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Habitat alteration caused by an introduced plant disease, Phytophthora cinnamomi: a significant threat to the conservation of Australian forest fauna

Garkaklis, M.J., Calver, M.C., Wilson, B.A. and Hardy, G.E.St.J. (2004) Habitat alteration caused by an introduced plant disease, Phytophthora cinnamomi: a significant threat to the conservation of Australian forest fauna. In: Lunney, D., (ed.) Conservation of Australia's Forest Fauna, 2nd edition. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney, pp. 899-913.

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    Abstract

    Although the impacts of the introduced plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi on Australian forest flora are well documented, the indirect impact on forest fauna through changes in floristics and plant structure are less clear. A review of the literature on the responses of forest faunal communities to P. cinnamomi suggests there is evidence of declines in abundance and distribution of mammals and invertebrates. Mammals were mostly affected by reductions in shelter and food resources, while invertebrates probably declined because of changes in litterfall patterns. Mammal declines could also disrupt important ecosystem processes by reducing burrowing and digging which are vital to soil turnover and plant propagation. The trends for birds and herpetofauna were less clear. Overall, the review indicated that the impacts of P. cinnamomi infestations were serious for a range of forest fauna, or were plausible but not yet demonstrated. This highlights the need for an integrated approach to managing P. cinnamomi, which adopts both precautionary and preventive measures.

    Publication Type: Book Chapter
    Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
    School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
    Publisher: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
    Publishers Website: http://www.rzsnsw.org.au/
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/1322
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