To successfully manage introduced species it is essential to understand how a species will interact in the new environment. We found that a conceptual model, coupled with basic species, environment and event information, could be a useful tool to enhance the understanding and management of invasions.
Is it benign or is it a pariah?
Community concern over the impact of the common myna is growing in Australia, despite a lack of strong scientific evidence for its impacts. We found the effect of the common myna on native bird species in the Canberra area is not benign. However, there are still questions regarding the seriousness of this impact and the type of management (if any) that is warranted.
Drivers and passengers of change
Habitat modification and invasive species are significant drivers of biodiversity decline. The results of this study suggest that the effects of habitat modification and invasive species are interrelated. Many species are strongly influenced by habitat. However, high‐quality habitat for one species may not constitute high‐quality habitat for another species. Given the influence of habitat on species abundance, I suggest that habitat restoration and tree planting may be useful tools to both control common myna abundance and aid native bird species recovery.
Influence of habitat on the impact of introduced species
Due to the strong influence of habitat on species abundance I wanted to investigate if habitat influenced cavity‐nesting competition, between the common myna and native species. I observed a negative relationship between common myna nest box occupancy and crimson rosella abundance at high tree density sites. Therefore, management of the common myna may be more effective in areas that represent ‘high quality’ habitat for native species.
Understanding basic species population dynamics for effective control
Population manipulation of introduced species can be difficult and many widespread eradication or reduction attempts have failed. Research indicated that currently too few mynas are being removed from the Canberra population to effectively reduce population size. This highlights the value of undertaking basic population modelling to assess if potential control measures are capable of achieving desired outcomes.
Due to the strong influence of habitat on species abundance, habitat restoration and tree planting may be useful tools to both control common myna abundance and to aid native bird species recovery. This will not only increase habitat quality for native species (including cavity availability in the longer term), but it is also likely to make the habitat less suitable for the common myna, reducing its abundance. Without restoring habitat and making these areas ‘less suitable’ for the common myna, attempts to control species numbers are only likely to succeed over the short term, with the species reinvading once control actions are eased.