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Modelling strategies for the management of the critically endangered Carpentarian rock-rat (Zyzomys palatalis) of northern Australia

Brook, Barry W., Griffiths, Anthony D. and Puckey, H. L. (2002). Modelling strategies for the management of the critically endangered Carpentarian rock-rat (Zyzomys palatalis) of northern Australia. Journal of Environmental Management,65(4):355-368.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Modelling strategies for the management of the critically endangered Carpentarian rock-rat (Zyzomys palatalis) of northern Australia
Author Brook, Barry W.
Griffiths, Anthony D.
Puckey, H. L.
Journal Name Journal of Environmental Management
Publication Date 2002
Volume Number 65
Issue Number 4
ISSN 0301-4797   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 355
End Page 368
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication London, England, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The Carpentarian rock-rat (Zyzomys palatalis) is a critically endangered endemic rodent known from only four sandstone gorges in the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, Australia. These gorges harbour thickets of monsoon rainforest and broadleaf woodland, surrounded by a Eucalypt savanna matrix. The long-term persistence of Z. palatalis is threatened by altered fire regimes, grazing by feral animals and stock, weed intrusion, and the stochastic hazards associated with small, fragmented populations. To assess the relative importance of these threats and develop practical management options, a population and habitat simulation model was developed, based on the best existing data. Population viability was predicted to be highly sensitive to the frequency of hot, late dry-season fires. Progressive habitat degradation (due predominantly to intense late dry-season fires) is likely to substantially reduce population size and lead to the probable extinction of the species within the next 100 years. The most effective management strategy to counteract this threat would be regular, controlled, fuel reduction bums in the vegetation around the gorge entrances during the early dry season. Establishing a new population (through translocation of captive-bred individuals) would not appreciably reduce extinction risk, but could provide valuable additional data on the impact of threats, if conducted as an adaptive management experiment.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jema.2002.0561   (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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