Flying-Fox Foraging Habitat 2019

Mapping of the foraging habitat areas of the Grey-headed, Black and Little Red Flying-foxes in New South Wales. The grey-headed flying-fox is listed as a threatened species under state and Commonwealth legislation. A key threatening process for the species is loss and degradation of foraging habitat. This project provides contemporary mapping of potential foraging habitat for all three species across New South Wales, expanding on previous foraging habitat mapping for the Grey-headed Flying-fox. Digital maps and databases from the previous project were updated and methods consistent with the previous project were then applied across inland zones. The state-wide native diet list for flying-foxes comprises 60 species in the blossom diet and 51 species in the fruit diet. Temporal and spatial flowering patterns and productivity of diet species are significant components of the assessment of foraging habitat. Species in the flower diet of flying-foxes were characterised using the productivity and reliability of flowering patterns and seasonal flowering phenology scored at bi-monthly intervals. Habitats were defined by the vegetation types described in vegetation classifications and spatial layers. Digital vegetation maps from across NSW were compiled and merged to create a single, seamless habitat map. Ultimately 39 vegetation mapping projects were included. The state map was divided into 19 regional datasets distributed across three zones to create a final product with practical file sizes. Numeric assessments of flowering characteristics were combined with estimates of plant densities in the vegetation data to score the quality of nectar-producing habitat. Data on flowering phenology was used to produce bi-monthly maps illustrating spatial and temporal variations in food resources. The accuracy and reliability of the habitat map is directly linked to the spatial accuracy and quality of floristic information and line work contained in the spatial layers and classifications available to the project. Every effort was made to use the best available data. Flying-fox records and data on diet and flowering characteristics become progressively sparse to the west, which introduces an unmeasured level of uncertainty to habitat assessments in these zones, particularly in the far west of the state. Insufficient data were available on the characteristics of fleshy fruits to allow comparisons to be drawn between species. Fruit-producing habitats were assessed by a separate method based on the species richness of diet plants. Broad spatial patterns of habitat quality illustrated in the map of total habitat scores are consistent with records of flying-fox distribution. Bi-monthly maps of nectar habitat illustrate the importance of coastal lowlands and ranges throughout the year, the near absence of productive habitat in the western zone and the relative productivity of small remnants of grassy woodlands in the central zone, particularly in colder bi-months. Summaries of seasonal habitat quality emphasise the paucity of foraging options during winter. These broad temporal and spatial patterns illustrated by the maps are consistent with the habitat requirements of various nectar-feeding birds, including species listed as threatened in NSW, and emphasise the potential utility of the maps for assessing habitats of other canopy-feeding nectarivores. It is hoped that the outputs of this project will guide the protection and restoration of flying-fox foraging habitat across the state.

Organisation: Department of Planning and Environment

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Additional Info

Metadata template type Vector
Asset Type Dataset
Edition 1
Purpose Legislative and Regulatory
Update Frequency Unknown
OEH Service Native Plants and Animals
Keywords FAUNA-Native
Geospatial Topic Environment
Geospatial Coverage

Dataset extent

Temporal Coverage From 2019-01-04 - 2019-01-11
Datum GDA94 Geographic (Lat\Long)
Licence Creative Commons Attribution
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Attribution Department of Planning and Environment asserts the right to be attributed as author of the original material in the following manner: "© State Government of NSW and Department of Planning and Environment 2020"