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Roughing it: terrain is crucial in identifying novel translocation sites for the vulnerable brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale pencillata)


Morris, SD and Johnson, CN and Brook, BW, Roughing it: terrain is crucial in identifying novel translocation sites for the vulnerable brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale pencillata), Royal Society open science, 7, (12) Article 201603. ISSN 2054-5703 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2020 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsos.201603


Translocations - the movement of species from one place to another - are likely to become more common as conservation attempts to protect small isolated populations from threats posed by extreme events such as bushfires. The recent Australian mega-fires burnt almost 40% of the habitat of the brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale pencillata), a threatened species whose distribution is already restricted, primarily due to predation by invasive species. This chronic threat of over-predation, coupled with the possible extinction of the genetically distinct southern population (approx. 40 individuals in the wild), makes this species a candidate for a conservation translocation. Here, we use species distribution models to identify translocation sites for the brush-tailed rock-wallaby. Our models exhibited high predictive accuracy, and show that terrain roughness, a surrogate for predator refugia, is the most important variable. Tasmania, which currently has no rock-wallabies, showed high suitability and is fox-free, making it a promising candidate site. We outline our argument for the trial translocation of rock-wallaby to Maria Island, located off Tasmania's eastern coast. This research offers a transparent assessment of the translocation potential of a threatened species, which can be adapted to other taxa and systems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:conservation translocation, species distribution models, assisted migration, ecological modelling, Australian mega-fires
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Morris, SD (Mr Shane Morris)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:144159
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (CE170100015)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-04-26
Last Modified:2021-05-05
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