In New Zealand, ship rats (Rattus rattus) have been implicated in many extinctions, declines, and range contractions of native birds, so ship rats are an important target of predator control. The outcomes of ship rat control operations are difficult to predict due to other factors which affect rat populations including altitude, Nothofagus seedfall, and control of other mammalian pests, particularly brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and stoats (Mustela erminea).
New Zealand forests have been and are shaped by a suite of disturbance types that vary in both their spatial extent and frequency of recurrence. Post-disturbance forest dynamics can be complex, non-linear, and involve multiple potential pathways depending on the nature of a perturbation, site conditions, and history. To capture the full range of spatial and temporal dynamics that shape forest ecosystems in a given area, we need to use and synthesise data sources that collectively capture all the relevant space-time scales.
There is a lack of information about how elevation affects the distribution of ship rats in New Zealand. In this study, ship rats (Rattus rattus) were captured in traps set along a 2 km elevational transect (455–1585 m a.s.l.) in beech (Nothofagaceae) forest and adjacent alpine tussock at Mt Misery, in Nelson Lakes National Park, from 1974 to 1993. A total of 118 rats were captured.
Introduced common wasps (Vespula vulgaris) are widespread, abundant pests in New Zealand. They compete for food with native birds and feed on native invertebrates. We poisoned wasps annually over 4 years to see if it was possible to reduce their abundance in two 30-ha beech forest sites. Two different poisons (sodium monofluoroacetate and sulfluramid) were used, mixed with sardine catfood. There was no evidence that one poison was more effective than the other.