Ecology of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) in rural south-east Queensland, Australia
Neil A. White
School of Natural Resource Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.
Present Address: Biodiversity Section, Natural Environment Branch, Brisbane City Council, GPO Box 1434, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.
This study investigated home-range size, utilisation of tree species and patches, and the influence of spacing behaviour by females on social organisation. It was undertaken in south-east Queensland in an area dominated by agricultural activity (beef and dairy cattle and cropping). Extensive clearing in the study area resulted in patches of vegetation that varied in size from less that 1 ha to blocks of 50100 ha. Eucalyptus tereticornis and E. crebra were the dominant species in these patches and koalas used both species. The average home-range size (delineated by the 95% probability polygon from a kernel estimator) was 34.4 ha and 15.0 ha for males and females respectively; that delineated by the 70% probability polygon was 12.5 ha and 5.0 ha for males and females respectively. Koalas were not reliant on corridor systems and sometimes moved further than 5 km in a season. Koalas have few non-food-related requirements, i.e. they do not need den sites, nest sites, display areas, etc. Furthermore, they do not utilise the understorey and their mobility between patches does not appear to be compromised by the absence of corridors of trees. It is suggested that, in comparison with other arboreal marsupials, it should be relatively easy to provide habitat for koalas within rural areas.