Management Action

Invasive species pose one of the greatest ecological threats to America’s lands and waters. Their control can be complex and expensive and is often conducted in perpetuity; their harm can be irreversible. Early detection and rapid response (EDRR) actions can reduce the long-term costs and economic burden that invasive species have on communities.

Rat eradication is a highly effective tool for conserving biodiversity, but one that requires considerable planning eff ort, a high level of precision during implementation and carries no guarantee of success. Overall, rates of success are generally high but lower for tropical islands where most biodiversity is at risk. We completed a qualitative comparative review on four successful and four unsuccessful tropical rat eradication projects to better understand the factors influencing the success of tropical rat eradications and shed light on how the risk of future failures can be minimised.

A successful ground-based eradication of black rats (Rattus rattus) was undertaken on the remote, uninhabited Shiant Isles of north-west Scotland over winter (14 October–28 March) 2015–16. The rat eradication was carried out as part of the Shiants Seabird Recovery Project, which aims to secure long-term breeding habitat for protected seabirds and to attract European storm petrels and Manx shearwaters to nest on the Shiants.

Montecristo and Pianosa islands, although approximately equal in surface area (c. 1,000 ha), di?er greatly in substrate, human presence, vegetation and altitude (650 m vs. 30 m asl, respectively). The former island hosts one of the largest yelkouan shearwater (Pu?nus yelkouan) populations in Italy, the latter a depleted remnant of once numerous Scopoli’s shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea). Two consecutive EU-funded LIFE projects have been designed to protect these seabird populations.

Once an island vertebrate eradication is deemed successful, it is typically assumed that ecosystem recovery will follow. To date, most post-eradication monitoring focuses on the recovery of key threatened or charismatic species, such as seabirds. Little attention has been given to monitoring and quantifying the response of invertebrate communities. Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), house mice (Mus musculus), and ship rats (Rattus rattus) impacted sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island for over 140 years, with wide ranging ecosystem impacts.

Eradication of invasive rodents has become a powerful tool to protect native island biota. Use of brodifacoum, an anticoagulant rodenticide, has contributed to hundreds of successful invasive rodent eradication e?orts on islands. Application of bait containing brodifacoum for this purpose requires appropriate consideration of adverse e?ects on non-target wildlife. Thus, a priori identi?cation of non-target risks and, where needed, approaches to mitigate these to acceptable levels, is now an essential component of eradication planning and implementation.

Invasive alien ornamental plants are a global problem, especially on oceanic islands, and can have severe impacts on native biodiversity. Pinanga coronata, is an ornamental palm tree that can form mono-dominant stands in its native habitat and is widely cultivated throughout the tropics. Here we investigate the introduction, spread, impact and management of this invasive palm in the Fiji Islands, using extensive discussions with local experts and ?eld surveys.