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Collapse of an avifauna : climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation

Mac Nally, Ralph, Bennett, Andrew F, Thomson, James R., Radford, James Q., Unmack, Guy, Horrocks, Gregory and Vesk, Peter A. 2009, Collapse of an avifauna : climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation, Diversity and distribution, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 720-730, doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00578.x.

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Title Collapse of an avifauna : climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation
Author(s) Mac Nally, Ralph
Bennett, Andrew F
Thomson, James R.
Radford, James Q.
Unmack, Guy
Horrocks, Gregory
Vesk, Peter A.
Journal name Diversity and distribution
Volume number 15
Issue number 4
Start page 720
End page 730
Total pages 11
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2009-07
ISSN 1366-9516
1472-4642
Keyword(s) Australia
birds
breeding failure
drought
eucalypt woodlands
flowering
Summary Aim. We characterized changes in reporting rates and abundances of bird species over a period of severe rainfall deficiency and increasing average temperatures. We also measured flowering in eucalypts, which support large numbers of nectarivores characteristic of the region.

Location.  A 30,000-km2 region of northern Victoria, Australia, consisting of limited amounts of remnant native woodlands embedded in largely agricultural landscapes.

Methods. There were three sets of monitoring studies, pitched at regional  (survey programmes in 1995–97, 2004–05 and 2006–08), landscape (2002–03 and 2006–07) and site (1997–2008 continuously) scales. Bird survey techniques used a standard 2-ha, 20-min count method. We used Bayesian analyses of reporting rates to document statistically changes in the avifauna through time at each spatial scale.

Results. Bird populations in the largest remnants of native vegetation (up to 40,000 ha), some of which have been declared as national parks in the past decade, experienced similar declines to those in heavily cleared andscapes. All categories of birds (guilds based on foraging substrate, diet, nest site; relative mobility; geographical distributions) were affected similarly. We detected virtually no bird breeding in the latest survey periods. Eucalypt flowering has declined significantly over the past 12 years of drought.

Main conclusions. Declines in the largest woodland remnants commensurate with those in cleared landscapes suggest that reserve systems may not be relied upon to sustain species under climate change. We attribute population declines to low breeding success due to reduced food. Resilience of bird populations in this woodland system might be increased by active management to enhance habitat quality in existing vegetation and restoration of woodland in the more fertile parts of landscapes.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2009.00578.x
Field of Research 050104 Landscape Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, Wiley- Blackwell Publishing
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30022997

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.