Decline and likely extinction of a northern Australian native rodent, the Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat Conilurus penicillatus

Decline and likely extinction of a northern Australian native rodent, the Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat... Contemporary fire patterns are considered the most likely cause for regional population decline amongst small to medium mammals in northern tropical Australia. Here we assess the extinction risk faced by a vulnerable north Australian native rodent, the Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat Conilurus penicillatus in relation to fire frequency. This species has recently suffered a significant contraction in range. We provide the first quantitative evidence to demonstrate the immediate threat destructive wildfires and regular annual fire pose to the long-term population persistence of C. penicillatus . We show that late-dry season fires cause a reduction in both juvenile and adult survival probabilities. However, abundance declined at the unburnt as well as a frequently burnt site, suggesting that fire exclusion alone does not guarantee the species’ long-term persistence. Our model projections indicate that the remaining populations of C. penicillatus on the Northern Territory mainland risk extirpation within the next ten years. Conservation requires decisive management action to ameliorate extensive and destructive fires. A multi-faceted management plan needs to focus on restoring a fire management regime which generates a fine-scale mosaic of burnt and unburnt habitat, and the release of captive bred animals into fenced reserves free of exotic predators. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Conservation Elsevier

Decline and likely extinction of a northern Australian native rodent, the Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat Conilurus penicillatus

Loading next page...
 
/lp/elsevier/decline-and-likely-extinction-of-a-northern-australian-native-rodent-8yREM28Agp
Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0006-3207
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.biocon.2010.02.027
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary fire patterns are considered the most likely cause for regional population decline amongst small to medium mammals in northern tropical Australia. Here we assess the extinction risk faced by a vulnerable north Australian native rodent, the Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat Conilurus penicillatus in relation to fire frequency. This species has recently suffered a significant contraction in range. We provide the first quantitative evidence to demonstrate the immediate threat destructive wildfires and regular annual fire pose to the long-term population persistence of C. penicillatus . We show that late-dry season fires cause a reduction in both juvenile and adult survival probabilities. However, abundance declined at the unburnt as well as a frequently burnt site, suggesting that fire exclusion alone does not guarantee the species’ long-term persistence. Our model projections indicate that the remaining populations of C. penicillatus on the Northern Territory mainland risk extirpation within the next ten years. Conservation requires decisive management action to ameliorate extensive and destructive fires. A multi-faceted management plan needs to focus on restoring a fire management regime which generates a fine-scale mosaic of burnt and unburnt habitat, and the release of captive bred animals into fenced reserves free of exotic predators.

Journal

Biological ConservationElsevier

Published: May 1, 2010

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off