Rodent outbreaks in New Zealand are strongly driven by resource (food) availability irrespective of the ecosystem. The irregular masting by native southern beech (Nothofagus spp.) and rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) trees causes interannual fluctuations in invasive rodents, primarily house mice (Mus musculus) and kiore (Rattus exulans) in the rare places they occur. Nonsynchronous masting of forest trees precedes increases in ship rat (R. rattus) populations in mixed forests, although these increases are more regular and less intense. In this chapter, we describe the resource drivers of these population irruptions and summarize the conservation impacts caused by the periodic irruptions of rodents in native forests.
|Title of host publication||Rodent Outbreaks|
|Subtitle of host publication||Ecology and Impacts|
|Editors||Grant Singleton, Steve Belmain, Peter Brown, Bill Hardy|
|Place of Publication||Metro Manila, Philippines|
|Publisher||International Rice Research Institute|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|