|Habitat and Ecology:|
The Yellow-bellied Glider occurs in eucalypt-dominated forests and woodlands. Habitat suitability is determined in part by floristics, with a clear preference for forest types dominated by gum-barked and winter-flowering eucalypts (Kavanagh 1987; Eyre and Smith 1997; Eyre 2004), and with forest age sufficient to provide suitable trees for shelter and foraging (Milledge et al. 1991; Incoll et al. 2001; Eyre and Goldingay 2003). The Yellow-bellied Glider is reliant on large areas of mature forest (Milledge et al. 1991; Eyre and Smith 1997; Lindenmayer et al. 1999a; Incoll et al. 2001; Eyre 2002, 2004; van der Ree et al. 2004).
The Yellow-bellied Glider is social, with pairs or larger family groups (of varying age and sex composition) occupying an exclusive large home range (30-65 ha: Henry and Craig 1984; Craig 1985; Goldingay 1992; Goldingay and Kavanagh 1993). Consequently it needs large forest blocks in order to maintain population viability. Home range sizes need to be large because foraging substrates are widely dispersed and are variable through space and time (Goldingay 2000). Microhabitat preferences of Yellow-bellied Gliders may change seasonally according to patterns of flowering, bark-shed and availability of other food resources (Kavanagh 1984). In south-eastern Queensland, Eyre (2002) considered that forest fragments needed to be at least 320 km2 in order to be occupied by Yellow-bellied Gliders; and more generally Goldingay and Possingham (1995) considered that forest areas needed to be 180-350 km2 to retain viable populations. It does not persist in smaller fragments now isolated by clearing or pine plantations (Lindenmayer et al. 1999b).
The impacts of fragmentation are particularly pronounced because of this species’ apparent incapacity to traverse extensive tracts (i.e. longer than gliding distance) of cleared land. The Yellow-bellied Glider can forage in tall regrowth (Kavanagh 2004) and may tolerate moderate levels of logging disturbance, provided old trees are retained within riparian zones and key sap tree species are retained (Goldingay and Kavanagh 1993; Kavanagh 2004), although such tolerance may be somewhat site-specific and vary with landscape context and subsequent management (Milledge et al. 1991; Eyre and Smith 1997; Lindenmayer et al. 1999). Extensive disturbance by logging or wildfire is detrimental (Lunney 1987). Logging tends to reduce the proportion of large stems in a forest stand which reduces the availability of hollow-bearing trees (and den sites) and foraging substrate and food resources, including nectar, sap and invertebrates (Eyre and Smith 1997; Eyre 2002, 2004). Yellow-bellied Gliders are eliminated from clear-felled and intensively logged forests (Smith et al. 1994). Subpopulations of Yellow-bellied Gliders have declined or been extirpated from sites exposed to high intensity wildfire.
Females typically give birth to a single young annually (Goldingay 2008).