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Ms Amelia Koch

profile_koch_thumbMs Amelia (Amy) Koch
PhD student - COMPLETED

Topic: the abundance and type of hollows in Eucalyptus obliqua forest and the use of these hollows by fauna

University of Tasmania

 

Hollow-bearing trees provide important refuge and nesting habitat for an array of fauna in Tasmania, including bats, possums and birds. Several hollow-using species in Tasmania are listed as endangered and all are listed as priority species under the Regional Forest Agreement. Consequently the hollow resource requires special management, but particularly in production forests.

This project looked at the abundance and type of tree hollows in Eucalyptus obliqua forest in different areas around Tasmania. The outcome of this study has been a model predicting the occurrence of hollows according to different tree and site parameters.

In addition, this study used secondary evidence to determine the extent to which hollows are used by the vertebrate fauna (listed above) and another model was produced to predict whether a tree is likely to be used by fauna.

The results of this work provide a greater understanding of the habitat needs of Tasmanian hollow-dwelling fauna, facilitate the selection of habitat trees for retention by forestry and give an indication if current forest prescriptions are meeting the requirements of these species.

When I moved to Tasmania to begin this PhD I was looking for a project with a conservation focus that had real management implications. A number of people were extremely helpful in assisting me find a topic interesting enough to keep me happy for four years and I have found the issue of tree hollows to be quite addictive. I have gained such an enormous amount from doing this PhD that it is difficult to remember how things were when I started. As well as the obvious academic skills, I have learnt so much about coordinating projects and people, negotiating and liaising with people in the industry and that dry forest is much easier to work in than wet forest. I was also fortunate enough to attend a number of conferences, in Armidale, Kangaroo Island and Brisbane in Australia, Memphis USA and in my home town of Hobart. Having now completed my PhD I work for my supervisor at the Forest Practices Authority with a number of tasks, including the revision of the hollow prescriptions in the Forest Practices Code. See the article in the CRC for Forestry News on the Tree Hollows in Tasmania guide that I have developed. You can also access the media release and the guide (27 MB) here.

My supervisors were Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick (University of Tasmania, School of Geography and Environmental Studies), Dr Sarah Munks (University of Tasmania, School of Zoology and Forest Practices Authority), Dr Don Driscoll (Flinders University, School of Biological Sciences)

My project was funded by the University of Tasmania, WV Scott fund, the Holsworth Wildlife Research Fund, the Tasmanian Forest Practices Authority and Forestry Tasmania.

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Me taking sample data from a fallen log