Articles on biological control

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Rabbits can strip grasslands bare and chew through young woody trees. John Schilling/Flickr

The rabbits of Christmas past: a present that backfired for Australia

On Christmas Day 1859, the Victoria Acclimatisation Society released 24 rabbits for hunting, to help settlers feel more at home. Given the millions of dollars in damage to agricultural productivity that…
Rabbit numbers have been considerably reduced by the introduction of two viruses - Rabbit calicivirus and myxoma. CSIRO

Explainer: how ‘biocontrol’ fights invasive species

Australia’s “ferals” — invasive alien plants, pests and diseases — are the largest bioeconomic threats to Australian agriculture. They also harm our natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Some, such as mosquitoes…
A male Onthophagus vacca, the species of dung beetle being released this week in Western Australia. CSIRO

French beetles flown in to clean up Australia’s cattle dung

The average cow drops between 10 and 12 dung pads (also known as “pats”) every day and just one of those cow pads can produce up to 3,000 flies in a fortnight. With more than 28 million cattle in Australia…
Carp have spread throughout Australia’s waterways - but CSIRO is hoping to bring a new genetic weapon to bear on them. Kletr/Sutterstcok.com

Male-only gene trick could leave invasive fish species floundering

A genetic modification that creates male-only populations could give us a new weapon against invasive fish such as carp that plague our waterways. “Daughterless technology”, which works by removing females…
Two of millions of cane toads found across northern Australia. Mark Lewis, Radio Pictures, Mullumbimby

Everyone agreed: cane toads would be a winner for Australia

When cane toads were released in Australia in 1935, they were the latest innovation in pest control, backed by a level of consensus support that a scientist could only dream of. So what went wrong? Research…

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