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

The use of topographic fire refuges by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) and the mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus cunninghami) following a landscape-scale fire

Laurence E. Berry A B D , Don A. Driscoll A B , Samuel C. Banks A and David B. Lindenmayer A B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

B ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub, Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

C Long Term Ecological Research Network, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, Australia, Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: laurence.berry@anu.edu.au

Australian Mammalogy 37(1) 39-45 https://doi.org/10.1071/AM14027
Submitted: 22 September 2014  Accepted: 6 December 2014   Published: 6 February 2015

Abstract

We examined the abundance of arboreal marsupials in topographic fire refuges after a major fire in a stand-replacing crown-fire forest ecosystem. We surveyed the abundance of arboreal marsupials across 48 sites in rainforest gullies burnt to differing extents by the 2009 fires in the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of the Victorian Central Highlands, Australia. The greater glider (Petauroides volans) was less abundant within the extent of the 2009 fire. The mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus cunninghami) was more abundant within the extent of the 2009 fire, particularly within unburnt peninsulas protruding into burnt areas from unburnt edges. Our results indicate that fire refuges may facilitate the persistence of some species within extensively burnt landscapes. Additional work should seek to clarify this finding and identify the demographic mechanisms underlying this response.

Additional keywords: distributions, fire management, fire refuges, fire severity, heterogeneity, landscape ecology, recolonisation.


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