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

Comparison of microhabitat use in young regrowth and unlogged forest by the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus)

Bradley Law A D , Mark Chidel A B , Alf Britton C and Caragh Threlfall A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Forest Science Unit, NSW Department of Industry – Lands, Locked Bag 5123, Parramatta, NSW 2124, Australia.

B Present address: The Hills Shire Council, PO Box 7064, Baulkham Hills 2153, Australia.

C Forestry Corporation NSW, PO Box 168, Wauchope, NSW 2446, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: brad.law@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Australian Mammalogy - https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16041
Submitted: 23 August 2016  Accepted: 20 January 2017   Published online: 21 February 2017

Abstract

We describe microhabitat use and response to disturbance by the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus) in heathy dry sclerophyll forest using spool-and-line-tracking. We compared unlogged forest with forest regenerating four years after selective logging. Structural and floristic attributes were scored along spool lines and compared with a random line for each possum. We found that possums (n = 23) selected areas based on both structural and floristic attributes. Possums selected dense understorey, especially that comprising flowering hairpin banksia (Banksia spinulosa) and Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa). Fallen logs were not selected by nocturnally active possums. Spool lines in regrowth forest had less eucalypt cover and more understorey cover (e.g. D. excelsa and B. spinulosa) than unlogged forest. Conversely, cover of Banksia serrata was less in regrowth than unlogged forest. Spool lines were commonly found both at ground level (mean = 52–57% of lengths) and above the ground (43–48% of lengths). There was no difference in the mean spool height between the logging treatments (regrowth: 0.47 ± 0.14 m; unlogged: 0.49 ± 0.10 m; ± s.e.). Overall, our results suggest that the dense, flowering understorey that regenerates after selective logging is suitable for use and is the primary attribute selected by active pygmy-possums.

Additional keywords: banksia, coarse woody debris, nectar, regrowth, spools.


References

Bladon, R. V., Dickman, C. R., and Hume, I. D. (2002). Effects of habitat fragmentation on the demography, movements and social organisation of the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus) in northern New South Wales. Wildlife Research 29, 105–116.
Effects of habitat fragmentation on the demography, movements and social organisation of the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus) in northern New South Wales.CrossRef |

Bowen, M., and Goldingay, R. L. (2000). Distribution and status of the eastern pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus) in New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy 21, 153–164.

Burnham, K. P. and Anderson, D. R. (2002). ‘Model Selection and Multimodel Inference: A Practical Information-Theoretic Approach.’ 2nd edn. (Springer-Verlag: New York.)

Carthew, S. M. (1994). Foraging behaviour of marsupial pollinators in a population of Banksia spinulosa. Oikos 69, 133–139.
Foraging behaviour of marsupial pollinators in a population of Banksia spinulosa.CrossRef |

Fordyce, A., Hradsky, B. A., Ritchie, E. G., and Di Stefano, J. (2016). Fire affects microhabitat selection, movement patterns, and body condition of an Australian rodent (Rattus fuscipes). Journal of Mammalogy 159, 1–10.
Fire affects microhabitat selection, movement patterns, and body condition of an Australian rodent (Rattus fuscipes).CrossRef |

Harris, J. M., Goldingay, R. L., and Brooks, L. O. (2014). Population ecology of the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus) in a montane woodland in southern New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy 36, 212–218.

Kearney, N., Handasyde, K., Ward, S., and Kearney, M. (2007). Fine-scale microhabitat selection for dense vegetation in a heathland rodent, Rattus lutreolus: insights from intraspecific and temporal patterns. Austral Ecology 32, 315–325.
Fine-scale microhabitat selection for dense vegetation in a heathland rodent, Rattus lutreolus: insights from intraspecific and temporal patterns.CrossRef |

Keating, K. A., and Cherry, S. (2004). Use and interpretation of logistic regression in habitat-selection studies. Journal of Wildlife Management 68, 774–789.
Use and interpretation of logistic regression in habitat-selection studies.CrossRef |

King, G. C. (1985). The effect of fire on small mammal fauna and their resources in two forest types. M.Nat.Res. Thesis, University of New England, Armidale.

Knight, E. H., and Fox, B. J. (2000). Does habitat structure mediate the effects of forest fragmentation and human-induced disturbance on the abundance of Antechinus stuartii? Australian Journal of Zoology 48, 577–595.
Does habitat structure mediate the effects of forest fragmentation and human-induced disturbance on the abundance of Antechinus stuartii? CrossRef |

Law, B. S., Chidel, M., and Britton, A. (2013a). High predation risk for a small mammal: the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus). Australian Mammalogy 35, 149–152.
High predation risk for a small mammal: the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus).CrossRef |

Law, B., Chidel, M., Britton, A., and Brassil, T. (2013b). Response of eastern pygmy possums, Cercartetus nanus, to selective logging in New South Wales: home range, habitat selection and den use. Wildlife Research 40, 470–481.
Response of eastern pygmy possums, Cercartetus nanus, to selective logging in New South Wales: home range, habitat selection and den use.CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B., Claridge, A. W., Gilmore, A. M., Michael, D., and Lindenmayer, B. D. (2002). The ecological roles of logs in Australian forests and the potential impacts of harvesting intensification on log-using biota. Pacific Conservation Biology 8, 121–140.
The ecological roles of logs in Australian forests and the potential impacts of harvesting intensification on log-using biota.CrossRef |

Meek, P. D., Radford, S. L., and Radford, B. L. (2006). Summer–autumn home range and habitat use of the Hastings River mouse Pseudomys oralis (Rodentia: Muridae). Australian Mammalogy 28, 39–50.
Summer–autumn home range and habitat use of the Hastings River mouse Pseudomys oralis (Rodentia: Muridae).CrossRef |

Mueller-Dombois, D., and Ellenberg, H. (1974). ‘Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology.’ (Wiley: New York.)

Murphy, B. P., Bradstock, R. A., Boer, M. M., and Carter, J. Murphy, B. P., Bradstock, R. A., Boer, M. M., and Carter, J. (2013). Fire regimes of Australia: a pyrogeographic model system. Journal of Biogeography 40, 1048–1058.
Fire regimes of Australia: a pyrogeographic model system.CrossRef |

Pyke, G. H. (1983). Relationship between time since the last fire and flowering in Telopea speciosissima R.Br. and Lambertia formosa Sm. Australian Journal of Botany 31, 293–296.
Relationship between time since the last fire and flowering in Telopea speciosissima R.Br. and Lambertia formosa Sm.CrossRef |

R Core Team (2015). R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Available at: http://www.R-project.org/

Slade, C., and Law, B. (2016). The other half of the coastal State Forest estate in New South Wales; the value of informal forest reserves for conservation. Australian Zoologist , .
The other half of the coastal State Forest estate in New South Wales; the value of informal forest reserves for conservation.CrossRef |

Tasker, E. M., and Dickman, C. R. (2004). Small mammal community composition in grazed and frequently-burnt eucalypt forests of the northern tablelands of New South Wales. In ‘Conservation of Australia’s Forest Fauna’. 2nd edn. (Ed. D. Lunney.) pp. 721–740. (Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales: Sydney.)

Tulloch, A. (2004). The importance of food and shelter for habitat use and conservation of the burramyids in Australia. In ‘The Biology of Australian Possums and Gliders’. (Eds R. L. Goldingay and S. M. Jackson.) pp. 268–284. (Surrey Beatty: Sydney.)

Tulloch, A. I., and Dickman, C. R. (2006). Floristic and structural components of habitat use by the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus) in burnt and unburnt habitats. Wildlife Research 33, 627–637.
Floristic and structural components of habitat use by the eastern pygmy-possum (Cercartetus nanus) in burnt and unburnt habitats.CrossRef |

Turner, V. (1984). Banksia pollen as a protein source in the diet of the Australian marsupials Cercartetus nanus and Tarsipes rostratus. Oikos 43, 53–61.
Banksia pollen as a protein source in the diet of the Australian marsupials Cercartetus nanus and Tarsipes rostratus.CrossRef |

Ward, S. (1990). Life-history of the eastern pygmy-possum, Cercartetus nanus (Burramyidae, Marsupialia), in south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 38, 287–304.
Life-history of the eastern pygmy-possum, Cercartetus nanus (Burramyidae, Marsupialia), in south-eastern Australia.CrossRef |

Wells, K., Pfeiffer, M., Lakim, M. B., and Kalko, E. K. V. (2006). Movement trajectories and habitat partitioning of small mammals in logged and unlogged rain forests on Borneo. Journal of Animal Ecology 75, 1212–1223.
Movement trajectories and habitat partitioning of small mammals in logged and unlogged rain forests on Borneo.CrossRef |



Export Citation