Relic bilby (Macrotis lagotis) refuge burrows: assessment of potential contribution to a rangeland restoration program

Relic bilby (Macrotis lagotis) refuge burrows: assessment of potential contribution to a rangeland restoration program Journal Article

The Rangeland Journal

  • Author(s): Chapman, Tamra F.
  • Published: 2013
  • Volume: 35

Abstract: In harsh, resource-limited rangelands, plants and other structures, such as animal burrows, can ameliorate extreme microclimate conditions and increase resource availability for other species. The aim of this study was to determine whether relic bilby (Macrotis lagotis) refuge burrows had the potential to contribute to a rangeland restoration program by moderating microclimate and accumulating resources. During the day, the burrows maintained significantly higher relative humidity than control microsites. At night, temperature was significantly higher and humidity was significantly lower in the burrows than the control microsites. Both temperature and humidity were also significantly less variable in the burrows. There was some overlap between burrows and control microsites in soil chemistry, but burrows were significantly higher in soil moisture, pH(CaCl2), exchangeable magnesium, exchangeable potassium, mineral nitrogen, and total cation exchange capacity, and significantly lower in bio-available aluminium. Soils in burrows contained three times more mineral nitrogen, which has been previously shown to increase plant diversity and abundance in the presence of additional moisture. These results suggest the relic bilby burrows could potentially provide more suitable habitats for the establishment and productivity of other species by moderating microclimates, accumulating nutrients and soil moisture, and ameliorating the potentially detrimental effects of bio-available aluminium.

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Suggested Citation
Chapman, Tamra F., 2013, Relic bilby (Macrotis lagotis) refuge burrows: assessment of potential contribution to a rangeland restoration program, Volume:35, Journal Article, viewed 16 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=2654.

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