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This report should be attributed as ‘Draft Threat abatement plan for competition and land degradation by rabbits, Commonwealth of Australia 2015’.
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This Threat abatement plan for competition and land degradation by rabbits establishes a national framework to guide and coordinate Australia’s response to the impacts of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on biodiversity. It identifies the research, management and other actions needed to ensure the long-term survival of native species and ecological communities affected by competition and land degradation caused by rabbits. It replaces the previous threat abatement plan for rabbits published in 2008 (DEWHA 2008).
While this threat abatement plan aims primarily to abate the threat to key environmental assets (threatened species and ecological communities listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and other matters of national environmental significance), it also recognises that rabbits have wider environmental impacts as well as social, cultural and economic impacts.
This plan should be read in conjunction with the publication Background document for the threat abatement plan for competition and land degradation by rabbits (Department of the Environment 2015a). The background document provides information on:
The EPBC Act provides for the identification and listing of key threatening processes. At the commencement of the EPBC Act in 1999, competition and land degradation by rabbits was listed as a key threatening process and a threat abatement plan was developed.
The Australian Government develops threat abatement plans with assistance from other government agencies, natural resource managers and scientific experts, and facilitates their implementation. To progress the main strategic actions within the threat abatement plan, the Department of the Environment relies on partnerships and co-investment with other government agencies, industry and other stakeholders. An important part of implementation of the threat abatement plan is ensuring that knowledge of improved abatement methods is disseminated to potential users.
Mitigating the threat of invasive species is a matter of developing, applying and integrating a number of control methods, not relying on one method. It also requires understanding and addressing social and economic factors; for example, through supporting the efforts of private landholders, leaseholders and volunteers to manage invasive species on their lands to achieve the desired outcomes for biodiversity conservation and primary production. In addition, research and development programs for managing pest species need to integrate the interests of both primary production and environmental conservation.
Regional natural resource management plans and site-based plans provide the best scale and context for developing operational plans to control invasive species. They allow primary production and environmental considerations to be jointly addressed and allow management to be integrated across the local priority vertebrate pests within the scope of other natural resource management priorities.