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

Landscapes, ecology and wildlife management in highly modified environments – an Australian perspective

Richard J. Hobbs

School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

Wildlife Research 32(5) 389-398 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR03037
Submitted: 6 May 2003  Accepted: 26 May 2005   Published: 8 August 2005

Abstract

Landscapes in southern Australia have been extensively modified by a variety of human activities, predominantly agriculture and urban development. Over much of the area, native vegetation has been replaced with agriculture or buildings and infrastructure. A continuum exists from areas that remain largely intact, but are modified in some way (e.g. forests managed for timber production), to areas where the remaining native vegetation is fragmented to varying degrees. Habitat management will vary across this continuum, depending on the degree of habitat loss and isolation. In areas outside the main zones of agricultural and urban development, the process of habitat loss and fragmentation is less in evidence. Here, instead, the landscapes remain apparently structurally intact, in that the native vegetation is not actually removed. However, these landscapes have also, in many cases, been significantly modified, particularly by pastoralism and related activities, to the extent that their value as habitat is impaired. Declining habitat value in northern landscapes may lead to the same types of functional fragmentation as found in the south. An examination of the differences and similarities between southern and northern landscapes can highlight what can be learned from the southern experience which may be of value in savanna landscapes. In both cases, the importance of considering impacts in relation to species-specific responses needs to be emphasised.


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