Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Seven considerations about dingoes as biodiversity engineers: the socioecological niches of dogs in Australia

Peter J. S. Fleming A D , Benjamin L. Allen B and Guy-Anthony Ballard C

A Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Forest Road, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia.

B The University of Queensland, School of Animal Studies, Warrego Highway, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia. Present address: Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, 32 Sulfide Street, Broken Hill, NSW 2880, Australia.

C Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Ring Road North, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: peter.fleming@industry.nsw.gov.au

Australian Mammalogy 34(1) 119-131 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AM11012
Submitted: 30 March 2011  Accepted: 4 September 2011   Published: 9 January 2012

Abstract

Australian dingoes have recently been suggested as a tool to aid biodiversity conservation through the reversal or prevention of trophic cascades and mesopredator release. However, at least seven ecological and sociological considerations must be addressed before dog populations are positively managed.

Outside of an adaptive management framework, positively managing dingoes while ignoring these seven considerations is unlikely to succeed in conserving native faunal biodiversity but is likely to have negative effects on ecological, social and economic values.

Keywords: apex predators, Canis lupus dingo, free-ranging dogs, human values, mesopredator release hypothesis, reintroduction, threatened species, trophic cascade


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