Pasture grazing by black-striped wallabies (Macropus dorsalis) in central Queensland

Black-striped wallabies (Macropus dorsalis) are uncommon to rare in most of their former range, yet in parts of central Queensland where they are still locally common they are regarded as a serious pasture pest. There is considerable pressure from cattle graziers to reduce their density because of the putative damage that they cause to cattle pasture. Here we examined the effects of this species and other herbivores on pasture by monitoring vegetation cover between 1993 and 1998 in exclosures in brigalow, and poplar box communities on three grazing properties in the Maranoa region. The exclosures selectively allowed access to either: all vertebrate grazers including cattle; rabbits, bettongs, and wallabies; rabbits and bettongs; no vertebrate grazers. The greatest effects on the structure and species composition of pasture were caused by cattle, but wallabies did consume commercially important quantities of grass at some times of the year. This conflicts with local opinion that sees wallabies as the major cause of pasture degradation. Herein lies the management problem that sees continued reduction in wallaby habitat, and fragmentation of the species.

Author Baxter, G. S., Moll, E. J. and Lisle, A. T.
Year 2001
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 28
Pages 269-276
Region QLD