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The long-term effects of logging for woodchips on small mammal populations

Lunney, D., Matthews, A., Eby, P. and Penn, A.M. (2009) The long-term effects of logging for woodchips on small mammal populations. Wildlife Research, 36 (8). pp. 691-701.

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Context. Long-term studies are internationally recognised as an essential component of achieving ecologically sustainable forest management with respect to fauna. Aims. This study aimed to assess longer-term responses of small mammals to logging by returning in 1998 to our 198083 study sites in south-eastern New South Wales, Australia. Methods. Three age-classes of forest were surveyed: unlogged; 1819-year-old regrowth; and 2634-year-old regrowth. Key results. Rattus fuscipes remained affected by logging, and there were significantly fewer R. fuscipes males in logged, north-west-facing sites than at other sites, although the effect was less pronounced in 1998 than in 198083. Antechinus agilis females were significantly less numerous in south-east-facing, unlogged forest. This was not expected from the 198083 results. Antechinus swainsonii, which had disappeared following a fire in 1980, had returned to the forest by 1998. A. swainsonii females showed a significant preference for south-east-facing slopes and this relationship was consistent between logged and unlogged forest. No members of Mus musculus or Sminthopsis leucopus, which were present in 198083, were caught in 1998. Conclusions. As in the 1980s study, the responses of small mammal species to logging history were varied and species specific. Implications. In our study area, we predict that sustained logging for woodchips will continue to deplete its populations of small mammals. This adds to the case for a more robust and sustained approach to researching and managing our forest fauna.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2009 CSIRO
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