Eucalypt forest birds: the role of nesting and foraging resources in conservation and management
Harry F. Recher, 2004. "Eucalypt forest birds: the role of nesting and foraging resources in conservation and management", Conservation of Australia's Forest Fauna, Daniel Lunney
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Forest wildlife management in Australian eucalypt forests emphasizes the retention of tree hollows for fauna requiring hollows for nesting or denning. This overlooks the requirements of birds in eucalypt forests for a variety of resources for nesting and foraging other than tree hollows. Some birds nest only on vertical or horizontal dead branches, while others require shrubs or dense ground vegetation. There are significant differences between plant species in the foraging resources available to birds. For example, bark type and the associated arthropod fauna differ between tree species, as do the arthropods found in the canopy. This complex array of resources is not necessarily provided by management plans which emphasize the conservation of trees with hollows. Not all eucalypts readily form hollows and those that do differ in bark type, epiphytes, canopy arthropods and nectar production from those that do not. Comparable differences occur among types and species of shrubs and ground vegetation. Additionally, logs, coarse woody debris and litter, and their associated biota, are important components of forest ecosystems and provide essential resources for forest birds. If the full complement of forest birds is to be conserved, each of these resources must be managed across the entire forest estate and not just where logging is taking place. It is equally important to manage the impacts of fuel reduction burns. The availability of foliage, seeds, fruits, nectar, lerp, arthropods and vertebrates used by forest birds as food changes seasonally and from year to year within and between forest areas and the pattern of resource abundance, which is partly a consequence of fire history, must be part of all plans of management. If the goal is the conservation of forest birds in perpetuity, then site and industry specific management protocols are inadequate. Instead, management must be regional and involve all land tenures with close co-ordination of conservation programs between regions at a continental scale. Rehabilitation, conservation and tree planting programs in urban and agricultural areas must be integrated with the management of birds on state forests, conservation reserves and private lands.