Managing invasive plants on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island

Sindel, Brian M., Kristiansen, Paul E., Wilson, Susan C., Shaw, Justine D. and Williams, Laura K. (2018) Managing invasive plants on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Rangeland Journal, 39 5-6: 537-549. doi:10.1071/RJ17073

Author Sindel, Brian M.
Kristiansen, Paul E.
Wilson, Susan C.
Shaw, Justine D.
Williams, Laura K.
Title Managing invasive plants on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island
Journal name Rangeland Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1036-9872
Publication date 2018-01-19
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/RJ17073
Volume 39
Issue 5-6
Start page 537
End page 549
Total pages 13
Place of publication Clayton, VIC Australia
Publisher CSIRO
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2303 Ecology
Abstract The Antarctic region is one of the most inhospitable frontiers on earth for weed invasion. On Australia's world heritage sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island only three species of invasive weeds are well established (Poa annua L., Stellaria media (L.) Vill. and Cerastium fontanum Baumg.), although isolated occurrences of other species have been found and removed. These weed species are believed to have initially been introduced through human activity, a threat which is likely to increase, although strict biosecurity is in place. All three weeds are palatable and may have been suppressed to some extent by pest herbivore (rabbit) grazing. Given the high conservation value of Macquarie Island and threats to ecosystem structure and function from weed proliferation following rabbit eradication, well targeted invasive plant control management strategies are vital. We propose that a successful restoration program for Australia's most southerly rangeland ecosystem should integrate both control of non-native plants as well as non-native herbivores. Of the non-native plants, S. media may most easily be managed, if not eradicated, because of its more limited distribution. Little, however, is known about the soil seed bank or population dynamics after rabbit eradication, nor the effect of herbicides and non-chemical control methods in cold conditions. A current research project on this non-grass species is helping to fill these knowledge gaps, complementing and building on data collected in an earlier project on the ecology and control of the more widespread invasive grass, P. annua. With an interest in off-target herbicide impacts, our work also includes a study of the movement and fate of herbicides in the cold climate Macquarie Island soils. Research in such a remote, cold, wet and windy place presents a range of logistical challenges. Nevertheless, outcomes are informing the development of effective, low-impact control or eradication options for sub-Antarctic weeds.
Keyword Cerastium fontanum
herbicide dynamics
non-native species
Poa annua
seed banks
Stellaria media
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Thu, 15 Mar 2018, 23:52:03 EST