This week at Macquarie Island: 7 February 2020

Vegetation recovery, 10 years on

More on vegetation recovery at Macquarie Island

A month ago, Icy News from Macca described the extent of vegetation recovery here since the completion in 2014 of the remarkably successful Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Program, which eradicated introduced pest rabbits and rodents from the island. Expeditioners continue to be delighted and amazed by the extent of the vegetation recovery, so here are a few more before and after photos taken around the island to demonstrate how the natural environment has bounced back! 

The before photos were taken in 2010, immediately before the majority of the rabbits were eradicated using rabbit calicivirus (rabbit haemorrhagic disease) as a biocontrol agent. The use of calicivirus in 2010 was followed by aerial baiting of the island from helicopters, and then three years of deployment of specially trained dogs, handlers and rabbit hunters to ensure every last rabbit was indeed gone.

The after photos were taken in the last month, January 2020. The photos show regrowth of tussock grass (Poa foliosa), Macquarie Island cabbage (Stilbocarpa polaris), and Macquarie Island daisy (Pleurophyllum hookeri).

- Ivor Harris, Station Leader 

Degraded vegetation on First knoll on Doctor's Track, 2010
First knoll on Doctor's Track, 2010
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Lush regrowth on first knoll on Doctor's Track in 2020
First knoll on Doctor's Track, 2020
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Camera observation point, West Beach 2010
Camera observation point, West Beach 2010
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
 West beach with lush regrowth, 2020
Same point, 2020
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Razorback viewing platform, 2010
Razorback viewing platform, 2010
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Lush vegetation regrowth at Razorback viewing platform 2020
Razorback viewing platform 2020
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Looking down a hillside with degraded vegetation in 2010
Razorback 2010
(Photo: Ivor Harris)
Looking down a hill with lots of regrowth in 2020
Razorback 2020
(Photo: Ivor Harris)