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Parrots, people and plants : urban tree removal and habitat loss for the endangered swift parrot, Lathamus discolor

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posted on 2023-11-03, 03:46 authored by AB Hingston, M Piech
Swift Parrots, Lathamus discolor, breed predominantly in southeastern Tasmania, including around the city of Hobart. While breeding, they feed mostly on the nectar and pollen of Tasmanian Blue Gum, Eucalyptus globulus, and Black Gum, E. ovata, trees. Swift Parrots are regularly observed foraging on these floral products in the Hobart suburb of Mt Nelson, where the trees produce more flowers than those in adjacent bushland. To investigate trends in the availability of food for Swift Parrots breeding near Hobart, we surveyed people who live in Mt Nelson to ascertain the extent of removal of large eucalypt trees from their properties. The 294 respondents to our questionnaire reported the presence of 263 large E. globulus and 109 large E. ovata on their properties. However, respondents also stated that they had removed 88 large E. globulus and 25 large E. ovata trees in the past five to 10 years, and intended felling a further 13 large E. globulus and 15 large E. ovata trees in the near future. This represents the removal of almost 30% of large trees of both species within a decade, and suggests a decline in foraging habitat for Swift Parrots while breeding near Hobart.

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Publication title

Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania

Volume

145

Pagination

1-4

ISSN

0080-4703

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Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania.

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