Managing herbivore impacts after mega-fires

Date: 23, Nov, 2021
Author(s): David Duncan  
Publisher: TSR Hub

Invasive herbivores, like rabbits, goats and feral horses, can pose a significant threat to threatened species and ecological communities, as can native herbivores, like kangaroos, in places where they are overabundant. Herbivore impacts can also be amplified when combined with fire and hinder the regeneration of key ecosystem species. We conducted a literature review to determine how the threat from herbivores to native species and ecological communities interacts with wildfire and land management. The studies generally reported an increase in herbivore activity by both native and non-native species after a fire, but reported little evidence on how herbivore populations were affected over the long term by fire. The findings highlight the urgent need to quantify herbivore responses to extreme fire events in woody ecosystems and the post-fire impacts on biodiversity so that we can better inform future conservation efforts.