Resistance of mammal assemblage structure to dryland salinity in a fragmented landscape
Carver, SS, Resistance of mammal assemblage structure to dryland salinity in a fragmented landscape, Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 93 pp. 119-128. ISSN 0035-922X (2010) [Refereed Article]
The impact of secondary environmental disturbance on native mammals is rarely considered. What little evidence exists, suggests that native mammal assemblages are resistant to secondary impacts. The Wheatbelt of Western Australia (WA) is a large fragmented region, resulting from historic land clearing for agriculture. Dryland salinity is a secondary environmental disturbance occurring in the Wheatbelt, as a result of land clearing, caused by rising groundwater tables and mobilisation of regolith salt to the soil surface. I used trapping and transect surveys to assess how the abundance of non-volant native, invasive and agricultural mammals related to salinity and
other environmental attributes. I found support for the hypothesis that native mammals are resistant to the effects of compounding environmental change. I also found that abundance of introduced mammals were unrelated to salinity, except sheep Ovis aries (Linnaeus 1758, Bovidae, which exhibited reduced abundance in saline areas, relating to pasture availability. Instead, individual and assemblages of mammals exhibited associations with other environmental factors,which is consistent with other studies. Findings here support other studies which indicate native mammals that survive primary environmental change are resistant to further impacts. Resistance of native mammals to secondary environmental impacts may be a widespread phenomenon.