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Preferences of two mammalian herbivores for tree seedlings and potential cover crops in plantation forestry


Miller, AM and McArthur, C and Smethurst, PJ and Wang, SF, Preferences of two mammalian herbivores for tree seedlings and potential cover crops in plantation forestry, Australian Forestry, 69, (2) pp. 114-121. ISSN 0004-9158 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/00049158.2006.10676237


Newly established plantations are often damaged by heavy browsing. This is a major economic problem. Vegetation management involving the use of cover crops is a potential method for reducing browsing damage to plantation seedlings. An important first step in determining whether this is feasible is to determine the relative preferences of browsing herbivores for seedlings and crops. We conducted a no-choice feeding trial with red-bellied pademelons (Thylogale billardierii) and common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) to determine their relative preferences for two common plantation species: Eucalyptus nitens and Pinus radiata, and three potential legume cover crops: bitter lupin (Lupinus albus), sweet lupin (L. angustifolius) and broad bean (Vicia faba L. cv Coles Dwarf). Pademelons exhibited a strong preference for P. radiata, but did not eat much of the legumes. Possums showed no significant preferences for any of the plants offered. A paired-choice feeding trial with pademelons demonstrated that bitter lupin was less preferred and oats (Avena sativa variety Esk) were more preferred than E. nitens. These results can now be integrated with an understanding of feeding behaviour at higher scales (e.g. vegetation patch) in order to design effective vegetation management for reducing browsing damage.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Zoology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Miller, AM (Dr Alison Miller)
ID Code:42905
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2007-05-10

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