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National recovery plan for the yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) Petaurus australis unnamed subspecies Title


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Actions summary


  • Define essential habitat distribution

  • Implement adaptive fire management

  • Protect and manage habitat outside protected area estate and regenerate habitat corridors

  • Research the impacts of cattle on glider habitat

  • Collate existing data on glider barbed wire incidents and establish a reporting process through WildNet.

  • Analyse glider and barbed wire incident data to establish level of impact and identify potential hotspot locations for targeted management.

  • Implement an extension program for landholders on appropriate grazing regimes and fencing modification in glider habitat

  • Undertake monitoring programs to assess the number of gliders in known habitat

  • Analyse genetic structure of glider populations

  • Improve understanding of climate change impacts

1. General information

Conservation Status

The yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under both the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) does not specifically refer to yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics), but lists Petaurus australis (all yellow-bellied glider populations) as ‘Low Risk (near threatened)’.


International obligations

The yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) is not listed under any international agreements. However, actions described in this plan are consistent with Australia’s international obligations.


Affected interests

The majority (over 80%) of yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) habitat is reserved for nature conservation and is managed by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM), including habitat within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA). Some existing and former habitat (especially cleared habitat) occurs on private land and land managed by the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).


The species occurs on land tenures owned or managed by authorities and landholders including:

  • DERM (including unallocated state land and protected areas estate)

  • DEEDI

  • Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA)

  • Powerlink and Ergon

  • Cook Shire Council and Cairns, Tablelands and Cassowary Coast regional councils

  • Traditional Owners for Kirrama Station

  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) – landholder of ‘Brooklyn’ property north of Mt Molloy

  • Private landholders especially in the Herberton-Ravenshoe area

Other organisations with management interest include:



  • Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC)

  • Terrain Natural Resource Management (Terrain NRM)

  • Aboriginal communities, councils and representative bodies such as Aboriginal Rainforest Council (ARC and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation (GAC)

  • Peak conservation groups such as Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (WPSQ), Bush Heritage Australia (BHA), Cairns and Far North Queensland Environment Centre

  • Community conservation groups such as Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tableland (TREAT) and Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group (TKMG), Tolga Bat Hospital.

  • Scientific research institutions including CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and James Cook University (JCU)


Consultation with Indigenous people

Implementation of the plan’s actions includes consideration of the role and interests of Indigenous people in yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) conservation. Traditional Owners and their representative organisations including the Aboriginal Rainforest Council (ARC) and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) were consulted during the plan’s development and will continue to be encouraged to participate during implementation, including on issues such as fire management and activities and monitoring on Native Title lands.


Benefits to other species or communities

The yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) is considered an iconic or flagship species within the wet eucalypt open forest habitat. Management actions focusing on the yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) will assist the conservation of other species associated with this restricted habitat type, including the northern bettong Bettongia tropica (Table 1). This habitat includes four regional ecosystems of conservation significance (Table 2).


The glider has an important function in the ecosystem due to its role supporting a ‘sap-feeding guild’ and possibly as a pollinator, although there are few data available to support the latter. Chapman et al. (1999) list fauna that are known to use the sap resource ‘tapped’ by the glider, including nocturnal arboreal marsupials and a range of diurnal birds and invertebrates. The sap may be eaten directly, or prey attracted to the sap resource may be captured.
The habitat types that support the glider are at their northern distribution limit in the Wet Tropics Bioregion. Consequently several fauna species which occur in yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) habitat are also approaching their northern distribution limit. Whilst many of these species are not formally listed as threatened, they may be locally threatened by the disappearance of their preferred/dependent habitat.
Table 1: Species of conservation interest associated with yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) habitat.

Species

Scientific name

Conservation status

NCA 1

EPBC 2

northern bettong


Bettongia tropica


Endangered


Endangered


magnificent broodfrog

Pseudophryne covacevichae

Vulnerable


Vulnerable

Shrub


Dodonaea uncinata


Near threatened




Shrub

Prostanthera clotteniana (formerly Hemigenia clotteniana)

Endangered

Extinct

1. Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992

2. Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999


Fires can play an important role in maintaining moist, open woodland for the yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics). Thicker, denser structure of a closed forest is thought to impede the passage of the yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics), largely negating the competitive advantage of gliding (M. Parsons, pers. comm. 2011). The recovery plan contains actions to maintain wet eucalypt open forest for the yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) through prescribed burning which, in turn, may also provide benefits to other species associated with these ecosystems.

Table 2: Ecosystems of conservation interest associated with yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) habitat.

Regional ecosystems

Description

Status

VMA 1

REDD 2

RE 7.8.15

Eucalyptus grandis open forest to woodland (or vine forest with E. grandis emergents), on basalt

Of concern

Endangered

RE 7.8.16

Eucalyptus resinifera open forest to woodland on basalt

Of concern

Endangered

RE 7.12.21

Eucalyptus grandis open forest to woodland, or Corymbia intermedia, E. pellita, and E. grandis, open forest to woodland, (or vine forest with these species as emergents), on granites and rhyolites.

Least concern

Endangered

RE 7.12.22

Eucalyptus resinifera +/- Eucalyptus acmenoides +/- Syncarpia glomulifera tall open forest to tall woodland (or vine forest with these species as emergents), on moist to wet granite and rhyolite uplands and highlands.

Least concern

Endangered
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