The koomal (Trichosurus vulpecula hypoleucus) is a declining subspecies (‘near-threatened’), residing largely within the Western Australian jarrah forest, a forest managed for both conservation and for forestry (roughly half is available for logging). Information on the spatial dynamics of koomal is essential to evaluating whether logging prescriptions provide adequate protection for this threatened species. Here we describe the home range and territoriality of koomal, as well as the characteristics and use of their den trees, at multiple sites within the jarrah forest. We also compare the characteristics of den trees used by koomal against logging prescriptions and previous models that estimate availability of den trees. Results suggested that koomal home ranges varied between sites and sexes, with males having the larger home ranges. Koomal also maintained exclusive core territories, probably to protect their den trees from same-sex individuals. Den trees used by koomal had similar characteristics to those outlined in logging prescriptions, but also included two additional characteristics that may improve the retention of trees suitable for koomal: den trees were preferentially of marri (Corymbia calophylla) and wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) species, and had some level of canopy connectivity. Overall, findings from this study should help future evaluations of the effectiveness of logging prescriptions in providing adequate den availability for koomal.
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Vol. 60 • No. 3