first_imgFairy possums are dependent on montane ash forests in Victoria’s central highlands. But these forests are threatened by fire and logging.A severe fire season in 2009 led to a more than 40 percent decline in fairy possums.Protected area expansion is seen as one way to help fairy possums survive. But a recent study finds if reserves are expanded with solely the fairy possum in mind, other species could lose out because their habitats may not overlap.The researchers say their analysis technique could be used generally to more effectively plan protected areas. In the highland forests of central Victoria, Australia, lives a marsupial with big eyes and an uncertain future. Fairy possums need big, old trees to survive, which are dwindling due to fire and logging. Conservationists are urging for the expansion of protected areas to help the possums survive, but a recent study published in PLoS ONE finds that doing so for this one species may put others at risk.The fairy possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri), also called Leadbeater’s possum, is a relic from the past and the sole member of its genus. Averaging about 13 inches (33 centimeters) long, they emerge at dusk to feed, running along the upper canopy branches of some of the tallest trees in the world.Fairy possums shelter in tree-hollows and are dependent on old trees in montane ash forests. This has been their downfall as fires, farming, and logging felled the forests of this region of central Australia, restricting the species to a fragment of its former range and driving down its numbers.Listed as Endangered by the IUCN since 1982 (with a temporary respite to Vulnerable from 1988 to 1994) the fairy possum was elevated to Critically Endangered after a heavy spate of wildfire in 2009. Satellite imagery shows large burned areas within the possum’s range, and data from the University of Maryland indicate the area lost around 15 percent of its tree cover from 2001 through 2014 – most of that due to fire. Scientists say that, as a result, the population has declined more than 40 percent since 2009.Satellite data show fire heavily affected fairy possum habitat in 2009. (Range based on IUCN data)Timber harvesting threatens remaining fairy possums – so much so that the Threatened Species Scientific Committee concluded in its 2015 evaluation that the best way to prevent further decline would be to cease logging in the region’s ash forests. The species also stands to be affected by global warming, according to researchers.Another idea touted by conservationists is setting aside more protected areas. In a recent PLoS One study released in January, scientists from Australian institutions attempted to figure out just where these should be to best help fairy possums. They gauged the effectiveness of the region’s existing reserve network, then looked for possible areas for expansion based on habitat suitability.They found existing protected areas currently cover around 30 percent of fairy possum habitat. With expansions, they calculated this could be increased to between 34 percent and 62 percent.But the researchers warn that prioritization of protected areas for fairy possums may not help other wildlife.“We found an acute trade-off between conserving key areas for [fairy possums] and conserving habitat for other forest-dependent species,” the authors write in their study. “This arises because their habitat requirements do not strongly overlap.”Fairy possums evolved around 20 million years ago. Photo by David LindenmayerThe researchers included three other species in their analysis: greater gliders (Petauroides volans), yellow-bellied gliders (Petaurus australis), and sooty owls (Tyto tenebricosa). The glider species are listed under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.While all four species live in forests, the researchers found differences in range and condition preferences made it so that expansion of protected areas based only on habitat suitability for fairy possums led to tradeoffs for the other species. Ultimately, their results indicate that a much larger reserve network would be needed to equally protect all species.For their study the researchers used a combination of a population viability analysis and spatial prioritization, and say their technique could be broadly used when planning protected area expansions.“Given the current state of knowledge and the urgency with which decisions about the conservation of a critically endangered species must be made, this study provides crucial and tangible recommendations about where to implement conservation action,” they write.Citation:Taylor, C., Cadenhead, N., Lindenmayer, D. B., & Wintle, B. A. (2017). Improving the Design of a Conservation Reserve for a Critically Endangered Species. PloS one, 12(1), e0169629. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Global Warming, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Logging, Mammals, Montane Forests, Protected Areas, Research, Wildlife last_img read more