Site vegetation characteristics are more important than landscape context in determining bird assemblages in revegetation
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The effectiveness of revegetation in providing habitat for fauna is expected to be determined both by within-site factors and attributes of the landscape in which a revegetation site occurs. Most studies of fauna in revegetation have been conducted in landscapes that have been extensively cleared, modified or fragmented, and in Australia, predominantly in the southern temperate zone. We investigated how within-site vegetation attributes and landscape context attributes were related to bird species richness and composition in a chronosequence of post-mining rehabilitation sites within an otherwise intact landscape in tropical northern Australia. Our working hypothesis was that bird species richness in rehabilitating sites would be positively related to site vegetation structure and landscape context including (1) proximity to woodland and (2) the proportion of woodland within a 500-m buffer of rehabilitation sites. Within each of 67 sites, we sampled vegetation once and surveyed for birds eight times over 16?months. Landscape context variables were calculated using GIS. There were large differences between bird assemblages of woodland and rehabilitation sites and between age classes of rehabilitation. Bird assemblages were strongly related to site vegetation attributes across all rehabilitation sites. Proximity to woodland was only related to bird assemblages in rehabilitation sites older than 4?years old. We conclude that the relative importance of landscape context and site variables at any point in time will be a function of how closely vegetation within the revegetation site matches the habitat resource requirements of individual species.
© 2015 The Authors. Restoration Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Ecological Restoration. This is an open access article under the terms of theCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Ecology not elsewhere classified