Another addition to the list of small mammals that require regular fire to
reduce undergrowth is the Common Dunnart. I conducted a little study near
Killingworth in the mid 1990's and found the dunnarts to be very common
within the first couple of years after fire. Over about a six month period
however, I noted a change with dunnart numbers dropping off and rats and
Brown Antechinus moving in as the understorey thickened up.
Whether you call it hazard reduction or not, I think the important
requirement is for variety and habitat patchiness. However you manage land-
it will help some species and hinder others.
At 06:17 PM 23/09/01 +1000, Alan Morris wrote:
I found Reg Clarke's summary of the change in diet of the Powerful Owl
following a hazard reduction most interesting but also noted his
questioning of the rationanlity of having a hazard reduction. This reminds
me that following a bushfire in Wyrrabalong National Park in 1993 ( an
area having a large Ringtail population), the formerly rarely recorded New
Holland Mouse Pseudomys novaehollandiae, became very common from 1 year to
3 years after the fire on the coastal heaths of Wyrrabalong, but gradually
the numbers fell away once the heath and coastal forest gradually regained
its usual height.
Similarly following a bushfire in Cockle Bay Nature Reserve in 1992, the
virtually locally unknown and Threatened, Eastern Chestnut Mouse Meloyms
sp. was readily found in this coastal swamp forest. Again as the period
since the last fire continues to extend, I am sure that the vegetation at
Cockle Bay is probably now once again unsuitable for that large mouse.
However I would like to think that the Barn Owls at Wyyrabalong and the
Masked Owls near Cockale Bay benifitted from those fires! Properly managed
Hazard Reductions have an important role to play in nature conservation
and there is evidence to show that most of our wildlife is able to adapt
to hazard reductions and wildfires. What may have been to the disadvanage
to the Powerful owl, may have been to the advantage of other birds.
Obviously when the Powerful Owls at Turramurra turned to eating Pied
Currawongs & Rainbow Lorikeets, the latter two species were not greatly missed.
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