‘Dangers of grazing in the wild’ – how grassland beetles are killing off Australia’s wildlife
A new study shows how Australian grasslands are being eroded by the beetles, threatening native species and threatening wildlife.
Key points:Researchers say grassland biodiversity is being damaged by the pests and are urging the Federal Government to protect the continent’s biodiversityMore than 90 percent of Australia’s grassland has been lost to the pests, according to the new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne, the University, the Melbourne Institute of Marine Science, and the University College London.
“The grasslands in Australia are not being protected at all.
They are being destroyed by the insect,” said Dr Sarah Brown from the University’s School of Earth Sciences.”
In the past, we have seen a lot of evidence of the impact of insect predators on native species.
But now we know that they are also killing off native species in Australia.”
What this study shows is that these pests are taking their toll on the grasslands.
They have a direct effect on native plant species and are altering their ecology.
“The researchers used a unique approach to quantify how often and in which locations the grassland had been affected by the insects.”
We collected grassland samples from more than 60 locations across the country, and compared them to the locations where we had identified the most recent insect infestation,” Dr Brown said.”
It is pretty amazing to see how many grassland areas we’ve found where grasslands were affected by both insects and non-native predators.
“Our results show that between 2005 and 2013, there was a decline of about 15 percent in grassland diversity.”
The scientists have also found that more than 90 per cent of Australia has been affected.
“When we look at grassland on the continent, it is actually quite a bit smaller than in the United States and Europe,” Dr Boudreaux said.
She said this was likely because the insects had been travelling to more isolated areas of the continent.
“This may explain why we are seeing so much grassland loss in Australia,” Dr Mabrie said.
Topics:ecology,environment,environmental-impact,environment-management,environmentaustraliaFirst posted November 09, 2017 07:25:17Contact the ABC News Service