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Biobuzz 6 - Lisa Cawthen (subproject 4.2.5)

Lisa Cawthen, armed with the tools of the trade, measures the type of tree preferred by possums.

Possums prefer heritage real estate 

Lisa Cawthen was awarded first class honours from the University of Tasmania in late 2007 for her thesis investigating den use by the common brushtail possum in logged and unlogged dry forest in southeastern Tasmania.

Lisa is now working for the Forest Practices Authority (FPA), investigating the use by hollow-dependent fauna of  trees that have been retained in logged forest.

In her honours thesis, Lisa found that brushtail possums were not as opportunistic in their denning requirements in logged areas as previously thought, denning primarily in tree hollows in mature forest. Possums rarely used the trees that had been retained within a recently harvested area (3-6 years old). Instead they generally denned adjacent to the harvested areas in larger patches of forest that were retained for other reasons (for example: wildlife habitat strip, unharvested forest).

Lisa thinks that the possums may use the retained clumps of trees within the coupe as the forest regenerates and provides shelter and continuous canopy cover.

Her current work will investigate the use of retained trees within older age regrowth forest (10- and 16-year old regrowth) using radio-telemetry.

Future work aims to concentrate on a suite of hollow-using species using a combination of radio-telemetry, remote cameras and temperature data loggers.

Lisa's honours thesis may be downloaded from the FPA website by clicking here