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Maximising fauna return post bauxite mining — using science to influence restoration practice

Stokes, V., Craig, M., Hobbs, R. and Hardy, G. (2010) Maximising fauna return post bauxite mining — using science to influence restoration practice. In: Ecological Society of Australia 2010 Annual Conference Sustaining biodiversity – the next 50 years, 4 - 10 December, Canberra, ACT, Australia.


Alcoa of Australia has been mining bauxite in the northern jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest of Western Australia since 1963. Around 600 ha are mined and restored annually. Science is an important component of the restoration process for re-establishing a self-sustaining forest ecosystem of conservation value. We aim to understand the successional return of fauna, how this corresponds with plant successional processes, and the habitat requirements of late successional species. Research has shown that some faunal groups, particularly reptiles are slow or fail to recolonise, suggesting that the common premise that fauna will naturally follow vegetation establishment does not always hold true. Over-dense stands of eucalypts in rehabilitation potentially interfere with the capacity of some reptile species to thermo-regulate. Current research is focused on the role of forest management practices such as thinning and burning rehabilitation, and log return in meeting the habitat requirements and thus maximising the successful return of these species. Thinning and burning rehabilitation provides suitable habitat for mammals such as the western pygmy possum. Reptiles such as Morethia obscura and Menetia greyii are encouraged into rehabilitation by thinning and burning, resulting in reptile communities more similar to those in unmined forest.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
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