Initial observations on the effect of thinning Eucalypt regrowth on Heliothermic Skinks in lowland forest, East Gippsland Victoria
Alex Kutt, 1993. "Initial observations on the effect of thinning Eucalypt regrowth on Heliothermic Skinks in lowland forest, East Gippsland Victoria", Herpetology in Australia: A Diverse Discipline, Daniel Lunney, Danielle Ayers
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This study examined the influence of vegetation structure of thinned regrowth, unthinned regrowth and mature eucalypt forest on heliothermic skink populations. Thinned sites characterized by an open vegetation structure, an increase in penetrating sunlight and the availability of “litter-free” basking substrates indicated a tendency to support generally a higher density of skinks, including more Lampropholis guichenoti a species that prefers drier, exposed sites. Conversely, unthinned regrowth sites, characterised by a more enclosed structure, less penetrating sunlight and large amounts of litter and vegetation covering available basking substrates, generally supported fewer heliothermic skinks overall, except for Lampropholis delicata, a species that prefers sheltered sites. The arboreal Spencer’s Skink Psuedemoia spenceri occurred in significantly higher numbers in mature forest and the Water Skink Eulamprus heatwolei revealed a tendency to prefer thinned and mature forest sites with exposed logs for basking. This study indicates that thinning of regrowth does not appear to disadvantage heliothermic skinks and in the short term may even favour some species. Further monitoring would be needed to examine the changes to skink composition as the understorey and canopy redevelops.