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

Fine-scale changes in spatial habitat use by a low-density koala population in an isolated periurban forest remnant

Gregory W. Lollback A B , J. Guy Castley A , Alexa C. Mossaz A and Jean-Marc Hero A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Environmental Futures Research Institute, School of Environment, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Qld 4222, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: g.lollback@griffith.edu.au

Australian Mammalogy - https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16036
Submitted: 1 August 2016  Accepted: 17 April 2017   Published online: 13 July 2017

Abstract

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in south-east Queensland are in decline. Although various studies have looked at broad-scale tree preference and habitat quality, there has been little attempt to quantify fine-scale activity shifts from one year to the next or examination of activity at the mesoscale. This study quantified koala activity levels in a 909-ha forest patch at Karawatha Forest Park, in south Brisbane. The Spot Assessment Technique was used to quantify activity and tree selection on 33 long-term monitoring plots in 2009 and 2010. In total, 843 trees were searched and koala pellets were found underneath 34 and 47 trees in 2009 and 2010, respectively. A higher proportion of pellets was found underneath Eucalyptus tindaliae and E. fibrosa and there was weak selection for larger trees. A low occurrence of revisits and a minor shift in activity distribution from 2009 to 2010 indicate that the koala population exists at a low density. Rapid declines in koala populations are occurring in primary habitats. Hence, stable low-density koala populations are important for maintaining genetic diversity and connectivity in fragmented urban landscapes.

Additional keywords: interpolation, PPBio, SAT, TERN Supersite.


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