Eastern bettongs bounce back

Jun 04, 2012
Eastern bettongs bounce back
An Eastern bettong by Dr Adrian Manning.

(Phys.org) -- The release of Eastern bettongs from Tasmania into the ACT’s predator-proof sanctuary at Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve last week, could be the key to help recover endangered Box Gum grassy woodlands, according to research from The Australian National University.

Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow Dr. Adrian Manning from the Fenner School of Environment and Society, part of the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, said bettongs (Bettongia gaimardi) are considered to be ‘ecosystem engineers’, but became extinct in the woodlands of mainland Australia more than 80 years ago due to feral predators, habitat loss and eradication by humans.

“By disturbing the earth while digging for truffles and other native fungi, these small marsupials turn over large quantities of soil, which leads to improvements in the infiltration of water and nutrients, and helps seedling germination and the spread of fungal spores that are critical to woodland health,” Dr. Manning said.

“Our team of ecologists is trying to understand how these reintroduced animals impact on woodland ecosystems, and then examine if they can be used by land managers as an ecological restoration tool to repair Box Gum grassy woodlands.”

The reintroduction of Eastern Bettongs is part of a larger research project, The Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Woodland Experiment, which is led by Dr. Manning.

The experiment is examining effective ways to restore grassy woodlands in a partnership between the ACT Government, CSIRO and the James Hutton Institute in Scotland. The project is taking place at the Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Nature Reserves on the northern edge of the ACT.

“Together the reserves are an important ‘outdoor laboratory’ for learning about the restoration of grassy woodlands. The research on bettongs and other restoration treatments should provide the ACT Government and other managers of woodlands with sound evidence to better conserve one of Australia’s most endangered ecological communities,” Dr. Manning said.

“We hope the project will be a catalyst for changing thinking about how to rebuild our lost ecosystems and secure the future for the threatened species that are dependent upon woodland habitats.”

The project is funded by the Australian Research Council and ACT Government, and has been running since 2004.

Explore further: Thirty new marine protected areas declared in Scotland

More information:
www.environment.act.gov.au/cpr… tern_bettong_project
www.mfgowoodlandexperiment.org.au/
www.mulligansflat.org.au/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rare bettongs return to mainland

Nov 03, 2011

The rare eastern bettong (Bettongia gaimardi) has returned to the Australian mainland, after an absence of over 80 years.

Plants protect from climate impacts

Aug 02, 2011

Native vegetation must be restored to protect Australia’s unique ecosystems from the impacts of climate change, according to scientists from the Australian National University.

Big trees boost city life

Feb 03, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research from The Australian National University has revealed for the first time the role large trees play in sustaining biodiversity and bird life in urban environments.

Butterfly data to help guide restoration work

Jun 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- “Butterflies are Free,” so the old song and movie title says, but thanks to researchers at UALR’s Department of Biology in the College of Science and Mathematics, they also ...

Recommended for you

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

Jul 24, 2014

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

Noise pollution impacts fish species differently

Jul 24, 2014

Acoustic disturbance has different effects on different species of fish, according to a new study from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter which tested fish anti-predator behaviour.

User comments : 0