Not only to invasive rat species damage wildlife population, they are devastating to the biodiversity of plant life as well. But it does not take long for the plants and other life to bounce back.

In a multi-year study, scientists found that tree seedlings were more than 5,000 percent more abundant after rats were eradicated from Palmyra Atoll, a group of 25 small islands in the Pacific Ocean. Invasive rats, brought by ships over the past few centuries, eat tree seedlings and vegetation, in addition to driving down seabird numbers. Managers eradicated the islands’ rats in 2011, and within a month, seedling densities had increased. Plant numbers have surged in a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean following the eradication of invasive rats that gobbled up seeds and gnawed away at vegetation, a new study has found. The findings demonstrate the resilience of natural ecosystems, Alex Wegmann, an ecologist with The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii and director of the group’s Palmyra program, said in a statement . “In an age of well-founded concern about the environment,” Wegmann said, “Palmyra Atoll’s response to the eradication of introduced rats reminds us of the resilience of intact ecosystems and gives us hope for a better tomorrow.” A new tree sprouts in the Palmyra Atoll. Image by Abram Fleishman/Island Conservation. Scientists know that merely removing rats from the islands they’ve infiltrated, mostly as stowaways from visiting ships […]

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