Reptile and arboreal marsupial response to replanted vegetation in agricultural landscapes.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America

PubMedID: 17489264

Cunningham RB, Lindenmayer DB, Crane M, Michael D, Macgregor C. Reptile and arboreal marsupial response to replanted vegetation in agricultural landscapes. Ecol Appl. 2007;17(2):609-19.
We report reptile and arboreal marsupial responses to vegetation planting and remnant native vegetation in agricultural landscapes in southeastern Australia. We used a hierarchical survey to select 23 landscapes that varied in the amounts of remnant native vegetation and planted native vegetation. We selected two farms within each landscape. In landscapes with plantings, we selected one farm with and one farm without plantings. We surveyed arboreal marsupials and reptiles on four sites on each farm that encompassed four vegetation types (plantings 7-20 years old, old-growth woodland, naturally occurring seedling regrowth woodland, and coppice [i.e., multistemmed] regrowth woodland). Reptiles and arboreal marsupials were less likely to occur on farms and in landscapes with comparatively large areas of plantings. Such farms and landscapes had less native vegetation, fewer paddock trees, and less woody debris within those areas of natural vegetation. The relatively large area of planting on these farms was insufficient to overcome the lack of these key structural attributes. Old-growth woodland, coppice regrowth, seedling regrowth, and planted areas had different habitat values for different reptiles and arboreal marsupials. We conclude that, although plantings may improve habitat conditions for some taxa, they may not effectively offset the negative effects of native vegetation clearing for all species, especially those reliant on old-growth woodland. Restoring suitable habitat for such species may take decades to centuries.