Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Excluding mammalian predators increases bird densities and seed dispersal in fenced ecosanctuaries.

Abstract

Islands are epicenters of animal extinctions and population declines. These losses exacerbate biodiversity loss and disrupt ecological services in areas of high endemism. Island defaunation is primarily driven by invasive mammalian predators, and mammal eradications are reversing population declines for some island species. Invasive mammal eradications may also have the capacity to restore ecological interactions, along with the recovery of island fauna. Here we show that invasive mammal eradication in fenced ecosanctuaries results in higher rates of bird foraging on fruit, and higher bird-mediated seed dispersal, than in similar forests without mammal eradication. We further show that higher foraging and seed dispersal is related to higher densities of native bird species, after accounting for natural variation in fruit availability. For the many other systems globally that are under threat from invasive mammals, New Zealand's fenced ecosanctuary model offers a promising tool for restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services.