The characteristics of six species of living hollow-bearing trees and their importance for arboreal marsupials in the dry sclerophyll forests of southeast Queensland, Australia
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Six species of trees located in the dry sclerophyll forests of southeast Queensland were studied to ascertain which was most suitable to be retained as hollow-bearing trees for nesting and denning by arboreal marsupials. Generally for all tree species, the number of entrances to hollows was positively correlated with the diameter at breast height (DBH) and the growth stage, and entrance diameters also increased in trees with a larger DBH. However, there were differences between the species; Corymbia citriodora had few hollows until the individuals were very large while Eucalyptus crebra had low numbers of hollows throughout its entire size range. It was concluded that a mixture of tree species provided a range of hollow sizes and positions that would be suitable for nesting and denning by arboreal marsupials in those forests. There were large differences between tree species in the relationship between tree size and estimated age. Five of the tree species took between 186 and 230 years to begin to produce hollows while E. crebra took up to 324 years. This suggests that tree species other than E. crebra may be the most preferred for retention in areas where hollow-bearing tree densities are lower than the prescribed level. Other data also suggests there are likely to be enough trees in larger size classes that would begin to form hollows within the next 50 years to compensate for an expected loss of hollow-bearing stags during that same period. In terms of forest operation, the retention of six hollow-bearing trees/ha would represent an estimated loss of 7.3-15% wood production.
Forest Ecology and management