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Demographic responses of an arboreal marsupial, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), to a prescribed fire

Isaac, J.L., Valentine, L.E. and Goodman, B.A. (2008) Demographic responses of an arboreal marsupial, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), to a prescribed fire. Population Ecology, 50 (1). pp. 101-109.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10144-007-0057-1
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Abstract

We investigated demographic responses of the common brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula, a medium-sized arboreal marsupial, after a prescribed fuel reduction burn on Magnetic Island, tropical north Queensland, Australia. Possums were live-trapped every month for 14 months before the fire and 11 months after the fire in both the burnt and unburnt areas; measurements of individuals were taken each month and demographic parameters were modelled using capture-mark-recapture data. Significant differences between the burnt and unburnt sites were found following the fire; recruitment was lower in the unburnt area, where population size also declined. In the burnt area, population size and recruitment displayed a tendency to increase after the fire, while capture probability declined, suggesting that an influx of new individuals, attracted to re-sprouting vegetation, had resulted in trap saturation. There was no detectable effect of the fire on survival, and no fire-induced mortalities were observed. We conclude that a low-intensity, prescribed, fuel-reduction burn had no obvious negative consequences for this possum population.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2007 The Society of Population Ecology and Springer.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/8170
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