The persistence of Australia's forest herpetofauna communities depends on the availability of spatially heterogeneous microhabitats. The composition of these communities is directly related to the availability of complex structures such as coarse woody debris, an integral attribute of forest ecosystems that provides structurally diverse habitat for biota. This study aimed to determine whether the distribution of herpetofauna within an Australian subtropical rainforest remnant is significantly influenced by the presence or absence of coarse woody debris. Capture and release of herpetofauna at 30 sample sites (15 with coarse woody debris present within a 20 m proximity and 15 with coarse woody debris absent within a 20 m proximity) using double-ended funnel traps determined that reptile capture frequencies were significantly higher at sites with coarse woody debris, due mainly to large captures of Eulamprus murrayi. Amphibian capture frequencies did not differ between the two site types, but was found to differ with rainfall events. Findings from this study suggest that management practices reducing coarse woody debris availability should be avoided.
Proximity to coarse woody debris increases reptile presence in an Australian subtropical rainforest remnant
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Melanie McGregor, Scott Burnett; Proximity to coarse woody debris increases reptile presence in an Australian subtropical rainforest remnant. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2014; 37 (2): 267–274. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2014.004
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