Assessing restoration success using reptiles and small mammals

Project Description


Evaluate the quality and success of past restoration efforts by measuring their value to reptiles and small mammals.


Two years of trapping has recently been completed (2017 – 2018), using pitfall traps and funnel trapping. A large number of landholders were consulted to secure a suitable mixture of revegetation sites to use in the surveys, from this large area a few sites were selected in close proximity to each other, 8 sites were set up which consisted of 2 controls of natural saline vegetation bordering salt lakes, 2 sites in saltbush revegetation, 2 sites in a mixed biodiverse planting and 2 sites in brushwood revegetation planting, all bordering on saline lands.

Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group (YYCMG) and Edith Cowan University (ECU) put out  call for volunteers, this resulted in 11 volunteers over the 2 week period, the first few days was consistent with setting up the pitfall traps and then the monitoring followed. The sites were challenging and took a little more time than expected to set up.

  • Fauna identification/handling workshop
  • Community information and Q&A session on successful revegetation methods
  • Habitat and fauna signage to be created and housed in the NACC biodiversity/sustainable agriculture trailer.

Recommend which revegetation strategies are best for these target animal groups and thus increase the efficacy and focus the delivery of future revegetation on the most suitable strategies.


247 ground-dwelling animals were captured, identified and released. 34 Bird Species were identified. The primary outcome was to determine the best revegetation strategy for the future (a research paper and guidelines are to be released in 2019). The Study took place in mixed species revegetation sites, saltbush & brushwood plantings and the control sites which were the remnant bushland sites. The control sites had the highest reptile species diversity (7 species), followed by mixed revegetation sites (6 species), saltbush sites (5 species), and brushwood sites (3 species).

The highest reptile abundance was in the saltbush sites (55 individuals – mostly the one species Menetia greyi), followed by mixed revegetation (34), control sites (33) and brushwood (8).  Only two native mammals species were captured during the on-ground activity, the Sminthopsis dolichura (little long-tailed dunnart) and the S. crassicaudata (fat-tailed dunnart). The highlight was the capture of the threatened Gidgee skink Egernia stokesii badia in one of the control sites. House mice were abundant across all sites.

Similar results were found of the bird species, with 18 bird species found in the saltbush sites, 20 in the brushwood sites and 23 bird species in both the mixed revegetation and control sites.

It is clear from this research that the lack of groundcover in these revegetated sites has a large effect on trapped species, with generally a low capture rate compared to other studies, and a very high number of introduced house mice.

The project has developed a good working relationship between YYCMG and ECU. This has allowed YYCMG to access top quality science and research methods, with confidence in the results, and YYCMG has been able to provide local knowledge and contact to assist ECU in sourcing suitable research sites.

Project Details

  • OrganisationYarra Yarra Catchment Management Group
  • Year2017
  • Funding$39,500