Rabbits, foxes and feral pigs - how do they impact on weeds?

Tim BloomfieldA and Steve McPheeB


A Department of Primary Industries, 219 Main Street, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria 3340, Australia.
B Agricultural Technical Services Pty. Ltd., 177 Ballan Road, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia.


Background

The on the economy is around $420 million per year. These loses are mainly related to agricultural production as environmental loss and long-term land degradation is difficult to estimate. Around $60 million per year is spent by landholders and governments to control pest animals and a further $20 million per year is spent on research (Bomford and Hart 2002). The impact weeds have on the economy is over $4 billion dollars every year due to lost production and control effort (CSIRO 2006). Since the arrival of the first Europeans, more than 28 000 exotic plants have been brought into Australia, a few accidentally but most deliberately. Now, more than 2500 species of introduced plants are established in the wild (CSIRO 2006). Plant invasion involves two essential stages: first, transportation of organisms to a new location; and second, establishment and population increase in the invaded locality (Chase and Chesson 2002). But a third worrisome stage is the regional spread from initial successful site of invasion. Pest animals can assist in the spread of seeds into regional areas by creating conditions that suit weed invasion and provide a continued source of viable seeds and plant material capable of maintaining the invasion.

 

Plant Protection Quarterly (2006) 21 (4) 148-151.