Landscape Ecology

, 22:1513

The importance of functional connectivity in the conservation of a ground-dwelling mammal in an urban Australian landscape

  • Sean I. FitzGibbon
  • David A. Putland
  • Anne W. Goldizen
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10980-007-9139-x

Cite this article as:
FitzGibbon, S.I., Putland, D.A. & Goldizen, A.W. Landscape Ecol (2007) 22: 1513. doi:10.1007/s10980-007-9139-x

Abstract

The distribution of the northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus), a medium-sized ground-dwelling marsupial, was examined in habitat fragments within the urban landscape of the city of Brisbane, Australia. From surveys conducted in 68 fragments, bandicoots were found to be present in 33 (49%) despite widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. Logistic regression analysis revealed that of 13 measured independent variables, functional connectivity was the only factor that significantly predicted the presence of bandicoots within fragments, with connectivity positively correlated with the likelihood of occupation. Functional connectivity was equated to the likelihood of bandicoot immigration into the focal fragment from the nearest occupied fragment, based on the estimated resistance to movement offered by the intervening matrix. Within Brisbane, riparian habitat fragments typically have a relatively high level of functional connectivity, as thin strips of vegetation fringing waterways serve as corridors between larger riparian areas and facilitate the movement of bandicoots between patches. Analyses based on the Akaike Information Criterion revealed that the optimal model based on landscape context variables was convincingly better supported by the data than the optimal model produced from fragment characteristics. However, it is important to examine both internal attributes of habitat fragments and external features of the surrounding landscape when modelling the distribution of ground-dwelling fauna in urban environments, or other landscapes with a highly variable matrix. As urban centres throughout the world expand, it is crucial that the ecology of local wildlife be considered to ensure functional connection is maintained between habitat patches, especially for the conservation of species that are highly susceptible to fragmentation.

Keywords

BandicootHabitat fragmentationIsoodon macrourusSouth-east QueenslandUrbanisationUrban ecology

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean I. FitzGibbon
    • 1
  • David A. Putland
    • 1
  • Anne W. Goldizen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Integrative BiologyThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia