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Habitat Use and Tree Preferences of Koalas in a Mixed Eucalypt Forest

Mark A. Hindell1,2 and Anthony K. Lee1

1Department of Zoology, Monash University, Clayton, Vic. 3168.

2Present address: Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, Tas. 7150.

The use of specific vegetation associations and tree species by koalas in a forest containing six Eucalyptus spp. is described. There was a positive correlation between density of koalas and the density of E. viminalis, and koalas used this species in preference to other tree species. There were seasonal differences in the use of both vegetation associations and tree species. Associations dominated by E. viminalis were preferred in most seasons. E. viminalis was the most preferred species in all seasons except summer, when E. ovata was preferred. This was not reflected in a change in preference for vegetation associations. Male koalas showed a preference for E. macrorhyncha, and to a lesser extent E. viminalis and E. ovata. Females showed a consistent preference for E. ovata and E. viminalis. Koalas showed a strong preference for large trees in all seasons, and for specific trees within species.