Year

2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

ANZSRC / FoR Code

0502 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT, 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management

Department

School of Earth & Environmental Science

Advisor(s)

Laurie Chisholm

Abstract

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal mammal with specific niche habitat requirements that is exposed to increasing threats and compounding pressures from habitat loss across its range. An investigation of overall habitat quality was conducted for a low-density koala population on the South Coast of NSW which is potentially on the brink of localised extinction. Data for this investigation was provided from faecal pellet surveys which have attempted to quantify the number of koalas remaining in the area however there has been limited assessment of habitat requirements and tree species preferences.

By conducting a G-test for Independence of strike rates and a statistical analysis of tree usage and availability individual tree species preferences were derived. This was then applied spatially to model the extent of adequate habitat using the Inverse Distance Weighted Interpolation technique within ArcMap 10. From a fragmentation assessment of the size and configuration of habitat patches in relation to active koala survey points, the overall quality of the habitat was investigated. It was found that there is a large proportion of adequate habitat across the region, especially within close proximity to known locations of koalas. The trees that are being utilised differ substantially to those listed as primary feed trees for the region, highlighting the need for localised assessment of habitat requirements in order to create informed plans of management.

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