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Ms Mayumi Knight

Mayumi KnightMs Mayumi Knight
PhD student
Topic: Birds, bats, remnant forest and plantations: biological responses to dynamic landscape mosaics within the Green Triangle
University of Melbourne

New tree plantations contribute to rapid changes in rural landscapes in several parts of Australia, including the Green Triangle region of south-western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. Questions arise about the ecological costs and benefits of these rapid changes, to which tree plantations are a significant contributor.

I am examining interactions between blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) plantations, pine (Pinus radiata) plantations, embedded patches of remnant forest and some of the fauna they support. Birds and bats are the key groups of my study because they are mobile and make use of combinations of habitats through the year.

This research will lead toward better understanding the impacts of rapid changes in rural landscapes. The results of my work on animal communities within remnant forest plantation landscapes should reveal ways for us to enhance the benefits and reduce the costs of landscape changes. An important outcome of this research will be to develop further lines of enquiry to help land management agencies form effective landscape conservation strategies.

My primary question asks: To what extent are the bird and bat communities within patches of embedded native remnant forest supported by surrounding plantation blue gums and plantation pines, compared with sites where native remnant patches are surrounded by open agricultural land?

The primary aim of this research is:
•    to determine if/to what extent bird and bat communities differ between remnant vegetation patches surrounded by different land use patch types.

This will be explored through addressing the following three sub-aims for birds and sub-aim two for bats:

  1. for specific species, to determine if their relative abundances differ between the different land use patch types
  2. to determine if species richness varies between the different land use patch types
  3. to determine if community composition/diversity/structure varies between the different land use patch types.

A corollary aim is to determine whether patch size has an effect on the variables listed above.
I am also investigating the movement of birds through the forest matrix.

My supervisors are Dr Andrew Hamilton (The University of Melbourne) and Mr Richard Loyn (Department of Sustainability and Environment). Mr Adrian Lynch (Timbercorp) is an industry mentor. My research is funded by the CRC for Forestry. My research is supported by the University of Melbourne, Timbercorp, ITC Limited and Auspine.