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The disappearing mammal fauna of northern Australia: context, cause, and response


Woinarski, JCZ and Legge, S and Fitzsimons, JA and Traill, BJ and Burbidge, AA and Fisher, A and Firth, RSC and Gordon, IJ and Griffiths, AD and Johnson, CN and McKenzie, NL and Palmer, C and Radford, I and Rankmore, B and Ritchie, EG and Ward, S and Ziembicki, M, The disappearing mammal fauna of northern Australia: context, cause, and response , Conservation Letters, 4, (3) pp. 192-201. ISSN 1755-263X (2011) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00164.x


This article provides a context to, attempts an explanation for, and proposes a response to the recent demonstration of rapid and severe decline of the na- tive mammal fauna of Kakadu National Park. This decline is consistent with, but might be more accentuated than, declines reported elsewhere in northern Australia; however, such a comparison is constrained by the sparse informa- tion base across this region. Disconcertingly, the decline has similarities with the earlier phase of mammal extinctions that occurred elsewhere in Australia. We considered four proximate factors (individually or interactively) that might be driving the observed decline: habitat change, predation (by feral cats), poi- soning (by invading cane toads), and novel disease. No single factor readily explains the current decline. The current rapid decline of mammals in Kakadu National Park and northern Australia suggests that the fate of biodiversity glob- ally might be even bleaker than evident in recent reviews, and that the estab- lishment of conservation reserves alone is insufficient to maintain biodiversity. This latter conclusion is not new; but the results reported here further stress the need to manage reserves far more intensively, purposefully, and effec- tively, and to audit regularly their biodiversity conservation performance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:72289
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:197
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-08-24
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:9 View Download Statistics

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