Lethal removal is commonly used to reduce the density of invasive-species populations, presuming it reduces population growth rate; the actual effect of lethal removal on the vital rates contributing to population growth, however, is rarely tested. We implemented a manipulative experiment of feral pig (Sus scrofa) populations at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA, to assess the demographic effects of harvest intensity. Using markrecapture data, we estimated annual survival, recruitment, and population growth rates of populations in a moderately harvested area and a heavily harvested area for 200406. Population growth rates did not differ between the populations. The top-ranked model for survival included a harvest intensity effect; model-averaged survival was lower for the heavily harvested population than for the moderately harvested population. Increased immigration and reproduction likely compensated for the increased mortality in the heavily harvested population. We conclude that compensatory responses in feral pig recruitment can limit the success of lethal control efforts. ?? 2009 CSIRO.
Additional publication details
Effect of experimental manipulation on survival and recruitment of feral pigs