Threshold effect of eucalypt density on an aggressive avian competitor

Maron, Martine (2007) Threshold effect of eucalypt density on an aggressive avian competitor. Biological Conservation, 136 1: 100-107. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2006.11.007

Author Maron, Martine
Title Threshold effect of eucalypt density on an aggressive avian competitor
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2007-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.11.007
Volume 136
Issue 1
Start page 100
End page 107
Total pages 8
Place of publication Essex, U.K.
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Subject 0502 Environmental Science and Management
Formatted abstract
General guidelines available to revegetation planners focus on the spatial context and dimensions of the revegetated site. However, site-specific habitat factors can have overarching importance for habitat value, especially where interactions with competitors or predators may play an important role. Current revegetation projects in Australia which aim to restore slow-growing buloke (Allocasuarina luehmannii) woodland, a threatened habitat important for bird conservation, usually include faster-growing eucalypts in plantings. This research aimed to identify whether eucalypt presence in buloke woodland facilitates invasion by the noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala), an aggressive competitor that is absent from pure buloke woodland. Birds were surveyed in buloke woodland remnants that contained eucalypts as a sub-dominant species at densities of 0–16 per ha. The probability of noisy miner presence in buloke woodland increased markedly where eucalypts were present at a density of approximately five per hectare. The presence of noisy miners resulted in a substantial difference in bird assemblage structure and composition. Smallbodied insectivorous birds which are experiencing population declines in southern Australia were recorded on average six times more often in transects without noisy miners (low-eucalypt density transects). Avian behaviour and habitat use was also altered, with birds flying more frequently in transects where noisy miners were present. A minor difference in habitat composition results in substantial degradation of the conservation value of non-eucalypt woodland in eastern Australia due to invasion by aggressive avian competitors. Revegetation and restoration practices should take into account the potential for such subtle floristic differences to result in substantial variation in conservation outcomes.
© 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Habitat composition
Habitat use
Interspecific competition
Noisy miners
Woodland birds
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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