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The consequences of introducing non-indigenous species: two case studies, the grey squirrel in Europe and the brushtail possum in New Zealand

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Lurz



Two examples of the introduction of non-indigenous invasive species are reviewed: the grey squirrel in Europe (United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy) and the brushtail possum in New Zealand. Both have become very successful in their respective non-native habitats since their introductions in the mid-to-late 19th Century. Both species impact extensively on native biodiversity, environmental sustainability, forestry, and agriculture through a range of direct and indirect mechanisms. Management is currently mainly by lethal control, namely poisoning, trapping and shooting. Such methods of control are, however, increasingly contentious for both species, and alternative, non-lethal methods of population control, e.g. fertility control, are being developed. The case studies highlight many of the issues in invasive animal control; for example, prevention being better than control, lack of good understanding of impacts and the success of control measures on reducing impacts, interactive impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystems, the telling influence of public opinion on management options and, lastly, the need to better inform and educate the public.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lawton C, Cowan P, Bertolino S, Lurz PWW, Peters AR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Revue scientifique et technique de l'OIE

Year: 2010

Volume: 29

Issue: 2

Pages: 287-297

Print publication date: 01/08/2010

Date deposited: 10/01/2011

ISSN (print): 0253-1933

ISSN (electronic): 1608-0637

Publisher: World organisation for Animal Health (OIE: Office international des ├ępizooties)


Funder referenceFunder name
C09X0507New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology