Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Enhancing fauna habitat in grazed native grasslands and woodlands: use of artificially placed log refuges by fauna

Damian R. Michael, Ian D. Lunt and Wayne A. Robinson

Wildlife Research 31(1) 65 - 71
Published: 25 March 2004


To assess whether faunal habitat can be enhanced by using artificial refuges, and whether different species preferentially use refuges with differing structural characteristics, we monitored faunal usage of artificially placed log refuges in grazed semi-arid grasslands and woodlands in Terrick Terrick National Park in Victoria. In total, 1131 log refuges were placed at 91 sites across major vegetation types in the reserve. The effect of refuge age was assessed by comparing faunal usage between new refuges and 271 old refuges that had lain in situ for more than 15 years. Refuges were surveyed for fauna monthly between June 2000 and January 2001. Different species preferred refuges with different characteristics. Overall terrestrial fauna, and three native species (Diplodactylus tessellatus, Morethia boulengeri and Suta suta) in particular, were significantly more abundant beneath old refuges, whereas the introduced Mus musculus was significantly more abundant beneath new refuges. Five species (Crinia signifera, Morethia boulengeri, Menetia greyii, Sminthopsis crassicaudata and Suta suta) were significantly more abundant beneath Eucalyptus logs that were large, wide, partially decayed, contained many holes and/or covered many subterranean invertebrate holes. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of installing log refuges in grassy landscapes as a survey method for vertebrate fauna and as a potential habitat-restoration technique to help conserve grassland fauna.


© CSIRO 2004

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