Dog baiting and mammal decline in eucalyptus forests

DingoesResearch shows that where dingoes are trapped and poisoned, the ecosystem changes for the worst.
“…we provide evidence that multiple cascade pathways induced by lethal control of an apex predator, the dingo, drive unintended shifts in forest ecosystem structure. We compared mammal assemblages and understorey structure at seven sites in southern Australia. Each site comprised an area where dingoes were poisoned and an area without control. The effects of dingo control on mammals scaled with body size. Activity of herbivorous macropods, arboreal mammals and a mesopredator, the red fox, were greater, but understorey vegetation sparser and abundances of small mammals lower, where dingoes were controlled. Structural equation modelling suggested that both predation by foxes and depletion of understorey vegetation by macropods were related to small mammal decline at poisoned sites. Our study suggests that apex predators’ suppressive effects on herbivores and mesopredators occur simultaneously and should be considered in tandem in order to appreciate the extent of apex predators’ indirect effects.”
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Originally Published at http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1782/20133094

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