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

Citation

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 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsos.201603

Abstract

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)
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-04-26
Last Modified:2021-05-05
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