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Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Written Submissions Received Volume 2 Issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of Cane Toads October 2003



Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Written Submissions Received Volume 2 Issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of Cane Toads October 2003

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Tabled Paper 1123


Tabled Papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Delia Lawrie


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Environment Australia Part I Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 114 possible recovery of species initially affected or, conversely, possible ongoing and compounded decline of some species initially showing only minor impact. Re-sampling of a landmark sandstone fauna survey: Little Nourlangie Rock (Nawurlandja) In 2002, we re-sampled the mammal fauna at the stone country site for which the most quantitative historic information was available. This baseline was a 3-year study (1977-80) by Begg and colleagues at Little Nourlangie Rock (Nawurlandja). We replicated their methodology and trapping area as tightly as possible, at two sampling periods (April and July). In comparison to the same sampling periods in the 1977-79 study, we observed a significant decline in overall mammal numbers and in three of the four individual mammal species recorded by Begg. Based on the results from the 1977-79 study, we should have trapped 28 northern quolls from our 2002 trapping effort (whereas we caught two), 139 sandstone antechinus (whereas we caught 41) and 30 Arnhem rock-rats (whereas we caught 0). In contrast, numbers of the smallest and least specialised mammal species, the common rock-rat, were significantly higher (63 captures in 2002) than the expected tally (33). These results may be evidence of a long-term decline in the sandstone mammal fauna, or they may be evidence of a shorter-term response to fire history. The results offer some support for a short-term decline in at least the year following fire in this habitat. Longer-term trends can be deciphered only with further periods of monitoring. Re-sampling CSIRO Kakadu Stage I & II fauna survey sites: mammals In 2002, we re-sampled the vertebrate fauna at 16 sites (each with three quadrats) originally sampled between 1980 and 1983 as part of the Kakadu Fauna Survey. These 16 sites comprise most of the lowland eucalypt forest and woodland sites of that original study. All are in the northern half of the Park. None had been colonised by cane toads in either the baseline survey or at the time of our resampling. In this report we describe results for the mammal fauna. These results show remarkably little change in the native mammal fauna across these 16 sites, with indication of change only for the northern brown bandicoot (relatively small decline). In contrast, there was major decline for a range of feral mammals from 1980-83 to 2002. This set of results should be treated with some circumspection, because the amount of data (in the baseline and re-sampling) is relatively meagre. However, they do contrast substantially with previous results from Kapalga, and from the results at Nawurlandja reported elsewhere in this report, and offer some optimism for the KNP mammal fauna. These results will be analysed in more detail subsequently. Vegetation at the 16 sites is currently being assessed, which will allow us to examine changes in the fauna at the site level, and whether this relates to vegetation change over this period. Re-sampling of the Stage III (Mary River district) fauna plots: frogs, reptiles and birds This study reports change in the frog, reptile and bird faunas at 263 quadrats in the Mary River District between a baseline sampling in 1988-90 and subsequent resampling in 2001. It counterpoints results for the mammal fauna at these sites