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Den trees, hollow-bearing trees and nest boxes : management of squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) nest sites in tropical Australian woodland

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by T Ball, R Goldingay, Judith WakeJudith Wake
The squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) is an arboreal marsupial potentially impacted throughout its geographic range by the loss of hollow-bearing trees. We investigated the use of den trees and the availability of hollow-bearing trees near Mackay in the tropical north of the squirrel glider range where information was deficient. Mean den tree size (41.1 ± 2.9 cm (s.e.), diameter at breast height (dbh)) was significantly larger than that of available trees (27.5 ± 0.9 cm). Dead trees (stags) comprised 52% of 27 dens but comprised only 12% of available trees. This likely reflects the greater frequency of hollows in dead trees compared with other trees. Surveys found that 59% of 720 available trees contained hollows. A much lower percentage of trees in the 10–30-cm dbh size class were hollow-bearing (22%) compared with trees >30 cm (77%), and we view these smaller trees as those providing future den trees. Their density varied from 17 to 95 ha–1 among sites, which suggests that most sites have an adequate supply of future hollows. We installed 56 nest boxes to determine use by squirrel gliders. Only 20% were used after 3 years, but use was not influenced by the availability of tree hollows. Tree hollow availability appears adequate for the squirrel glider in these tropical woodlands but further studies are needed to understand the dynamic processes that govern this resource.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

33

Issue

1

Start Page

106

End Page

116

Number of Pages

11

eISSN

1836-7402

ISSN

0310-0049

Location

Australia

Publisher

CSIRO Publishing

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health; Institute for Resource Industries and Sustainability (IRIS); Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service; Southern Cross University;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Journal

Australian mammalogy.