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Threats to Mallee Biodiversity

Rabbits are a major threat to biodiversity in the Mallee, particularly to the semi-arid woodlands dominated by Belah, Sugarwood, Buloke, or Slender Cypress-pine.

Rabbits degrade these communities by over-grazing native pastures, inhibiting the regeneration of native shrubs and trees, promoting invasive weeds and by supporting high numbers of introduced predators. The threshold at which rabbits generate environmental damage in the semi-arid zone is surprisingly low. More than one active warren entrance per ha can result in the removal of all palatable tree seedlings over time.

The ‘Recovering Rangelands: Mallee Bounceback’ project, administered by Parks Victoria on behalf of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), has the aim of maintaining rabbit abundance below the threshold at which damage will occur within at-risk communities. This threshold is defined as one rabbit per spotlight km or less than one active entrance per ha. Spotlight counts are conducted over a distance of 800 km each autumn and spring within our remnant rangeland communities within parks, reserves, state forest, and private land (Neds Corner Station). The results are used to evaluate the effectiveness of investment in rabbit control at a landscape scale. Hotspots of rabbit activity that are located can then be treated as a priority for the land manager.

These data are presented on this page for:

For further information, contact Brendan Rodgers, Total Grazing Management Co-ordinator at Parks Victoria on 5051 4648. 

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