Australia's most widespread palm, the Cabbage Tree Palm Livistona australis (R. Br.) Mart. has only a few offshore populations, but one of considerable significance is on Cabbage Tree Island on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. This island is also the principal breeding site of a threatened endemic seabird, the Gould's Petrel Pterodroma leucoptera leucoptera. This paper outlines some of the ecological interactions between this iconic palm and this enigmatic seabird. P. leucoptera nests in rock cavities, under fallen palm leaves, or in hollow fallen palm trunks. It takes to the air by climbing to the top of palms and is sometimes killed by colliding with them. The eradication of the European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus from Cabbage Tree Island in 1997 was undertaken to remove one of the threatening processes endangering P. leucoptera. This action has in turn released the population of L. australis from 91 years of unsustainable grazing pressure, helping to restore the long-term integrity of this, and other, plant species on Cabbage Tree Island.
Ecological interactions between a common palm Livistona australis and a rare seabird on Cabbage Tree Island, Australia
Nicholas Carlile, David Priddel; Ecological interactions between a common palm Livistona australis and a rare seabird on Cabbage Tree Island, Australia. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2012; 36 (1): 120–124. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2012.010
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