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Use by small mammals of a chronosequence of tropical rainforest revegetation

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

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 75039815xPUB556
Title Use by small mammals of a chronosequence of tropical rainforest revegetation
Author Whitehead, Tegan
Goosem, Miriam
Preece, Noel
Journal Name Wildlife Research
Publication Date 2014
Volume Number 41
Issue Number 3
ISSN 1035-3712   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84907802681
Start Page 233
End Page 242
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract 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.

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.
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Created: Wed, 19 Aug 2015, 12:18:01 CST