Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Selection of sap feed trees by yellow-bellied gliders (Petaurus australis) in north-eastern Queensland, Australia – implications for site-specific habitat management

S. R. Heise-Pavlov A D , T. Chizinski B and N. E. Walker C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Rainforest Studies at the School for Field Studies, Yungaburra, Qld 4872, Australia.

B Colby College, Department of Geology, 4000 Mayflower Hill Drive, Waterville, ME 04901, USA.

C University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Letters and Science, 500 Lincoln Drive, Madison WI 53706, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: sheise-pavlov@fieldstudies.org

Australian Mammalogy - https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16035
Submitted: 8 January 2016  Accepted: 9 February 2017   Published online: 14 March 2017

Abstract

Knowledge of site-specific ecological factors affecting a species’ resource selection is essential to assist in habitat management for a species’ conservation, particularly for species with narrow resource width. This study aimed to assess whether microhabitat variables affect the selection of Eucalyptus resinifera sap feed trees by yellow-bellied gliders (Petaurus australis) in north-eastern Australia. Microhabitat variables were measured in a simplified way around glider-selected and -non-selected Eucalyptus resinifera trees. Canopy cover and percentage of burnt trunk below breast height were identified as influential on feed tree selection, with feed trees showing a higher percentage of burnt trunk and a lower surrounding canopy cover. While the direct effect of fire on a potential feed tree remains to be clarified, fire may affect the structural composition of vegetation leading to lower surrounding canopy cover around potential feed trees. Thus, any forest management, such as logging and grazing should be practiced with great caution since they affect structural features of the vegetation that may contribute to the selection of feed trees by this species and may also affect its alternative food resources.

Additional keywords: canopy cover, fire, habitat management, habitat selection.


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