The peninsula effect on bird species in native eucalypt forests in a wood production landscape in Australia


Dárius P. Tubelis. Current address: Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP 05508-900, Brazil. Tel: +55 11 30712715; Fax: +55 14 38823732


The peninsula effect – a decrease in species richness from the base to the tip of a peninsula – has been tested for a diverse range of taxa at continental and regional scales. We investigated the peninsula effect at a local scale by examining bird species occurrence in riparian strips (peninsulas) of native eucalypt forest within a radiata pine plantation in the Tumut region, south-eastern Australia. Peninsulas were elongated but ‘blind’ extensions of a core area of native eucalypt forest. Birds were surveyed by the area search method, within 1.0-ha quadrats established along peninsulas (n=14), in October and November 2002. Data were analysed using generalized linear mixed models. A significant decrease in bird species richness from the base towards the tip of the peninsulas was observed. The proportion of large bird species recorded per quadrat showed a significant decrease from the base towards the tip of the peninsulas. This pattern was not observed for small birds. Several species were more abundant at the base of the peninsulas than away from the core area of eucalypt forest. The peninsula effect can occur locally in landscape mosaics. Factors leading to the observed patterns of species occurrence may be distinct from those proposed in investigations of the peninsula effect with a biogeographical (macroscale) context. In our microscale study, foraging incursions of individual birds from the core area of native forest through peninsulas were a major factor giving rise to higher bird species richness in the more basal portions of peninsulas.