Eremophila alternifolia browsed by rabbits

A young 45-cm high narrow-leaved fuschia-bush (Eremophila alternifolia) in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park, South Australia, showing the distinctive diagonal chisel-like cuts made by rabbits. Rabbits have eaten all the accessible young leafy shoots, leaving only two shoots in well-protected recesses of the plant and a few mature leaves. This particular specimen is heavily browsed by rabbits about one year in every two. It was well-established and showing the signs of old rabbit damage when the plot was first mapped in 1981, at which time it was fenced off from feral goats but not rabbits. Despite the complete absence of goats and the substantial reduction in rabbit numbers that followed the arrival of rabbit haemorrhagic disease in 1996, it has been unable to escape grazing by the few rabbits that remain. Mature Eremophila alternifolia grow to about 2.5 metres tall in this area, but all foliage below 1.8 metres is eaten by feral goats. An Eremophila alternifolia that was of similar size to the one shown in the photo when fenced off from rabbits as well as goats in 1981 was 1.8 metres tall in 2007. In this area the only places where Eremophila alternifolia seedlings survive for more than a few months are all protected from rabbits and feral goats.

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Author Dr. Robert Henzell
Secondary Author Robert Henzell
Date 10/02/1999
Year 1999
Secondary title Henzell12.jpg
Edition Jpeg
Place published Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park, South Australia
Institution Animal and Plant Control Group, SA
Pages 300 dpi
Region SA