Mapping invasive animals of Australia

Project Leader: Peter West, Industry and Investment NSW

Aim: To obtain agreed benchmarks for invasive animal impacts, density and distribution in Australia.

Projects:  12.d.1

Project summary

This project aims to:

  • improve monitoring, data entry, collation and reporting tools, techniques and protocols for significant invasive vertebrate pests and improve existing national databases and national information system infrastructure
  • survey key established species, new and emerging species, and alien fish species at finer resolution to present national maps of occurrence, distribution and relative abundance.
  • develop and deliver meaningful information products to relevant stakeholders (including NRM’s) to support management planning, surveillance, control, and biosecurity activities
  • identify strategies for reporting invasive animal impacts at state and national levels

The major project outputs to date have been the production of national, state and NRM region maps that show the distribution and abundance of ten key pest animal species (feral pigs, feral goats, rabbits, foxes, feral cats, wild dogs and dingoes, common carp, starlings, cane toads and feral deer). These maps and case studies of pest animal impacts were published as a joint NLWRA/CRC report Assessing invasive animals of Australia 2008. The project has also resulted in the first set of nationally agreed, standardised protocols for monitoring and reporting on invasive animals.

phase 2 of this project will value-add to achievements of phase 1, building on the momentum of the project with monitoring, mapping and reporting of invasive animals at state and national levels. It will identify and target data gaps, priorities and fundamental information needs for ongoing monitoring and reporting of invasive animals throughout Australia.

With a nationally endorsed proven method for monitoring and reporting of invasive animals, this project will build on existing datasets to deliver more detailed information for a wider range of established species, new and emerging species and alien fish. This project will make improvements to tools, techniques, procedures, products, and information management, and deliver vital information to decision-makers at all levels. On completion, this project will provide the IA CRC with national maps for a large number of pest species, as a benchmark for prioritising research, and assessing programs, funding and investment, management actions, and national policy. Further collaboration will be sought with states and territories, Australian Government and NRM regional groups to coordinate ongoing monitoring and reporting activities. Further collaboration with NSW will facilitate development of data infrastructure and web-based data capture tools for invasive animals essential for national biosecurity information systems infrastructure.

The project delivers:

  • improved procedures for monitoring, evaluation and reporting at regional, state and national levels for significant invasive animals in Australia
  • Nationally consistent datasets for species occurrence, distribution and abundance
  • information products for relevant stakeholders including NRM regional groups
  • data capture tools and techniques for national databases and information systems
  • decision-support resources for management authorities.

Key achievements

  • Report published ‘Assessing invasive animals of Australia’, and accompanying information booklet ‘Significant invasive species– Status of information for reporting, with media release from federal Environment Minister.
  • Established and delivered a series of information products (maps) to relevant state/territory and Australian Government agencies, and regional NRM groups.
  • Reviewed existing national data and identified a series of information gaps and issues to address, to support improved government decision-making.
  • Population of a refined database with fine-scale invasive animals data.
  • Workshop held to re-evaluate monitoring and reporting information needs of the state/territories and Australian Government and identify changes required to current monitoring protocols and priority species lists.
  • Published PestMaps website (www.feral.org.au) as a single centralised website for end-users (such as community-group and regional NRM groups) to access monitoring and reporting products (including maps) for invasive animals and support best-practice management.
  • Supported IA CRC training and survey project in Kakadu National Park in collaboration with NSW Industry and Investment to train staff in conducting aerial surveys for feral animals as part of a feral animal management program.

Key deliverables

  • Coordinate collection of invasive animals data for additional established species (such as feral horses) using agreed national protocols and new and emerging species (such as red-eared slider turtles) using refined monitoring protocols
  • Coordinate collection of invasive animals data for additional established species (such as feral horses) using agreed national protocols, and new and emerging species (such as red-eared slider turtles) using refined monitoring protocols
  • Continue to build a national database for established, new and emerging species and an inventory of species across all regional, state and territory jurisdictions with emphasis on producing finer-scale datasets for all species.
  • Form a VPC working group to address information needs, monitoring protocol recommendations, national data standards, and ongoing needs for invasive animals density data
  • Address the need for collation of invasive animals impacts and management activity (control effort) information and linkage with density data.
  • Report program outcomes at relevant forums and via websites and project reports.

Project partners

IA CRC, Industry and Investment NSW, Bureau of Rural Sciences.

Further information

Gibson J, West P (2006) Summary of distribution and abundance monitoring methods Invasive Animals CRC, Canberra.

West P (2008) Assessing invasive animals of Australia’, and accompanying information booklet ‘Significant invasive species– Status of information for reporting. Invasive Animals CRC, Canberra.

www.feral.org.au
Pestmaps website

For further information, contact us.