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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Rapid recovery of mammal fauna in the central Kimberley, northern Australia, following the removal of introduced herbivores

Published source details

Legge S., Kennedy M.S., Lloyd R., Murphy S.A. & Fisher A. (2011) Rapid recovery of mammal fauna in the central Kimberley, northern Australia, following the removal of introduced herbivores. Austral Ecology, 36, 791-799


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use fencing to exclude grazers or other problematic species Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled, before-and-after study in 2004–2007 in a woodland savannah in north-west Australia (Legge et al. 2011) found that after fencing to exclude introduced herbivores, the overall abundance and species richness of small- and medium-sized native mammals increased. After three years, the average number of mammals and mammal species/ plot was higher in sites from which introduced herbivores were excluded (abundance: 6.1–16.7 animals; species richness: 2.5–3.2 species) than in non-removal sites (abundance: 0.1–3.3 animals; species richness: 0.1–1.4 species). Overall abundance varied with habitat type and abundance increased with years since destocking for four of seven species (see original paper for details). In 2004–2005, a 40,300-ha area of Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary was fenced and cleared of large herbivores. Before 2004, the area had >2,000 cattle Bos taurus and >200 horses Equus ferus caballus and donkeys Equus africanus asinus. In 2007, less than 200 cattle remained. Native mammals were surveyed in twenty 0.25-ha plots in 2004 and in 42–43 plots annually in 2005–2007 (total 49 separate plots, most surveyed 3-4 times). By 2006 and 2007, sixteen plots still contained herbivores, and herbivores had been removed from the other plots (1-3 years previously). Each plot was surveyed using 20 box traps, four medium-sized cage traps and eight pitfall traps, for three consecutive nights each year. Fur was clipped to exclude recaptures.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)