Issue 9
Monday, 19 June 2017
Charles Darwin University
Amélie Corriveau is working to find out more about the impacts of Magpie Geese on fruit farms
Amélie Corriveau is working to find out more about the impacts of Magpie Geese on fruit farms

Research to help solve mango industry issues

By Leanne Miles

Researchers have shared some updates and possible solutions to thwart the ongoing issue of the impacts of Magpie Geese on Northern Territory fruit farms with growers and industry partners.

PhD candidate Amélie Corriveau and Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Dr Hamish Campbell recently met with local growers as part of an industry meeting in Acacia Hills, near Darwin.

“Over the past decade, mango growers in the greater Darwin area have reported Magpie Geese gathering in ever-increasing numbers on their orchards and causing damage to fruits, trees and irrigation equipment,” Amélie said.

She said that anecdotal observations suggested that Magpie Geese may be favouring mango orchards over other natural habitats, with farmers reporting geese arriving on orchards earlier and departing later each year.

“It was an opportunity to share the data from our first field season and preliminary results of my research, which aims to assess the movements, habitat use, and food resources of the Magpie Goose in an agricultural landscape of the NT,” she said.

Amélie will continue to work closely with local farmers and the NT Field and Game Association this coming mango season to develop new methods for reducing the impact of Magpie Geese on mango orchards.

“Using high-resolution satellite tracking technologies and genetic analyses, we are assessing how Magpie Geese move within and between mango orchards and surrounding habitats, and identify the environmental drivers of movement and habitat selection,” she said.

“This will give us the baseline knowledge to inform farmers how they may reduce the occurrence of Magpie Geese on mango orchards at both the local and regional scale.”

Through her research Amélie hopes to help create solutions to enable the co-existence of this native species and the agriculture industry across northern Australia.

“Floodplains, wetlands and native bush land of the Top End are natural breeding, feeding and roosting habitats for Magpie Geese, hosting a large population of more than one million birds,” she said. “With an increased push to develop the north it is vital that we come up with sustainable management solutions for this ongoing concern.”

This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the mango research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government. It is conducted in collaboration with the Northern Territory Government (Department of Primary Industries and Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Parks and Wildlife, Territory Wildlife Park), the NT Farmers Association, the Australian Mango Industry Association, and the NT Field and Game Association.

Amélie also recently attended the 11th Australian Mango Conference in Bowen, Queensland.