Berry, L., Driscoll, D., Banks, S., & Lindenmayer, D. (2014). The use of topographic fire refuges by the greater glider, Petauroides volans and the mountain brushtail possum, Trichosurus cunninghami following a landscape-scale fire. Australian Mammalogy.
We examined the potential conservation value of topographic fire refuges for arboreal marsupials in a stand-replacing crown-fire forest ecosystem. We surveyed arboreal marsupial abundance across 48 sites in rainforest gullies burnt to differing extents by the 2009 fires in the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of the Victorian Central Highlands, Australia. The greater glider (Petauroides volans) was significantly less abundant within the extent of the 2009 fire. The mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus cunninghami) appeared to be more abundant within the extent of the 2009 fire and was particularly abundant within unburnt peninsulas protruding into burnt areas from unburnt edges. Our results indicate that while fire refuges are potentially important outcomes of large fires for some species; further research is required to address the mechanisms underpinning these response patterns.