Charles Darwin University

CDU eSpace
Institutional Repository

 
CDU Staff and Student only
 

Fruit Resources, Frugivore Movements and Landscape Scale Conservation in Monsoon Rainforests of Northern Australia

Bach, Christine and Price, Owen (2005). Fruit Resources, Frugivore Movements and Landscape Scale Conservation in Monsoon Rainforests of Northern Australia. In: Gorman, Julian, Petheram, Lisa and Vigilante, Tom 12th Annual Conference of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Darwin, NT, 1-3 December 1999.

Document type: Conference Paper
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar

Author Bach, Christine
Price, Owen
Title Fruit Resources, Frugivore Movements and Landscape Scale Conservation in Monsoon Rainforests of Northern Australia
Conference Name 12th Annual Conference of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society
Conference Location Darwin, NT
Conference Dates 1-3 December 1999
Conference Publication Title Old Ways, New Ways; Wildlife Management in Northern Australia: Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the Australasian Wildlife management Society
Editor Gorman, Julian
Petheram, Lisa
Vigilante, Tom
Place of Publication Darwin, NT
Publisher CDU Press and School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University
Publication Year 2005
ISBN 0-9757614-7-1   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 94
End Page 111
Total Pages 18
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DEST)
Abstract Monsoon rainforests occur as small, scattered patches across most of northern Australia within a landscape dominated by Eucalypt savannas. The majority of plant species in these patches produce fleshy fruit, which are predominantly dipersed by birds and bats. This study examined the spatial and temporal distribution of fruit resources in rainforests and the movement patterns of the frugivores, in an attempt to understand how populations are maintained in such a fragmented ecosystem. Fruiting was concentrated in the wet season, but fruiting peaks of two rainforest types (wet monsoon forest - WMF and dry monsoon forest - DMF) were separated by 3-4 months. WMF margins and aseasonal species such as Ficus virens were inportant food resources during the dry season. Fruit production varied considerably on a spatial and temporal scale, so that among the 16 study sites, no two patches had the same pattern of fruit avaibility. While monsoon rainforests were the major fruit resources during the wet season, non-rainforest habitats provided flower resources during the dry season. Birds track fruit resources, with the abubdance of some species in patches fluctuating in response to fruiting patterns, and individuals of two species regularly moving between patches up to 10km apart. Intra and inter-patch seed dispersal was confirmed using seed baskets. The occurrence of three bird species among 149 surveyed patches, showed a positive relationship to the percentage of rainforest to the percentage of rainforest in the landscape within 50km. Plant species richness showed a similar relationship among 1000 patches. These results complement published studies of Black Flying-fox movements and the genetics of two tree species conducted alongside this study. The flying-foxes move on an even larger scale than the birds, and feed from a seasonal succession of habitats. The two tree species maintain meta-populations among patches, but one of them suffered loss of genetic diversity in regions where rainforest was less extensive. Frugivores require access to many patches over large areas, and by carrying seed, they maintain plant meta-populations. Conservation actions must protect intact networks of patches, over areas up to 50km radius. The results have implications for further fragmentation of Northern Territory (NT) rainforests, for other ecosystems undergoing fragmentation, and for mobile species.
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 101 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Fri, 12 Sep 2008, 08:35:25 CST by Administrator