Title

The threatened status of the hollow dependent arboreal marsupial, the Greater Glider (Petauroides volans), can be explained by impacts from wildfire and selective logging

RIS ID

122612

Publication Details

McLean, C. M., Kavanagh, R. P., Penman, T. & Bradstock, R. (2018). The threatened status of the hollow dependent arboreal marsupial, the Greater Glider (Petauroides volans), can be explained by impacts from wildfire and selective logging. Forest Ecology and Management, 415-416 19-25.

Abstract

Logging and fires represent the major disturbance regimes in Eucalyptus f orests and these can have varying effects on populations of forest fauna depending on their intensity and/ or frequency. Knowledge of the effects of fires on arboreal marsupials is limited and to the best of our knowledge no previous research has considered the effect of fire frequency on populations of these species. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of fire frequency (canopy-consuming wildfires) and logging intensity on the Greater Glider, Petauroides volans, a species of hollow dependent gliding possum that has recently been listed as vulnerable to extinction under Australian biodiversity law. Surveys were completed across a selective logging intensity and fire frequency gradient in tall wet (WSF) and tall dry sclerophyll forests (DSF) in north-eastern New South Wales, Australia. Generally, P. volans was restricted to WSF, where even a single fire, 10 years prior, significantly reduced the density of P. volans in comparison to unburnt areas. Significant negative impacts from intensive logging were also detected. These effects may explain observed declines in the abundance of P. volans over much of its range as well as its scarcity in the more fire prone DSF. To counteract these effects, we recommend not implementing prescribed fire under high or greater fire weather danger conditions near high-density populations of this species, along with increased retention of hollow-bearing trees during timber harvesting and/ or wider riparian buffers in areas where high density populations of P. volans occur.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.01.048