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Structure of faunal assemblages on rehabilitated land

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thesis
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Richard KnightRichard Knight
"The present study had three objectives : firstly to examine the success of rehabilitation efforts on post mining substrates by analysis of trappable small vertebrates recolonising rehabilitated areas compared to control unmined areas ; secondly to examine the relationship between small vertebrates and the availability of appropriate microclimates in the environment by assessing a series of vegetation and habitat variables ; and thirdly to provide a comprehensive non-avian vertebrate species for the Blair Athol Coal Mine Lease." -- abstract. The present study had three objectives: firstly to examine the success of rehabilitation efforts on post mining substrates by analysis oftrappable small vertebrates recolonising rehabilitated areas compared to control unmined areas; secondly to examine the relationship between small vertebrates and theavailability of appropriate microclimates in the environment by assessing a series of vegetation and habitat variables; and thirdly to provide a comprehensive non-avian vertebrate species list for the Blair Athol Coal Mine Lease. A total of76 native species were identified on the mining lease, including 17 species of frogs, 27 species oflizards, 11 species of snakes, 2 species ofturtles and 19 mammals. as well as 8 introduced species. This study recorded six vertebrate species not previously known from the Clermont region: Cyclorana platycephala, Limnodynastes convexiusculus, L. sa/mini. {Jperolia mimula. Varanus acanthurus, and lsoodon macrourus. Surveys were performed at 21 sites over four sampling periods, including 12 reference sites, and nine rehabilitation sites. Rehabilitation sites of various ages were comparable in terms of vegetation and abiotic factors, and were significantly different from control sites, however the 1984 rehabilitation area had species diversity, relative abundance of species and guild structure similar to control sites. A remnant patch ofvegetation was similar to control sites in terms of vegetation and abiotic factors, but had lower species diversity and different relative abundances of species; suggesting that assessment of an ecosystem on the basis ofstructural components of the vegetation and abiotic environment alone may not adequately reflect the presence ofa functional ecosystem because ofthe confounding problem ofecosystem fragmentation. As a consequence. studies based on vegetation or physical attributes may not be sufficient to judge the success ofrehabilitation with respect to vertebrate fauna. The results produced by analysis ofabundance and diversity of insectivorous reptiles was found to reflect the pattern produced by analysis of all data, and as such this group is considered an appropriate indicator of ecosystem health in this community.

History

Location

Central Queensland University

Additional Rights

I hereby grant to Central Queensland University or its agents the right to archive and to make available my thesis or dissertation in whole or in part through Central Queensland University’s Institutional Repository, ACQUIRE, in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all copyright, including the right to use future works (such as articles or books), all or part of this thesis or dissertation.

Open Access

Yes

External Author Affiliations

School of Biological and Environmental Sciences;

Era Eligible

No

Supervisor

Dr Mike Coates ; Dr Alistair Melzer

Thesis Type

Master's by Research Thesis

Thesis Format

By publication