Habitat preferences of squirrel gliders, Petaurus norfolcensis, in the fragmented landscape of southeast Queensland

Coral Rowston, Carla P. Catterall, Cameron Hurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Twenty seven sites, located in a range of sizes of bushland remnants (10 to >2000 ha) and spanning a range of altitudes (0-500 m), were surveyed for squirrel gliders. All sites were open forest or woodland with an overstorey of eucalyptus, although the floristic composition and physical structure of the habitat varied. The gliders were present in remnants as small as 10-20 ha, had higher densities in remnants between 200 and 1000 ha and were restricted to altitudes below 240 m. Squirrel gliders occurred mainly in areas containing plant species typical of drier eucalyptus open forest and woodland, and were less frequently located in vegetation containing eucalyptus and other plants typical of higher rainfall areas, near rainforest or along creeks and drainlines. Where gliders did occur, there was a significant positive correlation between glider abundance and the density of stags (standing dead trees) and trees (>1 m, >10 cm diameter at breast height (dbh)). Squirrel gliders in southeast Queensland appear to be quite tolerant of the current level of fragmentation of their habitat, but their persistence in the longer term will depend on retaining adequate cover of lowland eucalyptus forest and woodland, particularly the spotted gum - ironbark and related vegetation types. Further decrease in forest cover may reduce habitat linkages and result in the extirpation of this species from small remnants in which they currently occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Volume164
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes

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