Roadside vegetation can provide valuable habitat for small, terrestrial fauna in South Australia

  • Carthew S
  • Garrett L
  • Ruykys L
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In some regions, extensive habitat clearance and fragmentation have largely restricted remnant vegetation to linear strips, often borderin roads and railway lines. Such areas may be importanta for the persistence of native wildlife but there is a paucity of research on their biodiversity value. This study in south-eastern South Australia compared the diversity and abundance of small, terrestrial animals in remnant vegetation, roadsides and farmland. Pitfall and Elliot trapping at 30 sites resulted in a total of 1024 captures of 28 amphibian, reptile and mammal species, with 819 captures of six mammal species. Overall species diversity was highest in remnant and lowest in farm sites. Although species, many were caught in both remnant and roadsides sites, but rarely at farm sites. Mammal captures consisted of four native (Cercartetus concinnus and C. lepidus, Pseudomys apodemoides and Rattus fuscipes) and two introduced (Mus musculus and Rattus rattus) species. Mus musculus was the most commonly caught species and was significantly more abundant in roadside than remnant vegetation. Abundance was negatively correlated with habitat quality and, at a finer scale, positively associated with percentage cover of exotic grasses. C. concinnus was also commonly captures; however, the absence of a difference in capture rates between remnant and roadside sites suggests tha roadside vegetation provides important habitat. The abundance of C. concinnus was positively associated with percentage canopy cover. The current results highlight the conservation value of roadside vegetation and suggest that such areas should be both retained and appropiately managed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Australia
  • Disturbance
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Roadside corridors
  • Small mammals

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  • Susan M. Carthew

  • Liesl A. Garrett

  • Laura Ruykys

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