An examination of the browsing animal problem in Australian eucalypt and pine plantations
- Author(s): Montague, Thomas L.
- Pollock, David C.
- Wright, Wendy
- et al.
The severity and extent of browsing damage to pine and eucalypt plantations and possible solutions are examined. Twenty-six percent of all trees surviving 9 months after planting were browsed yet only six percent had more than 50% of foliage damaged. The most common form of damage was for the foliage to be browsed or the tree bitten off with browsing damage implicated in the mortality of the 24% of trees that died. No difference in the extent of damage between Pinus radiata and eucalypts was detected. Slight differences between three Eucalypt species and two ages of seedlings were detected; however, these differences in damage levels were insufficient to afford adequate protection through appropriate selection of species and type of nursery stock. Most of the damage was attributed to the Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) and the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The use of electric or rotonet fencing and repellents containing chili or dog-urine extracts seem to offer the only nondestructive ways of minimising browsing damage. The development of less palatable species and types of nursery stock is dependent on other considerations including general suitability, but warrants further research.