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The relative influence of in situ and neighborhood factors on reptile recolonization in post-mining restoration sites

Triska, M.D., Craig, M.D., Stokes, V.L., Pech, R.P. and Hobbs, R.J. (2016) The relative influence of in situ and neighborhood factors on reptile recolonization in post-mining restoration sites. Restoration Ecology, 24 (4). pp. 517-527.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/rec.12340
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Abstract

Restoration can be important in slowing, or reducing, rates of biodiversity loss, but needs to consider the factors influencing fauna recolonization as part of the recovery process. Although many studies of factors influencing faunal recolonization have examined the influence of in situ site factors, fewer have examined the influence of neighborhood landscape factors, especially in landscapes with permeable matrices. To assess the relative influence of landscape and site factors on reptile recolonization in a production landscape with a permeable matrix, we surveyed reptiles at intact reference sites and post-mining restoration sites (3-20 years post-mining [YPM]) in a forest ecosystem in southwestern Australia. Reptile assemblages in restoration sites never converged on those in reference habitat. Reptile species composition and individual species abundances (>20 detections) in restoration sites were primarily influenced by site factors such as canopy height, litter cover, and coarse woody debris volume, and not by landscape factors. We suggest that the most common reptile species in our study area are primarily influenced by site factors, not landscape factors, and most reptiles detected in restoration sites were present by 3-4 YPM. Therefore, it is likely that habitat suitability is the main barrier to most species' recolonization of restoration sites in landscapes with permeable matrices. Management should continue to focus on restoring microhabitats and vegetation structure, which is similar to reference habitat to promote recolonization of restoration sites by reptiles.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
Copyright: © 2016 Society for Ecological Restoration
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/34626
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