An assessment of the focal-species approach for conserving birds in variegated landscapes in southeastern Australia

Watson, James, Freudenberger, David and Paull, David (2001) An assessment of the focal-species approach for conserving birds in variegated landscapes in southeastern Australia. Conservation Biology, 15 5: 1364-1373. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2001.00166.x

Author Watson, James
Freudenberger, David
Paull, David
Title An assessment of the focal-species approach for conserving birds in variegated landscapes in southeastern Australia
Journal name Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0888-8892
Publication date 2001-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2001.00166.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 15
Issue 5
Start page 1364
End page 1373
Total pages 10
Place of publication Malden, MA, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The temperate woodlands of the northern Australian Capital Territory and bordering the New South Wales region of eastern Australia have been extensively disturbed by agriculture and urbanization. Small patches of woodland are now embedded in a pastoral or suburban matrix. Birds within landscapes of this region are threatened by a reduction in habitat area, increased isolation, and declining habitat condition. Within this setting, we assessed Lambeck's (1997) "focal species" approach for its ability to identify the minimum patch size, habitat structural complexity, and landscape connectivity required to accommodate existing woodland birds. Presence/absence data were gathered for 72 woodland remnants that varied in size, isolation, and habitat structural complexity. The Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata) was identified as the focal species for the threats of area and resource limitation because it had the most demanding requirements for area (>100 ha) and habitat complexity. The eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis) was the species most threatened by isolation of remnants. A landscape designed to meet the habitat requirements of these birds should encompass the requirements of all other woodland bird species that are sensitive to similar threats. A revegetation scenario based on the requirements of these two focal species is not feasible because the majority (>95%) of woodland remnants within the study area are too small, too lacking in habitat structural complexity, and too isolated to meet the requirements of the focal species. If woodland management guidelines concentrate on increasing small remnants to 10 ha in size and on ensuring that these remnants have complex shrub and ground-layer vegetation and are not isolated by more than 1.5 km from neighboring remnants, the needs of at least 95% of the resident woodland bird species in the region should be accommodated. The focal-species approach was effective for rapidly developing planning guidelines for the conservation of woodland birds in these variegated landscapes, and the approach is likely to be useful for guiding landscape reconstruction in other environments.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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