Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Written Submissions Received Volume 2 Issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of Cane Toads October 2003
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Written Submissions Ecological Society of Australia Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 89 SUBMISSION NO. 11 Ecological Society of Australia Dr Craig James President PO Box 1564 CANBERRA ACT 2601 15 May 2003 Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Dear Committee, The Ecological Society of Australia is pleased to submit the attached document to the 'Inquiry into issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of cane toads'. If there are any questions arising from this submission, please direct them to myself, or the Executive Officer, Ms Tanya Howard, at the email addresses listed below. Kind regards, Dr Craig James ESA President EXPECTED IMPACTS Van Dam et al (2000) reviewed the available knowledge of the impacts of cane toads (Bufo marinus) on native fauna. The report demonstrated: 1. Definite impact on the populations of 10 native predator species, including 2 mammals, 3 snakes and 5 varanid lizards. 2. Definite competitive impacts on one lizard and one frog species 3. Probable or possible impacts on an additional 19 fish, 26 frogs, 7 lizards, 13 snakes, 67 birds and 8 native mammals. Van Dam et al (2000) also reported that cane toads would probably impact on snail and leech species, and possibly impact on water beetles and backswimmers. Other groups of invertebrates have been poorly studied, so extensive impacts on other groups cannot be excluded, with the possibility of cascading effects throughout the ecosystem. Of most concern are possible impacts on seed-harvesting ants. Ants are one of the most important components of the cane toad diet. Reductions in the abundance of seedharvesting ants may alter plant community dynamics leading to long-term vegetation changes (Van Dam et al 2000). Furthermore, Ross Alford (James Cook University, personal communication) has suggested that competitive effects may be substantially greater than reported in van
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