ANU Bird Studies

The South West Slopes (SWS) Restoration Study was established in 2000 to examine how different faunal groups such as birds, possums and reptiles respond to tree plantings and remnant vegetation on farms. The project area is located in the SWS bioregion, southern New South Wales and spans an area from Howlong in the south to Junee in the north.

Below are the abstracts and links to the Australian National University’s Publications on birds, from the SWS Restoration Study.

Revegetation type influences bird assemblages in threatened Australian woodland ecosystems

We examined the conservation value of coppice regrowth, seedling regrowth, plantings and old growth vegetation. Our findings included: (1) Marked differences in the bird assemblages of plantings, resprout regrowth, seedling regrowth, and old growth. (2)Differences in the number of species detected significantly more often in the different growth types; 29 species for plantings, 25 for seedling regrowth, 20 for resprout regrowth, and 15 for old growth. (3) Many bird species of conservation concern were significantly more often recorded in resprout regrowth, seedling regrowth or plantings but no species of conservation concern were recorded most often in old growth. Read more…

Woodland birds respond to native vegetation cover at multiple spatial scales and over time

We statistically estimated spatial and temporal components of variation at the landscape, farm and site scale for several composite indices of bird diversity. Second, we modelled the relationships between aggregate bird biodiversity and log % of native vegetation cover at each spatial scale and over time. Variation in bird biodiversity at the landscape, farm and site scale exhibited significant, intrinsic scale-specific effects. This dependence was largely accounted for by native vegetation cover with aggregate biodiversity increasing with increasing native vegetation cover at each spatial scale and over time. We used ‘diminishing returns’ response curves to model relationships between measures of bird biodiversity and vegetation cover at all spatial scales. Read more…

The combined effect of remnant vegetation and tree planting on farmland birds

We estimated separate and joint effects of remnant native woodland vegetation and recent tree plantings on farmland birds. Bird responses were explained by 3 factors: remnant native-vegetation attributes (native grassland, scattered paddock trees, patches of remnant native woodland); presence or absence of planted native trees; and the size and shape of tree plantings. Farms with high values for remnant native vegetation were those most likely to support declining or vulnerable species, although some individual species of conservation concern occurred on farms with large plantings.  Read more…

Multi-scale associations between vegetation cover and woodland bird communities

We investigated how patch and landscape-scale vegetation cover structure woodland bird communities. We asked: (1) How is the bird community associated with the vegetation structure of woodland patches and the amount of vegetation cover in the surrounding landscape? (2) Do species of conservation concern respond to woodland vegetation structure and surrounding vegetation cover differently to other species in the community? And (3) Can the relationships between the bird community and the woodland vegetation structure and surrounding vegetation cover be explained by the ecological traits of the species comprising the bird community?  Read more…

Murray Catchment habitat restoration: Lessons from landscape-level research and monitoring

Native vegetation restoration and conservation works have been ongoing for three decades in the South West Slopes Bioregion of NSW’s Murray Catchment. Monitoring of extensive areas of protected remnants and revegetation undertaken through a major partnership between ANU researchers and the Murray CMA shows early benefits of restoration efforts to biodiversity and helps to refine future efforts. Read more…

Figure 1. The South-West Slopes Restoration Study, New South Wales, Australia: (A) location of woodland sites across the region, (B) native vegetation cover in the surrounding landscape, and (C) a survey site in a woodland patch.

Images: K. Ikin.