The influence of time since fire and distance from fire boundary on the distribution and abundance of arboreal marsupials in Eucalyptus regnans-dominated forest in the Central Highlands of Victoria Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The impact of time since fire after two consecutive wildfires 44 years apart (1939 and 1983) within the same area, and the distance from the fire boundary (<100 m or 500-2000 m), were investigated in relation to the distribution and abundance of arboreal marsupials in 1994. Arboreal marsupials were censused by stagwatching and spotlighting in two relatively young age classes of mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) dominated forest in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Five species of arboreal marsupial were detected, but only three were detected in sufficient numbers to determine habitat preferences. Petauroides volans (greater glider) was statistically more abundant in 1939 regrowth forests, while Trichosurus caninus (mountain brushtail possum) showed no significant preference for either age class of forest. All but one record of Gymnobelideus leadbeateri (Leadbeater's possum) came from young forest, though the effect of age-class was not statistically significant. Distance from fire boundary explained little or no variation in mammal distribution or abundance. While the actual number of hollow-bearing trees was similar in both age classes of forest, the long-term lifespan of hollow-bearing trees in more recently burnt forest is predicted to be lower than in unburnt or not recently burnt forest. Post-fire salvage logging following the 1983 wildfires appears to have reduced the number of hollow-bearing trees at sites burnt in 1983.

publication date

  • 2002

has subject area