Ecological outcomes for multiple taxa from silvicultural thinning of regrowth forest

  • Published source details Gonsalves L., Law B., Brassil T., Waters C., Toole I. & Tap P. (2018) Ecological outcomes for multiple taxa from silvicultural thinning of regrowth forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 425, 177-188.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Thin trees within forests

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Thin trees within forest and woodland

Action Link
Bat Conservation
  1. Thin trees within forests

    A replicated, controlled study in 2015–2016 in pine and eucalypt woodland in north-west New South Wales, Australia (Gonsalves et al. 2018) found that reptile abundance and diversity were higher 8–20 years after tree thinning compared to <8 years or >20 years after thinning. Reptile abundance was 2–4.5 times greater and reptile diversity was 1.4–1.5 times greater 8–20 years after thinning than in unthinned, thinned <8 years ago, thinned >20 years ago or undisturbed forest (data reported as statistical model outputs, see original paper for details). In total 85 reptiles of 21 different species were caught across all sites (see original paper for changes in individual species abundances). The effect of tree thinning on reptiles was monitored in five 20–30 ha plots in 30 historically-managed forestry sites (non-commercial and commercial). Plots had the following thinning history: thinned <8 years ago using mechanical and manual brushcutting (thinnings left on site), thinned 8–20 years ago (larger stems for saw logs were removed from the site), thinned >20 years ago (thinnings left on site), unthinned (~6,500 stems/ha) and long undisturbed (see original paper for details). Reptiles were surveyed along a 200 m transect in each plot using nocturnal spotlighting (sampled once/plot, dates not provided) and drift fence/pitfall trap arrays (two traps/array, two arrays/plot) in October–November 2015 (eight days) and March 2016 (four days).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Thin trees within forest and woodland

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2015 of six forest sites in New South Wales, Australia (Gonsalves et al 2018) found that recently thinned sites had higher bat activity and diversity than unthinned sites, but results varied for sites thinned more than eight years previously. Overall bat activity and diversity were higher in sites recently thinned (<8 years previously) than in unthinned sites (data reported as statistical model results). Sites thinned 8–20 years previously had similar bat activity to unthinned sites, but higher bat diversity. Sites thinned >20 years previously had higher bat activity than unthinned sites, but similar bat diversity. Bat activity did not differ significantly between thinned sites and undisturbed forest but was lower at unthinned sites than undisturbed forest. Twelve bat species were recorded in total (see original paper for data for individual species). Five treatments were sampled at each of six forest sites (20–30 ha, dominated by white cypress pine Callitris glaucophylla): unthinned (∼6,500 stems/ha); recently thinned (<8 years previously); thinned 8–20 years previously; thinned >20 years previously; undisturbed forest. All thinned sites had a similar density of stems (∼1,600 stems/ha). One bat detector recorded bat activity for 2–3 nights at each of 30 sites in November 2015.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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