linked to the occurrence of intense fires. 2. Here we examine the impact of four experimental fire management regimes (fire prevention, early dry season burning, late dry season burning and progressive burning several times through the dry season) on survival of the northern brown bandicoot. The analysis is based on capture-mark-recapture data obtained during a landscape-scale fire experiment conducted at Kapalga, in Kakadu National Park from 1989 to 1995. 3. All experimental fire treatments (including total fire exclusion) were associated with decline in survival rates over time, indicating that none of the tested approaches were appropriate for this species. Burning in the late dry season or progressively throughout the dry season produced substantially more severe declines in survival than did early dry season fires or fire exclusion. 4. Fire regime was found to be the most important determinant of bandicoot survival, far exceeding other factors such as gender, age, vegetation type, rainfall and season, all of which had comparatively little influence. The results demonstrate the importance of the frequency and seasonal timing of fires in determining the survival of bandicoots and suggest that spatially uniform and temporally invariant fire regimes are inappropriate for bandicoot conservation in the north Australian savannas.
Keywords akaike information criterion
capture-mark-recapture analysis
fire management
tropical savanna
marked animals
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