Fauna assemblages were assessed within four primary vegetation types and three edge types between grassland and wooded habitats within the Bunya Mountains of eastern Australia. Wet rainforests differed in their species assemblages to dry rainforest, savanna woodland and grassy bald. Dry rainforests and savanna woodlands had similar species composition despite their dissimilar floristic and structural attributes. The small grassy balds supported lower vertebrate species richness and abundance and were significantly different in species composition to all other vegetation types. The small and structurally simple grassy balds contained a subset of species also found in surrounding forest and woodland vegetation, with only a few grassland specific species. Fauna assemblages in grassy bald-rainforest edges were significantly different to grassy balds and rainforest interiors, while grassy bald-savanna woodland edges were similar to savanna woodland interiors. The reptile Lampropholis colossus, the only endemic on the Bunya Mountains, was not a grassland specialist but was found in dry rainforest edge adjacent to balds, dry rainforest and savanna woodland containing rainforest elements at high altitude. A paucity of grassland specialists and endemics associated with balds concurs with evidence that grassy balds are of a relatively recent origin. Management intervention to preserve grassy balds will sustain small biodiversity gains.
Fauna of the grassland-forest landscape mosaics of the Bunya Mountains, eastern Australia
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Geoffrey Smith, Roderick Fensham, Daniel Ferguson, Luke Hogan, Michael Mathieson; Fauna of the grassland-forest landscape mosaics of the Bunya Mountains, eastern Australia. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2015; 37 (3): 302–310. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2014.035
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