A bearded dragon basks in the sun in a patch of woodland regrowth in Queensland’s Brigalow Belt.
Regrowth is sometimes disparaged by some people as having little conservation value. Research led by Melissa Bruton at the University of Queensland, however, has demonstrated that regrowth in Queensland’s subtropical woodlands has substantial habitat value for reptiles, even relatively young regrowth, as long as it’s within 700 metres of remnant woodland.
“In fact, reptile communities in regrowth woodlands were indistinguishable from their corresponding communities in remnant woodlands,” says Melissa. “The most interesting part is that the regrowth woodlands in our study were relatively young – between 10 and 23 years old – with only half the canopy height of remnant areas. In other words, for the reptiles we studied, regrowth doesn’t have to be ‘old’ to possess equivalent habitat value to remnant vegetation.”
In spite of these findings, Queensland’s burgeoning regrowth is now under renewed pressure from development. Read all about it in the article of this issue titled “Reptiles in the regrowth”.