Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Identifying High Value Arboreal Habitat in forested areas using high-resolution digital imagery

Nigel Cotsell A B D , Mark Fisher A , David Scotts C and Mark Cameron A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Office of Environment and Heritage, Locked Bag 914, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia.

B University of New England, Ecosystem Management, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

C Wildlife Matters, 40 Oceanview Crescent, Emerald Beach, NSW 2456, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: nigelcotsell@gmail.com

Pacific Conservation Biology 22(4) 367-376 https://doi.org/10.1071/PC15031
Submitted: 2 October 2015  Accepted: 30 May 2016   Published: 4 July 2016

Abstract

Old-growth forest is recognised as a high-value habitat in conservation assessment programs because of its importance to hollow-dependent species. Previous mapping undertaken at regional scales does not map patches of old forest smaller than 5 ha. While small patches of old forest may not be as ecologically important as large areas they provide opportunities for connectivity and specific habitat resources for arboreal wildlife within a broader landscape matrix. Previously, smaller patches of old forest have been overlooked because the tools have not been available to map at finer scales. This study incorporates a methodology using recent advances in technology, including aerial photography, to map old forest at a fine scale for the purposes of land-use assessment and planning. The term ‘High Value Arboreal Habitat’ is introduced to convey the ecological importance of hollow-bearing trees as part of a wider identification and mapping of high-value habitats across the landscape. The assessment was undertaken across the forested areas of the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area using high-resolution digital imagery. It is anticipated that the High Value Arboreal Habitat mapping process will be adopted by a range of stakeholders and natural resource managers to better manage and conserve these old forests across the landscape whatever their size.

Additional keywords: air photo interpretation, hollow-bearing, old-growth, private native forestry.


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