Journal article

The vegetation structure and condition of contracting lowland habitat for Leadbeater's possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri)

Joe Greet, Dan Harley, Kita Ashman, Darcy Watchorn, David Duncan



Lowland Leadbeater's possums are on a trajectory to extinction, with fewer than 40 individuals surviving in the wild. Quantification of the vegetation characteristics of their occupied habitat is urgently needed to inform strategies to conserve this genetically distinct population. We surveyed the canopy and midstorey vegetation at all remaining (nine) occupied territories and eleven abandoned territories in lowland swamp forest at the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. For each territory we quantified canopy and midstorey stem density, basal area (total and live) and vegetation condition (percentage live basal area, tree crown vigour and plant area index) within a 50-m radius of known d..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council Linkage project

Funding Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri as the Traditional Owners of the land on which this research was conducted. Parks Victoria has been highly supportive of the long-term monitoring programme for lowland Leadbeater's possum at Yellingbo, which has highlighted their decline. We acknowledge the specific contribution of Joanne Antrobus (from Parks Victoria). Melbourne Water have dedicated substantial resources to improve the hydrology and vegetation condition at Yellingbo, and we thank Sarah Gaskill in particular. Luke Westerland also contributed to the development of this study, and Lee Hazel helped with Figs 2 and 3. This study was supported by funding from Melbourne Water through the Melbourne Waterways Research Practice Partnership; and the Australian Research Council Linkage project (LP150100682) with partners Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Zoos Victoria, and Greening Australia.