New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1982) 5: 29- 35

Exploitation of Brushtail Possum Populations in Theory and Practice

Research Article
M. N. Clout 1
N. D. Barlow 2
  1. Ecology Division, DSIR, Nelson, New Zealand
  2. Agricultural Research Division, MAF, Private Bag, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Recent trends in the New Zealand fur industry, based on introduced brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) include an increasing proportion of small skins and some evidence of declining catch per unit effort, suggesting that populations are being exploited hard. There is a case for considering sustained yield harvesting in non-sensitive habitats. A logistic model is used to estimate the maximum sustainable yield of possums from New Zealand exotic forests. Practical difficulties in controlled harvesting and potential refinements to the simple model are discussed.