Ecological restoration of Browse Island Nature Reserve
Browse Island is a small (~17 ha) island situated 175 km off the Kimberley coast, WA. The island was once labelled the “jewel in the crown” of seabird islands off the Kimberley coast, and was described in 1865 as having “…been appropriated by millions of the feathered tribe, whose eggs lie scattered thickly over every available part of the islet". However, it was devastated by the activities of guano miners (1872 to 1887). The island’s seabird colonies were destroyed at this time and the landform was heavily impacted by these events. Over a century later, manageable threats, notably the presence of an introduced rodent (Asian House Mouse), invasive weeds and low level but persistent poaching, continue to impact on the biodiversity values of the island.
An ecological restoration program at Browse Island would remove these pervasive threats, secure significant turtle rookeries and promote the return of breeding seabirds. In turn, these actions would enhance the regional resilience of seabird and turtle populations. A Browse Island restoration program would also engage local communities, including traditional owner groups. This work would also serve as a model for future island restoration programs such as those that seek to remove invasive species at Ashmore Reef and Adele Island, elsewhere in the Browse Basin. Further details can be found here.