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Geographic patterns and correlates of the decline of granivorous birds in northern Australia

Franklin, Donald C., Whitehead, P., Pardon, G., Matthews, J., Mcmahon, P. and Mcintyre, D. (2005). Geographic patterns and correlates of the decline of granivorous birds in northern Australia. Wildlife Research,32(5):399-408.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 73283902xPUB69
Title Geographic patterns and correlates of the decline of granivorous birds in northern Australia
Author Franklin, Donald C.
Whitehead, P.
Pardon, G.
Matthews, J.
Mcmahon, P.
Mcintyre, D.
Journal Name Wildlife Research
Publication Date 2005
Volume Number 32
Issue Number 5
ISSN 1035-3712   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-25144504909
Start Page 399
End Page 408
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Darwin, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Field of Research 0502 - Environmental Science and Management
0608 - Zoology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract A geographic index of the decline in the distribution and abundance of granivorous birds in tropical northern Australia shows that declines are greatest in Queensland and especially in the south-eastern tropics and in inland areas, and lowest in the north Kimberley and east Arnhem districts. In this paper, we use generalised linear models to investigate interrelationships among an index of decline in 1 degrees by 1 degrees cells and measures of grazing intensity and contemporary patterns of burning, together with the environmental variables of rainfall, vegetation and topographic patterning in the landscape. Grazing intensity was the single strongest human effect but strong correlations between grazing intensity and other human influences suggest that these may have been subsumed within the grazing intensity measure. Impacts of grazing may be worse where pastoral settlement occurred earlier. Topographic variation appeared to be a mitigating effect, suggesting a role for 'topographic refuges' from human activities. Relationships among granivore declines, grazing and rainfall are difficult to disentangle using inferential statistics, but a consistent effect is that declines are more severe in areas with greater year-to-year variation in rainfall. We do not suggest that our analyses are conclusive. However, they do support the proposition that better understanding of the causes of decline at finer spatial scales will emerge most strongly in studies that link habitat quality with granivore demography at inland sites of highly variable year-to-year rainfall and with strongly contrasting grazing histories.
Keywords aboriginal fire regimes
yinberrie hills area
northeastern australia
monsoonal australia
erythrura-gouldiae
vertebrate fauna
dry tropics
top end
savanna
territory
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR05052   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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