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

Characteristics of sap trees used by yellow-bellied gliders in southern Queensland

Teresa J. Eyre A B C and Ross L. Goldingay A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Environmental Science & Management, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

B Present address: Wildlife Ecology, Environmental Protection Agency, 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Qld 4068, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: teresa.eyre@epa.qld.gov.au

Wildlife Research 32(1) 23-35 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR03075
Submitted: 14 August 2004  Accepted: 14 December 2004   Published: 25 February 2005


An extensive survey was conducted to locate sap trees used by the yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis) throughout the forests and woodlands of southern Queensland, across an area of 43.7 million hectares. We recorded the characteristics of 478 sap trees located at 109 of 297 sites surveyed. Only 13 tree species were selected by gliders for sap feeding throughout the study region, with the grey gum species Eucalyptus longirostrata and E. biturbinata most likely to be incised for sap. Of the tree species used for sap feeding by gliders, trees >40 cm in diameter at breast height (dbh) were used more than would be expected on the basis of their abundance in the forest. The number of sap trees with active and recently active feed scars at a site ranged from 0 to 12. Factors that appear to influence the abundance of active and recently active sap trees at a site include intensity of disturbance (basal area of cut stumps and dead trees), the number of stems in the 41–60 and 61–80 cm dbh classes, and number of Myrtaceae species. The response to these variables could be indicative of habitat quality, and the availability of alternative foraging substrates such as flower cover and decorticating bark. Intensification of selective logging in south-east Queensland, as an outcome of the Southeast Queensland Regional Forest Agreement, could potentially marginalise glider habitat. This would necessitate the retention of potential, or ‘recruit’, sap trees to maintain yellow-bellied glider habitat in these areas.


This project was supported by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries Forest Service and the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service. Deep gratitude to David Hannah, Martin Schulz, Martin Smith, Gordon Agnew, Maritza De Oliviera and Chris Corben for assistance in the field. Many thanks to Tracy Bell for assistance with data entry, and Terri Sutcliffe and Christian Witte for their GIS skills and helping with the stratification of the study region. Thanks also to two anonymous reviewers whose comments improved earlier versions of the manuscript.


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