U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


A Reassessment of Historical Records of Avian Introductions to Australia: No Case for Propagule Pressure

Date of this Version



Published in Biodiversity and Conservation 21: (2012) pp. 155-174.


Introduced species are widely believed to represent a significant threat to conservation of biological diversity. A better understanding of the ecological factors associated with successful species establishment should lead to improved management and mitigation of these introductions. The "propagule pressure hypothesis", implying a greater chance of successful introduction with greater numbers introduced, has been widley accepted as a principal ecological factor in explaining establishment of exotic species. The historical record of bird introductions in a few locations, including the state of Victoria in Australia, has been advanced as the principal quantitative support for the hypothesis. We compiled lists of bird species introductions into Australia from several sources, and discovered inconsistencies in the records of introduction. In a series of comparisons, we found that the historical record of passerine introductions to Australia does not support the propagule pressure hypothesis unless superfluous introductions of already successful species are included. An additional problem with previous analyses is the inclusion of unsuccessful haphazard cage escapes.