Advertisement

Prioritising islands in the United Kingdom and crown dependencies for the eradication of invasive alien vertebrates and rodent biosecurity

  • Andrew Stanbury
  • Sophie Thomas
  • James Aegerter
  • Andy Brown
  • David Bullock
  • Mark Eaton
  • Leigh Lock
  • Richard Luxmoore
  • Sugoto Roy
  • Stan Whitaker
  • Steffen Oppel
Original Article

Abstract

Invasive alien vertebrates (IAVs) pose a significant threat to island biodiversity worldwide, and their removal is an important nature conservation management goal. As methods advance, eradications from larger islands and of multiple species simultaneously are increasingly undertaken. Effective targeting to maximise conservation gain is important given limited resources. We build on existing prioritisation methods and use the islands of the UK and Crown Dependencies (UK) as an example of how vertebrate eradications might be prioritised and invasive-free status maintained through biosecurity. For each of the 9688 UK islands, we assessed ecological importance for native vertebrates and the anticipated impacts of the IAVs present to estimate the benefit of restoration based on the feasibility and sustainability of IAV eradications in relation to island size, human population and risk of unassisted reinvasion by swimming. As reinvasion poses a threat to the long-term benefits of eradication, we incorporated species-specific swimming distances and explored the effects of varying reinvasion probability from risk-averse to higher-risk strategies. The 25 islands that would benefit most from eradications were in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Our prioritisation method should be seen as an initial guide to identify islands that might benefit from intervention when faced with a large list of potential sites. Feasibility studies taking account of factors such as interspecific interactions, anthropogenic reinvasion, views of residents or ‘social feasibility’ and cost need to be undertaken before planning any eradication. We prioritised biosecurity for rat-free islands to highlight where comprehensive measures might be most beneficial.

Keyword

Invasive alien vertebrate Eradication Island restoration Prioritisation Natural reinvasion risk Rodent biosecurity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge everyone who helped construct the benefit and IAV databases; from those carrying out surveys, submitting ad hoc records, writing ecological atlases or working on national recording schemes to local experts providing information directly to the project. J. Russell, J. Millett, N. Holmes and J. Dawson provided valuable advice at different stages of the project.

Supplementary material

10344_2017_1084_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 15.3 kb)
10344_2017_1084_MOESM2_ESM.docx (14 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 13.5 kb)
10344_2017_1084_MOESM3_ESM.docx (14 kb)
ESM 3 (DOCX 14.2 kb)
10344_2017_1084_MOESM4_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 4 (DOCX 15.4 kb)
10344_2017_1084_MOESM5_ESM.xlsx (1.6 mb)
ESM 5 (XLSX 1.55 mb)

References

  1. Abbott I (2000) Improving the conservation of threatened and rare mammal species through translocation to islands: case study Western Australia. Biol Conserv 93:195–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arntzen JW, Wilkinson JW, Butôt R (2014) A new vertebrate species native to the British isles: Bufo spinosus Daudin, 1803 in Jersey. The Herpetological Journal 24:209–216Google Scholar
  3. Balmer DE et al (2013) Bird atlas 2007–11: the breeding and wintering birds of Britain and Ireland. BTO, ThetfordGoogle Scholar
  4. BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  5. BirdLife International (2015) European red list of birds. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  6. Booker H, Price D (2014) Manx shearwater recovery on Lundy: population and distribution change from 2001 to 2013. Journal of the Lundy Field Society 4:105–116Google Scholar
  7. BRIG (2007) Report on the species and habitat review: report to the UK standing committee June 2007. Biodiversity Reporting and Information Group, PeterboroughGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooke ML, Hilton G, Martins T (2007) Prioritizing the world’s islands for vertebrate-eradication programmes. Anim Conserv 10:380–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buxton RT, Jones C, Moller H, Towns DR (2014) Drivers of seabird population recovery on New Zealand islands after predator eradication. Conserv Biol 28:333–344CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Clout MN, Russell JC (2008) The invasion ecology of mammals: a global perspective. Wildl Res 35:180–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Courchamp F, Chapuis J-L, Pascal M (2003) Mammal invaders on islands: impact, control and control impact. Biol Rev 78:347–383CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Dawson J et al (2015) Prioritizing islands for the eradication of invasive vertebrates in the United Kingdom overseas territories. Conserv Biol 29:143–153CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. DIISE (2016) The database of island invasive species eradications, developed by island conservation, coastal conservation action laboratory UCSC, IUCN SSC invasive species specialist group. University of Auckland and Landcare Research New Zealand, Auckland http://diise.islandconservation.org Google Scholar
  14. Donlan C, Wilcox C (2007) Complexities of costing eradications. Anim Conserv 10:154–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Donlan CJ, Luque GM, Wilcox C (2015) Maximizing return on Investment for Island Restoration and Species Conservation. Conserv Lett 8:171–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eaton M et al (2015) Birds of conservation concern 4: the population status of birds in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. British Birds 108:708–746Google Scholar
  17. Ecosure (2009) Prioritisation of high conservation status of offshore islands. Report to the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Ecosure, Cairns, QueenslandGoogle Scholar
  18. Edgar P (2010) The amphibians and reptiles of the UK Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and Sovereign Base Areas: Species inventory and overview of conservation and research priorities. Final Report to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Boscombe, UKGoogle Scholar
  19. Fraser EJ, Lambin X, McDonald RA, Redpath SM (2015) Stoat (Mustela erminea) on the Orkney Islands – assessing risks to native species vol No. 871. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned ReportGoogle Scholar
  20. Game ET, Kareiva P, Possingham HP (2013) Six common mistakes in conservation priority setting. Conserv Biol 27:480–485CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Genovesi P, Carnevali L (2011) Invasive alien species on European islands: eradications and priorities for future work. In: Veitch CR, Clout MN, Towns DR (eds) Island invasives: eradication and management. IUCN, (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Gland, Switzerland, pp 56–62Google Scholar
  22. Glen AS et al (2013) Eradicating multiple invasive species on inhabited islands: the next big step in island restoration? Biol Invasions 15:2589–2603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harris S, Yalden DWY (2008) Mammals of the British Isles: handbook. Mammal societyGoogle Scholar
  24. Harris S, Morris P, Wray S, Yalden D (1995) A review of British mammals: population estimates and conservation status of British mammals other than cetaceans. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough, UK, p 52Google Scholar
  25. Harris D, Gregory SD, Bull L, Courchamp F (2012) Island prioritization for invasive rodent eradications with an emphasis on reinvasion risk. Biol Invasions 14:1251–1263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Heaney V, St Pierre P (2015) The status of seabirds breeding in the Isles of Scilly 2015. Unpublished Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reportGoogle Scholar
  27. Heaney V, Lock L, St Pierre P, Brown A (2008) Important bird areas: breeding seabirds on the isles of Scilly. British Birds 101:418–438Google Scholar
  28. Heath M, Evans M, Hoccom D, Payne A, Peet N, Birdlife International C (2000) Important bird areas in Europe priority sites for conservation. v. 1: Northern Europa. v. 2: Southern Europe BirdLife Conservation Series (RU)Google Scholar
  29. Helmstedt KJ, Shaw JD, Bode M, Terauds A, Springer K, Robinson SA, Possingham HP (2016) Prioritizing eradication actions on islands: it’s not all or nothing. J Appl Ecol. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12599 Google Scholar
  30. Hervías S et al (2013) Studying the effects of multiple invasive mammals on Cory’s shearwater nest survival. Biol Invasions 15:143–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Holmes N, Campbell K, Keitt B, Griffiths R, Beek J, Donlan C, Broome K (2015) Reporting costs for invasive vertebrate eradications. Biol Invasions 17:2913–2925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Howald G et al (2007) Invasive rodent eradication on islands. Conserv Biol 21:1258–1268CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Iucnredlistorg (2016) Iucnredlistorg. Retrieved 30 June 2016, from http://www.iucnredlist.org
  34. Jones HP, et al. (2016) Invasive-mammal eradication on islands results in substantial conservation gains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113.15:4033–4038Google Scholar
  35. Martins T, Brooke ML, Hilton G, Farnsworth S, Gould J, Pain D (2006) Costing eradications of alien mammals from islands. Anim Conserv 9:439–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mitchell PI, Newton SF, Ratcliffe N, Dunn TE (2004) Seabird populations of Britain and Ireland. T and AD Poyser, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Morgan G (2012) The bird populations of Ramsey and Grassholm. British Birds 105:716–732Google Scholar
  38. Mulville J (2010) Red deer on Scottish islands. In: Sykes NJ (ed) Extinctions and invasions: a social history of British fauna. Windgather Press, Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp 43–50Google Scholar
  39. Ogden J, Gilbert J (2009) Prospects for the eradication of rats from a large inhabited island: community based ecosystem studies on great Barrier Island, New Zealand. Biol Invasions 11(7):1705–1717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Onsgovuk (2016) Onsgovuk. Retrieved 30 June, 2016, from https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011census/2011ukcensuses
  41. Oppel S, Beaven BM, Bolton M, Vickery J, Bodey TW (2011) Eradication of invasive mammals on islands inhabited by humans and domestic animals. Conserv Biol 25:232–240PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. R Development Core Team (2015) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria ISBN 3–900051–07–0, URL: http://www. R-project. orgGoogle Scholar
  43. Ratcliffe N, Mitchell I, Varnham K, Verboven N, Higson P (2009) How to prioritize rat management for the benefit of petrels: a case study of the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Ibis 151:699–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Roy SS, Chauvenet AL, Robertson PA (2015) Removal of American mink (Neovison vison) from the Uists, outer Hebrides, Scotland. Biol Invasions 17(10):2811–2820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ruscoe WA et al (2011) Unexpected consequences of control: competitive vs. predator release in a four-species assemblage of invasive mammals. Ecol Lett 14:1035–1042CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Russell JC, Clout MN (2004) Modelling the distribution and interaction of introduced rodents on New Zealand offshore islands. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 13:497–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Russell JC, Beaven BM, MacKay JW, Towns DR, Clout MN (2008a) Testing island biosecurity systems for invasive rats. Wildl Res 35:215–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Russell JC, Towns DR, Clout MN (2008b) Review of rat invasion biology: implications for island biosecurity. Science for conservationGoogle Scholar
  49. Scotlandscensusgovuk (2016) Scotlandscensusgovuk. Retrieved 30 June, 2016, from http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/census-results
  50. Serjeantson D (1990) The introduction of mammals to the outer Hebrides and the role of boats in stock management. Anthropozoologica:7–18Google Scholar
  51. Stoneman J, Zonfrillo B (2005) The eradication of brown rats from Handa Island, Sutherland. Scottish Birds 25:17Google Scholar
  52. Tabak MA, Poncet S, Passfield K, Martinez del Rio CC (2015) Modeling the distribution of Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) on offshore islands in the Falkland Islands. NeoBiota 24:33–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. UK Parliamentuk (2012). Parliamentuk. Retrieved 23 August, 2016, from http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmenvaud/332/332vw05.htm
  54. Veale A (2013) Observations of stoats (Mustela erminea) swimming. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 40:166–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Stanbury
    • 1
  • Sophie Thomas
    • 1
  • James Aegerter
    • 2
  • Andy Brown
    • 3
  • David Bullock
    • 4
  • Mark Eaton
    • 1
  • Leigh Lock
    • 1
  • Richard Luxmoore
    • 5
  • Sugoto Roy
    • 6
  • Stan Whitaker
    • 7
  • Steffen Oppel
    • 1
  1. 1.RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The LodgeSandyUK
  2. 2.National Wildlife Management Centre, Animal and Plant Health AgencySand HuttonUK
  3. 3.Natural England, Unex HousePeterboroughUK
  4. 4.National Trust, HeelisSwindonUK
  5. 5.The National Trust for Scotland, Hermiston QuayEdinburghUK
  6. 6.IUCNGlandSwitzerland
  7. 7.Scottish Natural Heritage, Great Glen HouseInvernessUK

Personalised recommendations