1988_Brothers_Macquarie_Island_flora.pdf (329.8 kB)
Macquarie Island flora and fauna management interpreting progress and predictions for the future
journal contributionposted on 2023-11-02, 05:31 authored by N Brothers, GR Copson
The flora and fauna of Macquarie Island, in the subantarctic, have been experiencing a gradual but sure deterioration since the introduction of alien species. The greatest single achievement in attempts to stop this has been success with controlling the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The actual impact of rabbit control on other introduced species causing ecological damage has far exceeded expectations. Plant communities diminished by 100 years of rabbit grazing are re-establishing rapidly. Because of the success with controlling rahbit numbers, total elimination of feral cats (Felis catus) and wekas (Gallirallus australis) can be achieved, with the major potential benefit being the recovery of some seabird populations which are all but extinct on the main island. However, unless the effort given to these and other management problems discussed can be maintained until completion, the progress made will be rapidly lost and greater ecological problems could result.