Monitoring indicates greater resilience for birds than for mammals in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia

John Casimir Zichy-Woinarski, Alaric Fisher, Martin Armstrong, Kym Brennan, Anthony Griffiths, B Hill, L Low Choy, D J Milne, Alistair Stewart, S Young, S Ward, S Winderlich, Mark Ziembicki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Context A previous study reported major declines for native mammal species from Kakadu National Park, over the period 200109. The extent to which this result may be symptomatic of more pervasive biodiversity decline was unknown. Aims Our primary aim was to describe trends in the abundance of birds in Kakadu over the period 200109. We assessed whether any change in bird abundance was related to the arrival of invading cane toads (Rhinella marina), and to fire regimes. Methods Birds were monitored at 136 1-ha plots in Kakadu, during the period 200104 and again in 200709. This program complemented sampling of the same plots over the same period for native mammals. Key results In contrast to the decline reported for native mammals, the richness and total abundance of birds increased over this period, and far more individual bird species increased than decreased. Fire history in the between-sampling period had little influence on trends for individual species. Interpretation of the overall positive trends for bird species in Kakadu over this period should be tempered by recognition that most of the threatened bird species present in Kakadu were unrecorded in this monitoring program, and the two threatened species for which there were sufficient records to assess trends partridge pigeon (Geophaps smithii) and white-throated grass-wren (Amytornis woodwardi) both declined significantly. Conclusions The current decline of the mammal fauna in this region is not reflected in trends for the region's bird fauna. Some of the observed changes (mostly increases) in the abundance of bird species may be due to the arrival of cane toads, and some may be due to local or regional-scale climatic variation or variation in the amount of flowering. The present study provides no assurance about threatened bird species, given that most were inadequately recorded in the study (perhaps because their decline pre-dated the present study). Implications These contrasting trends between mammals and birds demonstrate the need for biodiversity monitoring programs to be broadly based. The declines of two threatened bird species over this period indicate the need for more management focus for these species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-407
    Number of pages11
    JournalWildlife Research
    Volume39
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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    national parks
    national park
    mammal
    mammals
    bird
    monitoring
    birds
    threatened species
    Bufo marinus
    toad
    biodiversity
    fauna
    fire history
    sampling
    marina
    flowering
    trend
    bird species
    Troglodytidae
    partridges

    Cite this

    Zichy-Woinarski, John Casimir ; Fisher, Alaric ; Armstrong, Martin ; Brennan, Kym ; Griffiths, Anthony ; Hill, B ; Low Choy, L ; Milne, D J ; Stewart, Alistair ; Young, S ; Ward, S ; Winderlich, S ; Ziembicki, Mark. / Monitoring indicates greater resilience for birds than for mammals in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia. In: Wildlife Research. 2012 ; Vol. 39. pp. 397-407.
    @article{d2bdf66c66d54288b37890e12e282493,
    title = "Monitoring indicates greater resilience for birds than for mammals in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia",
    abstract = "Context A previous study reported major declines for native mammal species from Kakadu National Park, over the period 200109. The extent to which this result may be symptomatic of more pervasive biodiversity decline was unknown. Aims Our primary aim was to describe trends in the abundance of birds in Kakadu over the period 200109. We assessed whether any change in bird abundance was related to the arrival of invading cane toads (Rhinella marina), and to fire regimes. Methods Birds were monitored at 136 1-ha plots in Kakadu, during the period 200104 and again in 200709. This program complemented sampling of the same plots over the same period for native mammals. Key results In contrast to the decline reported for native mammals, the richness and total abundance of birds increased over this period, and far more individual bird species increased than decreased. Fire history in the between-sampling period had little influence on trends for individual species. Interpretation of the overall positive trends for bird species in Kakadu over this period should be tempered by recognition that most of the threatened bird species present in Kakadu were unrecorded in this monitoring program, and the two threatened species for which there were sufficient records to assess trends partridge pigeon (Geophaps smithii) and white-throated grass-wren (Amytornis woodwardi) both declined significantly. Conclusions The current decline of the mammal fauna in this region is not reflected in trends for the region's bird fauna. Some of the observed changes (mostly increases) in the abundance of bird species may be due to the arrival of cane toads, and some may be due to local or regional-scale climatic variation or variation in the amount of flowering. The present study provides no assurance about threatened bird species, given that most were inadequately recorded in the study (perhaps because their decline pre-dated the present study). Implications These contrasting trends between mammals and birds demonstrate the need for biodiversity monitoring programs to be broadly based. The declines of two threatened bird species over this period indicate the need for more management focus for these species.",
    keywords = "abundance, assessment method, biodiversity, biological invasion, bird, climate variation, ecosystem resilience, endangered species, fire behavior, mammal, monitoring, population decline, species richness, Australia, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Amytornis woodwardi, Anura, Aves, Bufo marinus, Columba, Geophaps smithii, Mammalia, Troglodytinae",
    author = "Zichy-Woinarski, {John Casimir} and Alaric Fisher and Martin Armstrong and Kym Brennan and Anthony Griffiths and B Hill and {Low Choy}, L and Milne, {D J} and Alistair Stewart and S Young and S Ward and S Winderlich and Mark Ziembicki",
    year = "2012",
    doi = "10.1071/WR11213",
    language = "English",
    volume = "39",
    pages = "397--407",
    journal = "Wildlife Research",
    issn = "1035-3712",
    publisher = "CSIRO Publishing",

    }

    Zichy-Woinarski, JC, Fisher, A, Armstrong, M, Brennan, K, Griffiths, A, Hill, B, Low Choy, L, Milne, DJ, Stewart, A, Young, S, Ward, S, Winderlich, S & Ziembicki, M 2012, 'Monitoring indicates greater resilience for birds than for mammals in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia', Wildlife Research, vol. 39, pp. 397-407. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR11213

    Monitoring indicates greater resilience for birds than for mammals in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia. / Zichy-Woinarski, John Casimir; Fisher, Alaric; Armstrong, Martin; Brennan, Kym; Griffiths, Anthony; Hill, B; Low Choy, L; Milne, D J; Stewart, Alistair; Young, S; Ward, S; Winderlich, S; Ziembicki, Mark.

    In: Wildlife Research, Vol. 39, 2012, p. 397-407.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Monitoring indicates greater resilience for birds than for mammals in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia

    AU - Zichy-Woinarski, John Casimir

    AU - Fisher, Alaric

    AU - Armstrong, Martin

    AU - Brennan, Kym

    AU - Griffiths, Anthony

    AU - Hill, B

    AU - Low Choy, L

    AU - Milne, D J

    AU - Stewart, Alistair

    AU - Young, S

    AU - Ward, S

    AU - Winderlich, S

    AU - Ziembicki, Mark

    PY - 2012

    Y1 - 2012

    N2 - Context A previous study reported major declines for native mammal species from Kakadu National Park, over the period 200109. The extent to which this result may be symptomatic of more pervasive biodiversity decline was unknown. Aims Our primary aim was to describe trends in the abundance of birds in Kakadu over the period 200109. We assessed whether any change in bird abundance was related to the arrival of invading cane toads (Rhinella marina), and to fire regimes. Methods Birds were monitored at 136 1-ha plots in Kakadu, during the period 200104 and again in 200709. This program complemented sampling of the same plots over the same period for native mammals. Key results In contrast to the decline reported for native mammals, the richness and total abundance of birds increased over this period, and far more individual bird species increased than decreased. Fire history in the between-sampling period had little influence on trends for individual species. Interpretation of the overall positive trends for bird species in Kakadu over this period should be tempered by recognition that most of the threatened bird species present in Kakadu were unrecorded in this monitoring program, and the two threatened species for which there were sufficient records to assess trends partridge pigeon (Geophaps smithii) and white-throated grass-wren (Amytornis woodwardi) both declined significantly. Conclusions The current decline of the mammal fauna in this region is not reflected in trends for the region's bird fauna. Some of the observed changes (mostly increases) in the abundance of bird species may be due to the arrival of cane toads, and some may be due to local or regional-scale climatic variation or variation in the amount of flowering. The present study provides no assurance about threatened bird species, given that most were inadequately recorded in the study (perhaps because their decline pre-dated the present study). Implications These contrasting trends between mammals and birds demonstrate the need for biodiversity monitoring programs to be broadly based. The declines of two threatened bird species over this period indicate the need for more management focus for these species.

    AB - Context A previous study reported major declines for native mammal species from Kakadu National Park, over the period 200109. The extent to which this result may be symptomatic of more pervasive biodiversity decline was unknown. Aims Our primary aim was to describe trends in the abundance of birds in Kakadu over the period 200109. We assessed whether any change in bird abundance was related to the arrival of invading cane toads (Rhinella marina), and to fire regimes. Methods Birds were monitored at 136 1-ha plots in Kakadu, during the period 200104 and again in 200709. This program complemented sampling of the same plots over the same period for native mammals. Key results In contrast to the decline reported for native mammals, the richness and total abundance of birds increased over this period, and far more individual bird species increased than decreased. Fire history in the between-sampling period had little influence on trends for individual species. Interpretation of the overall positive trends for bird species in Kakadu over this period should be tempered by recognition that most of the threatened bird species present in Kakadu were unrecorded in this monitoring program, and the two threatened species for which there were sufficient records to assess trends partridge pigeon (Geophaps smithii) and white-throated grass-wren (Amytornis woodwardi) both declined significantly. Conclusions The current decline of the mammal fauna in this region is not reflected in trends for the region's bird fauna. Some of the observed changes (mostly increases) in the abundance of bird species may be due to the arrival of cane toads, and some may be due to local or regional-scale climatic variation or variation in the amount of flowering. The present study provides no assurance about threatened bird species, given that most were inadequately recorded in the study (perhaps because their decline pre-dated the present study). Implications These contrasting trends between mammals and birds demonstrate the need for biodiversity monitoring programs to be broadly based. The declines of two threatened bird species over this period indicate the need for more management focus for these species.

    KW - abundance

    KW - assessment method

    KW - biodiversity

    KW - biological invasion

    KW - bird

    KW - climate variation

    KW - ecosystem resilience

    KW - endangered species

    KW - fire behavior

    KW - mammal

    KW - monitoring

    KW - population decline

    KW - species richness

    KW - Australia

    KW - Kakadu National Park

    KW - Northern Territory

    KW - Amytornis woodwardi

    KW - Anura

    KW - Aves

    KW - Bufo marinus

    KW - Columba

    KW - Geophaps smithii

    KW - Mammalia

    KW - Troglodytinae

    U2 - 10.1071/WR11213

    DO - 10.1071/WR11213

    M3 - Article

    VL - 39

    SP - 397

    EP - 407

    JO - Wildlife Research

    JF - Wildlife Research

    SN - 1035-3712

    ER -