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Forests 2018, 9(5), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050235

Chainsaw-Carved Cavities Better Mimic the Thermal Properties of Natural Tree Hollows than Nest Boxes and Log Hollows

1
Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086, Australia
2
School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
3
Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, 123 Brown Street, Heidelberg, VIC 3084, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 28 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

The creation of supplementary habitats that effectively mimic the physical and thermal characteristics of natural tree hollows should be a key priority for landscape restoration and biodiversity offset programs. Here, we compare the thermal profiles of natural tree hollows with three types of artificial hollows designed for small marsupial gliders and tree-roosting insectivorous bats: (1) ‘chainsaw hollows’ carved directly into the trunks and branches of live trees, (2) ‘log hollows’, and (3) plywood nest boxes. Chainsaw hollows had thermal profiles that were similar to natural tree hollows: they were consistently warmer than ambient conditions at night, while remaining cooler than ambient during the day. In contrast, glider and bat boxes had the opposite pattern of heating and cooling, being slightly cooler than ambient at night and substantially hotter during the day. Glider log hollows had greater variation in internal temperatures compared to natural hollows and chainsaw hollows, but fluctuated less than glider boxes. Our results provide the first empirical evidence that artificial hollows carved directly into live trees can produce thermally stable supplementary habitats that could potentially buffer hollow-dependent fauna from weather extremes; whereas, poorly insulated plywood nest boxes produce lower-quality thermal environments. Together these findings provide positive impetus for stakeholders involved in conservation management and biodiversity offset programs to consider trialing chainsaw hollows in situations where target fauna require well-insulated supplementary habitats. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity offset; hollow-dependent fauna; supplementary habitat; thermal habitat quality biodiversity offset; hollow-dependent fauna; supplementary habitat; thermal habitat quality
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Griffiths, S.R.; Lentini, P.E.; Semmens, K.; Watson, S.J.; Lumsden, L.F.; Robert, K.A. Chainsaw-Carved Cavities Better Mimic the Thermal Properties of Natural Tree Hollows than Nest Boxes and Log Hollows. Forests 2018, 9, 235.

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