Exclude wild vertebrates: freshwater swamps
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Important wild vertebrates in swamps include mammals (e.g. deer, rabbits, hares, kangaroos, feral horses, feral pigs), birds (e.g. ducks, geese, swans), reptiles (e.g. turtles) and fish (e.g. carp). These animals can damage vegetation directly by eating it. They can also affect vegetation indirectly, for example by trampling, creating trails, digging, burrowing or defecation (Fuller 1985). Wild vertebrates could be physically excluded from pristine sites to prevent damage, or from degraded sites to let them recover.
Caution: Disturbance from animals may be desirable in some habitats. It can help to control undesirable vegetation and maintain species richness or open water patches (e.g. Smith et al. 2012). Fences or cages can be expensive and require ongoing maintenance.
Although studies often intend to exclude a particular problematic species, other animals of a similar size will incidentally be excluded. Smaller animals such as insects can usually still access vertebrate exclusion plots. The benefits of this action may be highly dependent on the type/size of fencing used, and the abundance of problematic animals in the study site.
Related actions: Use barriers to keep livestock off ungrazed swamps; Exclude or remove livestock from historically grazed swamps; Exclude wild invertebrates using physical barriers; Use fences or barriers to protect planted areas.
Fuller D.A., Sasser C.E., Johnson W.B. & Gosselink J.G. (1985) The effects of herbivory on vegetation on islands in Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana. Wetlands, 4, 105–114.
Smith A.N., Vernes K.A. & Ford H.A. (2012) Grazing effects of black swans Cygnus atratus (Latham) on a seasonally flooded coastal wetland of eastern Australia. Hydrobiologia, 697, 45–57.