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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Australie → 2009 → A forgotten habitat : ecology and conservation of reptiles in southern New South Wales and the implications for inselberg management in agricultural landscapes

Australian National University (2009)

A forgotten habitat : ecology and conservation of reptiles in southern New South Wales and the implications for inselberg management in agricultural landscapes

Michael, Damian

Titre : A forgotten habitat : ecology and conservation of reptiles in southern New South Wales and the implications for inselberg management in agricultural landscapes

Auteur : Michael, Damian

Université de soutenance : Australian National University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2009

Résumé partiel
Landscape ecology is a branch of science that involves studying multi-scaled relationships between biological patterns and ecological processes. This thesis aimed to explore empirical datasets to contribute new information to the fields of landscape ecology and conservation biology by addressing some key knowledge gaps in the ecological literature on reptiles. A secondary aim was to provide practical solutions and management recommendations based on the data to enhance the conservation of reptiles in agricultural landscapes. I sought to achieve this by investigating reptile responses, at multiple spatial scales and levels of organisation, to a poorly documented habitat - insular, granite outcrops (inselbergs). Granite inselbergs provide important habitat for a broad range of biota, both endemic and widespread, worldwide. However, there is a need to understand the ecological role of rocky ecosystems in Australian agricultural landscapes to address key threatening processes, improve landscape functionality and maintain, if not recover, biodiversity in human-modified landscapes. This study was conducted in fragmented landscapes within the South-western Slopes bioregion of New South Wales, south-eastern Australia. The region has been cleared of 85% of native vegetation. Thus, original vegetation is sparse and consists mainly of scattered paddock trees and small patches of remnant vegetation embedded within an agricultural matrix dominated by cereal crops and annual pasture. Devonian granite is the most dominant rock type in the study area. Furthermore, granite outcrops are a predominant geological feature in southern New South Wales and form part of band of intrusive rocks which extend from central Victoria to southern Queensland. The spatially limited and naturally patchy distribution of granite outcrops in the study area enabled me to investigate spatial responses by reptiles and apply landscape ecology theory to explore patterns of diversity and distribution. I identified novel responses of reptiles from this work and developed explicit management recommendations to guide natural resource management and biodiversity conservation in human-modified landscapes in south-eastern Australia.

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