Using hierarchical habitat selection to assist recolonisation of restored forest by Egernia napoleonis

Kimberley Nihill

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] This thesis focuses on improving the recolonisation of post-mining environments by fauna, and in particular a reptile species which seems to be absent from Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest recently restored following mining in south western Australia. It analyses the habitat selection of Egernia napoleonis (Napoleon’s skink) at three spatial scales (landscape, home range and micro-habitat) in order to identify management practices to improve faunal return into restoration areas. The work was conducted within an area mined for bauxite by Alcoa in the Jarrah forest in southwestern Australia. Extensive surface mining occurs in a forest matrix, and Alcoa aims to restore mine pits to functioning forest ecosystems. While restoration of plant communities is increasingly successful, return of fauna species is more difficult. Alcoa currently introduce piles of logs as micro-habitats into restored areas at a density of approximately 1 log pile per hectare. However, these have not successfully encouraged recolonisation by Napoleon's skink. Six Napoleon's skinks were relocated into these introduced logs within restoration sites. They all immediately moved to nearby unmined forest, showing a clear preference for this habitat type. Therefore, it appeared that restored areas did not provide suitable habitat, either because introduced log pile densities were insufficient or because other components of the restored areas rendered them unsuitable as habitat. To investigate this latter possibility, a detailed comparison of the structure of restored and unmined forest was conducted.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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