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Keywords:

  • remnant vegetation;
  • semi-arid woodland;
  • tree cavity

Abstract

Tree hollows are a critical but diminishing resource for a wide range of fauna around the world. Conservation of these fauna depends on sustainable management of tree species that produce the hollows on which they depend. This study addressed the need for empirical data about intraspecific and interspecific variation in hollow occurrence and abundance in woodland trees in Australia. We measured and performed hollow surveys on 1817 trees of seven species of woodland Eucalyptus in central-western New South Wales, Australia. Trees were surveyed at 51 one-hectare sites and about 30% of trees surveyed had multiple stems. Generalized linear mixed models that accounted for nestedness of stems within trees and trees within sites detected a significant amount of variation in hollow occurrence and abundance. Models for individual tree stems of live trees showed hollow probability and abundance increased with diameter at breast height (DBH) and with increasing senescence (form). Stems of Eucalyptus microcarpa Maiden had a higher probability of having hollows than similar DBH stems of Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh., Eucalyptus melliodora A.Cunn. ex Schauer or Eucalyptus populnea ssp. bimbil L.A.S.Johnson & K.D.Hill. Dead stems in live trees were more likely to have hollows than live stems of similar DBH. Each stem in a multi-stemmed tree had a lower probability of hollow occurrence and lower abundance of hollows than single-stemmed trees of similar DBH. For stems of dead trees, hollow occurrence and abundance increased with DBH and differed depending on stage of senescence. A comparison of our data with other studies indicates regional variation of hollow abundances within tree species.