Does pedestrian traffic affect the composition of ?bush bird? assemblages? Academic Article uri icon


  • Outdoor recreational activities (e.g., bushwalking and bird-watching) can increase participants? environmental awareness, but can also cause environmental damage and impact negatively on wildlife if conducted irresponsibly and/or in large numbers. A field experiment with a before-after-control-impact design conducted in Wyperfeld National Park, Victoria determined whether simulated bushwalking by researchers over a 4-week period had an immediate impact on the composition of breeding bird assemblages on ten 1-ha mallee plots. Birds were surveyed with point counts preand post-intrusion. Species richness, diversity and composition of bird assemblages were unaffected by the pedestrian traffic regime imposed. Results suggest that normal pedestrian traffic in spring and summer may not influence ?bush bird? assemblage composition very markedly in the short-term in Victorian parks. However, the birds could have responded to intrusion, but less dramatically than by leaving the plots. That bushwalking and allied activities may have other adverse effects on the behaviour and physiology of Australian ?bush birds? still needs to be investigated.

publication date

  • 2008

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