Sidney Island Ecosystem Restoration Project, British Columbia, Canada
Sidney Island, located at the southern end of the Gulf Islands archipelago, between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, is often referred to as “The Jewel of the Gulf.”
Non-native European fallow deer were introduced to Sidney Island approximately 70 years ago. Since that time, their numbers have escalated and they are now recognized as a serious threat to the island’s native plants and animals. Browsing and grazing pressure by this invasive species can also have cascading effects on the ecosystem by reducing habitat and food availability for forest birds and insects thereby reducing these groups in terms of species diversity and abundance.
Based on the negative impacts of the introduced fallow deer Coastal Conservation is currently working with Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and the private landowners on Sidney to investigate the feasibility of removing this non-native invasive species from the island.
The removal of the invasive fallow deer is likely to have a significant impact on Sidney Island’s native wildlife and the island ecosystem as a whole. Potential positive responses include but are not limited to:
- Reestablishment of native plants and plant communities, including increases in forest vegetation cover and recruitment;
- Increased songbird abundance, species richness, and breeding, especially for forest-dwelling birds;
- Increased abundance and breeding success of forest-dwelling avian raptors such as accipiters, falcons, and owls;
- Increases in native small mammal presence/abundance and consequent increases in species preying on them (e.g. birds of prey);
- Increased insect abundance and species richness;
- Increased native amphibian abundance (Pacific tree frog);
- Increased native reptile abundance (Northwestern Garter Snake, Western Garter Snake); and
- Restoration of ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling and disturbance regimes.
A feasibility plan has been developed that explores the options of fallow deer management on Sidney Island.
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Coastal Conservation is comprised of staff and technical advisors with significant expertise in biological systems and invasive species eradications around the world.Read More