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Keywords:

  • feeding ecology;
  • GIS;
  • logistic regression;
  • plantation;
  • predation risk;
  • scat counts

Abstract  This study aimed to establish whether red-bellied pademelons (Thylogale billiardierii) and Bennett's wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus) alter their foraging distribution in open habitat, in response to food availability and distance to protective shelter, the latter used as a measure of predation risk. Scat counts were used as a measure of the presence or absence of these macropods over two plantations (Russell and Dunalley). These plantations differed in both their on-site food and shelter characteristics (the presence or absence of windrows). Logistic regression indicated that at Russell, which had low food availability but the presence of on-site shelter, probability of scats of both species increased with the percentage cover of both edible and inedible vegetation. The probability of both pademelon and wallaby scats decreased with increasing distance from windrows, but increased with increasing distance from forest at the plantation edge. Logistic regression indicated that at Dunalley, which had high food availability but no on-site shelter, the probability of scats of both species increased with an increase in the percentage cover of edible vegetation. In relation to predation risk, however, the two species differed in their response. Pademelons exhibited a decrease in scat probability with increasing distance from the forest at the plantation edge, while wallabies showed an increase in scat probability with distance from the forest at the plantation edge. Results indicated some differences in antipredation strategies of the two species, which may be a function of differences in body size.