Territory Stories

Vertebrate monitoring and resampling in Kakadu National Park : Year 3, 2003-04



Vertebrate monitoring and resampling in Kakadu National Park : Year 3, 2003-04


Watson, Michelle; Woinarski, John Casimir Zichy; Northern Territory. Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




Date:2004-05; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Table of contents

Summary -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Continuation of a monitoring program that will contribute to the assessment of impacts of cane toads -- 3. Baseline survey of vertebrates at fire monitoring plots -- 4. Investigation of change in vertebrate (especially mammal) species composition at sites sampled in historic surveys -- a. Jabiluka -- b. Kapalga -- 5. Survey of threatened plants -- 6. Investigation of census and trapping methods for feral cats and dingoes -- 7. Training of Parks Australia staff in fauna survey through a field-based camp -- 8. Compilation of data bases and GIS layers showing existing and current fauna records -- Appendix A. Schedule for consultancy RS19 Vertebrate monitoring and resampling in Kakadu National Park.




Animals -- Northern Territory -- Kakadu National Park

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Northern Territory Government

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v, 57 pages : col. maps ; 30 cm.

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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17 Four species that were not recorded in the original study were recorded in 2003 (Fawn Antechinus, Black Wallaroo, Black-Footed Tree-rat and Pale Field-rat) although, with the exception of the Pale Field-rat, there were only a small number of records for these species. Conversely, two species (Water Rat and Short-Eared Rock-wallaby) were recorded in the original survey but not in 2003. Again there were only a few records of these species so no conclusion can be drawn from their absence in the 2003 re-sample. Correlates of change: habitat Of the six species that were recorded in 10 or more sub-sites, only one showed significant variation across the five habitat types in the pattern of its change in abundance (Table 4.3). The Northern Brown Bandicoot increased in all habitat types, but the extent of this increase was significantly greater in the floodplain fringe habitat (F=11.7, p=0.001). The total number of mammals decreased in riparian woodland and mixed eucalypt woodland but increased in the remaining three habitats (Table 4.3 Fig. 4.2). Correlates of change: fire history The Jabiluka survey sites have had a variable range of fire histories over the 22 years between baseline and subsequent sampling. These fire histories are summarised in Fig. 4.3. The maximum number of times any of the sub-sites was burnt between 1982 and 2003 was 14. No sub-sites remained unburnt for the entire period, although one site had only one fire and a number of others had fewer than five fires. Late dry season fires were relatively uncommon between 1982 and 2003, with no sites having more than six late dry season fires. This extent of late dry season fires is low relative to that typical for the Park as a whole (e.g. Turner et al. 2002). The longest time since any of the sub-sites was last burnt was five years, with the majority of sub-sites having an interval of two years between the 2003 resample and the last fire. The time since the last late dry season fire at the majority of sub-sites was five years, however this ranged from 0 to 13 years. Of the six native species with sufficient records for modelling, four had significant relationships with the calculated fire history parameters. The generalised linear models for these species, the total mammal abundance and number of species are summarised in Table 4.4. There was no significant model for the Common rock-rat, Sandstone antechinus, or number of species. In summary, the significant relationships for the other four species and total mammal abundance were: Northern brown bandicoot became less abundant at sites with increasing time since the last fire. Grassland melomys became more abundant at sites with increasing time since fire but also showed a positive relationship with more frequent fires. Arnhem rock-rat became more abundant at sites with more frequent fires between 1996 and 2003. Northern quoll became less abundant at sites with a longer time since the last late dry season fire and also less abundant with more fires between 1996 and 2003. Total mammal abundance increased with more fires between 1996 and 2003 and, somewhat confusingly also showed a positive relationship with increasing time since the last fire.

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