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Keywords:

  • birds;
  • corridor;
  • rainforest;
  • restoration;
  • riparian

Abstract

Rainforest fragmentation and creek degradation are major problems on the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland. Lake Barrine and Wooroonooran National Parks are separated by a 1.5-km length of Toohey's Creek which has been cleared except for small remnant rainforest patches. The creek has been fenced and replanted to create a corridor between the two national parks. The aim of this study was to monitor the success of the corridor in providing habitat for rainforest birds. Avian communities were monitored in the corridor and in adjacent rainforest sites using point counts over the period of reestablishment of a continuous rainforest canopy. In terms of bird community composition, within 3 years of planting, the replanted sites were on a trajectory toward the rainforest sites. Although specialist rainforest species were not yet found in the plantings, after 3 years those species which mainly inhabit rainforest but also utilize edges and riparian strips were found in similar numbers in the plantings and in the small remnant patches along the corridor. Frugivorous species were quite abundant even in the youngest plantings. Thus, replanting of rainforest trees along Toohey's Creek has begun to provide habitat for some rainforest birds. It also shows good potential to act as a corridor to connect the previously isolated patches of rainforest for these species and to develop in habitat complexity as the frugivorous birds bring in rainforest plant species from nearby areas.