The latest results from a wildlife monitoring program have revealed small mammals are recovering strongly in Eden state forests following the Black Summer bushfires.
A strong response has been seen in all small mammals monitored, with most recording the highest occupancy rates since the program started 13 years ago, said Forestry Corporation’s Senior Field Ecologist, Dr Rohan Bilney.
“This year we have continued to see phenomenal on-going recovery of all small mammals in Eden state forests since the Black Summer fires in early 2020,” Dr Bilney said.
“Three years of above average rainfall have set the stage for this strong recovery and we are excited to see such a boom in small mammal occupancy.”
The program monitors 40 Eden state forest sites in spring and autumn each year.
Over the last two years long-nosed bandicoots have increased from 27 per cent to 100 per cent site occupancy, while southern brown bandicoots have gone from 10 per cent to 75 per cent.
The small carnivorous marsupials (antechinus spp. and dunnarts) have increased from 33 per cent to 100 per cent site occupancy over this time.
Site occupancy for native bush rats doubled in twelve months, from 50 per cent to 100 per cent.
“More startling is the number of bush rat camera images, increasing 46 fold in two years, from 571 in 2020 to 26,492 images in spring 2022, suggesting a remarkable increase in abundance,” Dr Bilney said.
“The program was established to monitor occupancy trends in the endangered southern brown bandicoots in the Eden area, but also delivers fascinating information for a range of small mammal species.
“We can’t wait to see the results in 2023, especially as autumn usually has higher occupancy for most species!”
This species-specific monitoring program is run in complement to the organisation’s larger 300-site program running on the NSW east coast from the Queensland border to Victoria.
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Images: Forestry Corporation