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The distribution and conservation status of Carpentarian grasswrens (Amytornis dorotheae), with reference to prevailing fire patterns

Harrington, Graham N. and Murphy, Stephen A. (2015). The distribution and conservation status of Carpentarian grasswrens (Amytornis dorotheae), with reference to prevailing fire patterns. Pacific Conservation Biology,21(4):291-297.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 84376995xPUB322
Title The distribution and conservation status of Carpentarian grasswrens (Amytornis dorotheae), with reference to prevailing fire patterns
Author Harrington, Graham N.
Murphy, Stephen A.
Journal Name Pacific Conservation Biology
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 21
Issue Number 4
ISSN 1038-2097   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84953322955
Start Page 291
End Page 297
Total Pages 7
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract The Carpentarian grasswren (Amytornis dorotheae) is a small, shy passerine patchily distributed through Triodia systems in the central and southern parts of Australia’s tropical savannas. Population decline has been reported in the Northern Territory, presumably due to mismanaged fire. The species is considered Endangered in the Northern Territory and Near Threatened in Queensland, but it is not listed Federally. Here, we present the results of over 3000 surveys conducted between 2008 and 2013. We show that Carpentarian grasswrens are divided into four populations, although the northernmost one (Borroloola) now appears to be extinct. The Area of Occupancy for the southernmost population appears to have declined by 28%, while only small numbers of isolated birds now occur at the two intervening populations. Our data suggest that the four populations appear to be at different stages on an extinction pathway, from population decline, to fragmentation and isolation, to extinction, and this seems to be related to worsening fire patterns as one moves northwards. We suggest that the Carpentarian grasswren be listed as Vulnerable at the State and Federal level, and that urgent investment in long-term regional fire management using prescribed burning is required to reverse the declines in the extant populations. For the presumed extinct Borroloola population, restoration will probably need to involve translocation coupled with effective fire management.
Keywords Extinction
Fire Management
Savannas
Threatened species
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PC15021   (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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