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Attracting animals to restoration, why should we care and what can we learn from jarrah forest studies?

Craig, M., Stokes, V., Hardy, G., Grigg, A. and Wilson, B. (2009) Attracting animals to restoration, why should we care and what can we learn from jarrah forest studies? In: 19th Conference of the Society of Ecological Restoration International, 24 - 26 August, Perth, Western Australia.


Most restoration research has focused, not unreasonably, on establishing vegetation cover with the unstated assumption that fauna will naturally recolonise the site once vegetation has established, the Field of Dreams hypothesis. There are, however, several reasons to believe that some fauna will fail to recolonise in many, or most, ecosystems. Given that fauna play a critical role in ecosystem functioning and processes, and comprise most of the biodiversity present at any site, it is critical that we attract all fauna back to restored areas if we are to be successful in creating fully-functioning ecosystems that approximate reference ecosystems. We assessed the Field of Dreams hypothesis in restored bauxite mines in the jarrah forest of south-western Australia and came up with recommendations to improve restoration practices to attract more fauna back to restored sites. We demonstrated that the Field of Dreams hypothesis did not hold for either birds or reptiles, with several species rare or absent in minesite restoration. Recommendations to improve restoration practices include the provision of more coarse woody debris, the creation of canopy gaps and the creation of more open understories. If these recommendations are implemented, a greater proportion of the fauna present in unmined jarrah forest should naturally recolonise restored minepits. These data demonstrate the need, for many restoration projects, to incorporate methods to accelerate faunal return into restoration planning and implementation.

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