Survival and recovery of threatened animal species in fire-affected Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Areas

Date: 13, Oct, 2021
Author(s):   Diana Fisher, Maria Jose Lopez, Ehlana Davidson, Nathalie Butt
Publisher: TSR Hub

The 2019–20 wildfires burned more than half of the area of the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area in northern NSW and southern Queensland. Many rainforest areas that burned are important habitat for threatened mammals including the black-tailed dusky antechinus, spotted-tailed quoll, Hastings River mouse, and longnosed potoroo. This region also supports important populations of the more widespread but declining brush-tailed rock wallaby and koala. This project aimed to assess the persistence of these species in patches of forest that experienced fires of varying severity or were unburned, in key areas of the Main Range section of the Scenic Rim in Queensland. We detected only one of the four target threatened mammal species, the long-nosed potoroo. This species was in two of the monitored locations: Mt Superbus and Spicer’s Peak. We also detected koalas; 35% of camera trap observations of koalas were in sites subject to high intensity fires. More than a third of our camera trap observations were of invasive mammals. Feral cats were concentrated in unburnt patches of rainforest, along with long-nosed potoroos and long-nosed bandicoots.