Journal article

Predators, fire or resources: What drives the distribution of herbivores in fragmented mesic forests?

William L Geary, Bronwyn A Hradsky, Alan Robley, Brendan A Wintle

Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere | WILEY | Published : 2020


Trophic interactions and disturbance events can shape the structure and function of ecosystems. However, the effects of drivers such as predation, fire and climatic variables on species distributions are rarely considered concurrently. We used a replicated landscape‐scale predator management experiment to compare the effects of red fox Vulpes vulpes control, time‐since‐fire, vegetation type and other environmental variables on native herbivore distributions. Occurrence data for four native herbivores and an invasive predator – the red fox – were collected from 240 sites across three baited (for lethal fox control) and three unbaited forest blocks (4659–9750 ha) in south‐western Victoria, Aus..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank those who assisted with the data collection for this work, specifically Georgie Neave and the Glenelg Ark team. We thank Matt White for discussions about modelling. This work was supported by the Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, Parks Victoria and the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program through the Threatened Species Recovery Hub.