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

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 http://dx.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.


References

Banks, S. C., Dujardin, M., McBurney, L., Blair, D., Barker, M., and Lindenmayer, D. B. (2011a). Starting points for small mammal population recovery after wildfire: recolonisation or residual populations? Oikos 120, 26–37.
Starting points for small mammal population recovery after wildfire: recolonisation or residual populations?CrossRef | open url image1

Banks, S. C., Knight, E. J., McBurney, L., Blair, D., and Lindenmayer, D. B. (2011b). The effects of wildfire on mortality and resources for an arboreal marsupial: resilience to fire events but susceptibility to fire regime change. PLoS ONE 6, e22952.
The effects of wildfire on mortality and resources for an arboreal marsupial: resilience to fire events but susceptibility to fire regime change.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3MXhtFWitLvI&md5=a393fbc2aeec284395fa084e661119fcCAS | 21826221PubMed | open url image1

Banks, S. C., Lindenmayer, D. B., McBurney, L., Blair, D., Knight, E. J., and Blyton, M. D. J. (2011c). Kin selection in den sharing develops under limited availability of tree hollows for a forest marsupial. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 278, 2768–2776.
Kin selection in den sharing develops under limited availability of tree hollows for a forest marsupial.CrossRef | open url image1

Bennett, A. F., Radford, J. Q., and Haslem, A. (2006). Properties of land mosaics: implications for nature conservation in agricultural environments. Biological Conservation 133, 250–264.
Properties of land mosaics: implications for nature conservation in agricultural environments.CrossRef | open url image1

Bowman, D., Balch, J. K., Artaxo, P., Bond, W. J., Carlson, J. M., Cochrane, M. A., D’Antonio, C. M., DeFries, R. S., Doyle, J. C., Harrison, S. P., Johnston, F. H., Keeley, J. E., Krawchuk, M. A., Kull, C. A., Marston, J. B., Moritz, M. A., Prentice, I. C., Roos, C. I., Scott, A. C., Swetnam, T. W., van der Werf, G. R., and Pyne, S. J. (2009). Fire in the Earth System. Science 324, 481–484.
Fire in the Earth System.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD1MXkvVGmtb8%3D&md5=8eef285f88c3262242eef3fc82ec0936CAS | 19390038PubMed | open url image1

Bradstock, R. A., Bedward, M., Gill, A. M., and Cohn, J. S. (2005). Which mosaic? A landscape ecological approach for evaluating interactions between fire regimes, habitat and animals. Wildlife Research 32, 409–423.
Which mosaic? A landscape ecological approach for evaluating interactions between fire regimes, habitat and animals.CrossRef | open url image1

Bradstock, R., Cary, G., Davies, I., Lindenmayer, D., Price, O., and Williams, R. (2012). Wildfires, fuel treatment and risk mitigation in Australian eucalypt forests: insights from landscape-scale simulation. Journal of Environmental Management 105, 66–75.
Wildfires, fuel treatment and risk mitigation in Australian eucalypt forests: insights from landscape-scale simulation.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BC38rnvVGitA%3D%3D&md5=a6b67b0cdb2ff84403b17ea726d4a1f4CAS | 22531752PubMed | open url image1

Clarke, M. F. (2008). Catering for the needs of fauna in fire management: science or just wishful thinking? Wildlife Research 35, 385–394.
Catering for the needs of fauna in fire management: science or just wishful thinking?CrossRef | open url image1

Craig, S. (1985). Social organization, reproduction and feeding behaviour of a population of yellow-bellied gliders, Petaurus australis (Marsupialia: Petauridae). Wildlife Research 12, 1–18.
Social organization, reproduction and feeding behaviour of a population of yellow-bellied gliders, Petaurus australis (Marsupialia: Petauridae).CrossRef | open url image1

Dalerum, F., Boutin, S., and Dunford, J. S. (2007). Wildfire effects on home range size and fidelity of boreal caribou in Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 85, 26–32.
Wildfire effects on home range size and fidelity of boreal caribou in Alberta, Canada.CrossRef | open url image1

Driscoll, D. A., Lindenmayer, D. B., Bennett, A. F., Bode, M., Bradstock, R. A., Cary, G. J., Clarke, M. F., Dexter, N., Fensham, R., Friend, G., Gill, M., James, S., Kay, G., Keith, D. A., MacGregor, C., Russell-Smith, J., Salt, D., Watson, J. E. M., Williams, R. J., and York, A. (2010). Fire management for biodiversity conservation: key research questions and our capacity to answer them. Biological Conservation 143, 1928–1939.
Fire management for biodiversity conservation: key research questions and our capacity to answer them.CrossRef | open url image1

Harding, E. K., and Gomez, S. (2006). Positive edge effects for arboreal marsupials: an assessment of potential mechanisms. Wildlife Research 33, 121–129.
Positive edge effects for arboreal marsupials: an assessment of potential mechanisms.CrossRef | open url image1

Haslem, A., Kelly, L. T., Nimmo, D. G., Watson, S. J., Kenny, S. A., Taylor, R. S., Avitabile, S. C., Callister, K. E., Spence-Bailey, L. M., Clarke, M. F., and Bennett, A. F. (2011). Habitat or fuel? Implications of long-term, post-fire dynamics for the development of key resources for fauna and fire. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 247–256.
Habitat or fuel? Implications of long-term, post-fire dynamics for the development of key resources for fauna and fire.CrossRef | open url image1

Iversen, G. R., and Norpoth, H. (1987). ‘Analysis of Variance.’ (Sage.)

Krawchuk, M. A., Moritz, M. A., Parisien, M.-A., Van Dorn, J., and Hayhoe, K. (2009). Global pyrogeography: the current and future distribution of wildfire. PLoS ONE 4, e5102.
Global pyrogeography: the current and future distribution of wildfire.CrossRef | 19352494PubMed | open url image1

Leonard, S. W., Bennett, A. F., and Clarke, M. F. (2014). Determinants of the occurrence of unburnt forest patches: potential biotic refuges within a large, intense wildfire in south-eastern Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 314, 85–93.
Determinants of the occurrence of unburnt forest patches: potential biotic refuges within a large, intense wildfire in south-eastern Australia.CrossRef | open url image1

Lindenmayer, D., and Possingham, H. (1996). Modelling the inter-relationships between habitat patchiness, dispersal capability and metapopulation persistence of the endangered species, Leadbeater’s possum, in south-eastern Australia. Landscape Ecology 11, 79–105.
Modelling the inter-relationships between habitat patchiness, dispersal capability and metapopulation persistence of the endangered species, Leadbeater’s possum, in south-eastern Australia.CrossRef | open url image1

Lindenmayer, D., Cunningham, R., Tanton, M., Smith, A., and Nix, H. (1990). Habitat requirements of the mountain brushtail possum and the greater glider in the montane ash-type eucalypt forests of the central highlands of Victoria. Wildlife Research 17, 467–478.
Habitat requirements of the mountain brushtail possum and the greater glider in the montane ash-type eucalypt forests of the central highlands of Victoria.CrossRef | open url image1

Lindenmayer, D. B., Wood, J. T., Michael, D., Crane, M., MacGregor, C., Montague-Drake, R., and McBurney, L. (2009). Are gullies best for biodiversity? An empirical examination of Australian wet forest types. Forest Ecology and Management 258, 169–177.
Are gullies best for biodiversity? An empirical examination of Australian wet forest types.CrossRef | open url image1

Lindenmayer, D. B., Steffen, W., Burbidge, A. A., Hughes, L., Kitching, R. L., Musgrave, W., Smith, M. S., and Werner, P. A. (2010). Conservation strategies in response to rapid climate change: Australia as a case study. Biological Conservation 143, 1587–1593.
Conservation strategies in response to rapid climate change: Australia as a case study.CrossRef | open url image1

Lindenmayer, D. B., Hobbs, R. J., Likens, G. E., Krebs, C. J., and Banks, S. C. (2011). Newly discovered landscape traps produce regime shifts in wet forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, 15887–15891.
Newly discovered landscape traps produce regime shifts in wet forests.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3MXht1emtb%2FJ&md5=471491ab77d0cc1e1b4f0c9bce44a9a6CAS | 21876151PubMed | open url image1

Lindenmayer, D. B., Blanchard, W., McBurney, L., Blair, D., Banks, S. C., Driscoll, D., Smith, A. L., and Gill, A. M. (2013). Fire severity and landscape context effects on arboreal marsupials. Biological Conservation 167, 137–148.
Fire severity and landscape context effects on arboreal marsupials.CrossRef | open url image1

Lindenmayer, D. B., Barton, P. S., Lane, P. W., Westgate, M. J., McBurney, L., Blair, D., Gibbons, P., and Likens, G. E. (2014). An empirical assessment and comparison of species-based and habitat-based surrogates: a case study of forest vertebrates and large old trees. PLoS ONE 9, e89807.
An empirical assessment and comparison of species-based and habitat-based surrogates: a case study of forest vertebrates and large old trees.CrossRef | 24587050PubMed | open url image1

Lyet, A., Cheylan, M., Prodon, R., and Besnard, A. (2009). Prescribed fire and conservation of a threatened mountain grassland specialist: a capture–recapture study on the Orsini’s viper in the French alps. Animal Conservation 12, 238–248.
Prescribed fire and conservation of a threatened mountain grassland specialist: a capture–recapture study on the Orsini’s viper in the French alps.CrossRef | open url image1

Mackey, B., Lindenmayer, D., Gill, M., McCarthy, M., and Lindesay, J. (2002). ‘Wildlife, Fire and Future Climate: A Forest Ecosystem Analysis.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)

Mackey, B., Berry, S., Hugh, S., Ferrier, S., Harwood, T. D., and Williams, K. J. (2012). Ecosystem greenspots: identifying potential drought, fire, and climate-change micro-refuges. Ecological Applications 22, 1852–1864.
Ecosystem greenspots: identifying potential drought, fire, and climate-change micro-refuges.CrossRef | 23092021PubMed | open url image1

Manly, B. F. (2006). ‘Randomization, bootstrap and Monte Carlo methods in biology.’ (CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL.)

McCarthy, M. A., Gill, M. A., and Lindenmayer, D. B. (1999). Fire regimes in mountain ash forest: evidence from forest age structure, extinction models and wildlife habitat. Forest Ecology and Management 124, 193–203.
Fire regimes in mountain ash forest: evidence from forest age structure, extinction models and wildlife habitat.CrossRef | open url image1

Muona, J., and Rutanen, I. (1994). The short term impact of fire on the beetle fauna in boreal forests. Annales Zoologici Fennici 31, 109–111. open url image1

Pereoglou, F., Macgregor, C., Banks, S. C., Ford, F., Wood, J., and Lindenmayer, D. B. (2011). Refuge site selection by the eastern chestnut mouse in recently burnt heath. Wildlife Research 38, 290–298.
Refuge site selection by the eastern chestnut mouse in recently burnt heath.CrossRef | open url image1

Pope, M. L., Lindenmayer, D. B., and Cunningham, R. B. (2004). Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. I. Home range size and movements. Wildlife Research 31, 559–568.
Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. I. Home range size and movements.CrossRef | open url image1

R Core Team (2012). ‘R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing.’

Robinson, N. M., Leonard, S. W., Ritchie, E. G., Bassett, M., Chia, E. K., Buckingham, S., Gibb, H., Bennett, A. F., and Clarke, M. F. (2013). Refuges for fauna in fire-prone landscapes: their ecological function and importance. Journal of Applied Ecology 50, 1321–1329.
Refuges for fauna in fire-prone landscapes: their ecological function and importance.CrossRef | open url image1

Robinson, N. M., Leonard, S. W. J., Bennett, A. F., and Clarke, M. F. (2014). Refuges for birds in fire-prone landscapes: the influence of fire severity and fire history on the distribution of forest birds. Forest Ecology and Management 318, 110–121.
Refuges for birds in fire-prone landscapes: the influence of fire severity and fire history on the distribution of forest birds.CrossRef | open url image1

Sanz-Aguilar, A., Anadon, J. D., Gimenez, A., Ballestar, R., Gracia, E., and Oro, D. (2011). Coexisting with fire: the case of the terrestrial tortoise Testudo graeca in mediterranean shrublands. Biological Conservation 144, 1040–1049.
Coexisting with fire: the case of the terrestrial tortoise Testudo graeca in mediterranean shrublands.CrossRef | open url image1

Smith, A. (1984). Diet of Leadbeaters possum, Gymnobelideus leadbeateri (Marsupialia). Wildlife Research 11, 265–273.
Diet of Leadbeaters possum, Gymnobelideus leadbeateri (Marsupialia).CrossRef | open url image1

Taylor, R. S., Watson, S. J., Nimmo, D. G., Kelly, L. T., Bennett, A. F., and Clarke, M. F. (2012). Landscape-scale effects of fire on bird assemblages: does pyrodiversity beget biodiversity? Diversity & Distributions 18, 519–529.
Landscape-scale effects of fire on bird assemblages: does pyrodiversity beget biodiversity?CrossRef | open url image1

Teague, B., McLeod, R., and Pascoe, S. (2010). Final Report, 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.

Vernes, K., and Pope, L. C. (2001). Stability of nest range, home range and movement of the northern bettong (Bettongia tropica) following moderate-intensity fire in a tropical woodland, north-eastern Queensland. Wildlife Research 28, 141–150.
Stability of nest range, home range and movement of the northern bettong (Bettongia tropica) following moderate-intensity fire in a tropical woodland, north-eastern Queensland.CrossRef | open url image1

Zeileis, A., Wiel, M. A., Hornik, K., and Hothorn, T. (2008). Implementing a class of permutation tests: the coin package. Journal of Statistical Software 28, 1–23. open url image1



Export Citation Cited By (6)