ISLAND RESTORATION: EXPLORING THE PAST,
ANTICIPATING THE FUTURE
MARK J. Rauzon
Marine Endeavours, 4701 Edgewood Ave. Oakland, CA. 94602. USA.
Rauzon, M.J. 2007. Island restoration: exploring the past, anticipating the future. Marine Ornithology 35: xx-yy.
Predator control and eradication of introduced mammals affecting seabird populations has greatly accelerated since pioneering efforts by New Zealand biologists in the 1970′s. The dramatic recovery of seabirds inspired further research and more eradications on larger islands and helped set the “Conservation Agenda for the 1990’s: Removal of Alien Predators from Seabird Colonies” by the Pacific Seabird Group which in turn helped identify islands of the highest priority where introduced organisms should be removed. This facilitated a number of eradication successes from smaller seabird islands in Mexico, Hawaii and the South Pacific to the removal of Arctic foxes from the Aleutian Island Archipelago. Complete eradication was successful with large herbivores, rabbits, foxes and feral cats, but the eradication of rodents presented the greatest challenge. The development of a second-generation anticoagulant, brodifacoum, enhanced the rate of successful eradications and enabled greater areas to be cleared. By 2002, technical confidence developed to the point where sub-Antarctic Campbell Island (11,300 ha) was successfully treated with bait dispersed from helicopters. Many remaining potential eradication programs are challenged by their remote locations with extreme weather, complex ecosystems, non-target species, proximity to human habitation, toxicant resistance, compliance with environmental regulations, opposition by animal rights advocates, and inadequate funding sources for large-scale programs. Once eradications are complete, monitoring and quarantines need to be guaranteed. Future techniques to exploit are fencing large parcels of mainland areas and controlling or eradicating the enclosed pests, while excluding reinvasions. Finally, the use of biocontrol via genetic engineering and disease holds promise. A historical review of these techniques and challenges will be presented.
Key words: island restoration, predator control, eradication, Rattus, seabirds, rodenticide labels, adaptive management, Pacific Seabird Group, IACUC, brodifacoum, quarantine, bio-sanitation.