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Resolving the value of the dingo in ecological restoration


Newsome, TM and Ballard, G-A and Crowther, MS and Dellinger, JA and Fleming, PJS and Glen, AS and Greenville, AC and Johnson, CN and Letnic, M and Moseby, KE and Nimmo, DG and Nelson, MP and Read, JL and Ripple, WJ and Ritchie, EG and Shores, CR and Wallach, AD and Wirsing, AJ and Dickman, CR, Resolving the value of the dingo in ecological restoration, Restoration Ecology, 23, (3) pp. 201-208. ISSN 1061-2971 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Society for Ecological Restoration

DOI: doi:10.1111/rec.12186


There is global interest in restoring populations of apex predators, both to conserve them and to harness their ecological services. In Australia, reintroduction of dingoes (Canis dingo) has been proposed to help restore degraded rangelands. This proposal is based on theories and the results of studies suggesting that dingoes can suppress populations of prey (especially medium- and large-sized herbivores) and invasive predators such as red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cats (Felis catus) that prey on threatened native species. However, the idea of dingo reintroduction has met opposition, especially from scientists who query the dingo's positive effects for some species or in some environments. Here, we ask ‘what is a feasible experimental design for assessing the role of dingoes in ecological restoration?’ We outline and propose a dingo reintroduction experiment—one that draws upon the existing dingo-proof fence—and identify an area suitable for this (Sturt National Park, western New South Wales). Although challenging, this initiative would test whether dingoes can help restore Australia's rangeland biodiversity, and potentially provide proof-of-concept for apex predator reintroductions globally.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, Canis dingo, extinction, mesopredator release, top predator
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:105637
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:50
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2016-01-12
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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