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Rabbits, landslips and vegetation change on the coastal slopes of Subantarctic Macquarie Island, 1980-2007


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Scott, JJ and Kirkpatrick, JB ORCID: 0000-0003-2763-2692 2008 , 'Rabbits, landslips and vegetation change on the coastal slopes of Subantarctic Macquarie Island, 1980-2007' , Polar Biology, vol. 31, no. 4 , pp. 409-419 , doi: 10.1007/s00300-007-0367-y.

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Subantarctic tall tussock grassland and megaherb
vegetation has been massively aVected by feral herbivores
on islands where both occur. The eVects of rabbits in
this vegetation on Macquarie Island were monitored using
66 permanent quadrats and numerous photo-points on the
steep coastal slopes of the island from 1980 to 2007. Vegetation change after landslips was also monitored. At the start of this period rabbit numbers plummeted due to the introduction of myxoma virus, but then increased from the late 1990s. Over the years of reduced rabbit numbers, some recovery of tall tussock grassland took place. With the
resurgence in rabbit numbers, successional patterns converged towards a uniform pattern of degraded vegetation
with more bare ground. The patterns of vegetation change
indicate that recovery of the vegetation, after eradication of rabbits, rats and mice, is likely to be rapid where degradation is recent and where seed sources are in close proximity. The exotic plant species currently on the island are unlikely to present a problem.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Scott, JJ and Kirkpatrick, JB
Journal or Publication Title: Polar Biology
ISSN: 0722-4060 (Print) 1432-2056 (Online)
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s00300-007-0367-y
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