Finding and filling the gaps
Why populate Australia with dung beetles?
Dung beetles are the quiet achievers of our ecosystem.
Their industrious work burying livestock manure benefits everyone.
Livestock producers alone could potentially unlock soil nutrients and carbon from the 80 million tonnes of dung produced each year.
This project will investigate and rear new and existing species of introduced dung beetles that are well-adapted to Australian conditions.
Dung beetle benefits
Fewer greenhouse gas and nitrogen emissions from animal production
Less nutrient run-off
Better soil from nutrient recycling aeration, carbon sequestration and storage, deep profile water storage and reduced bulk density
More holes in the soil mean more earthworm activity and more soil microbiota including pasture plant symbiotic mycorrhizal spores
Reduced livestock gut worm infection and chemical costs
New monitoring sites
Dung beetle species differ in their preferred soil types, climate and months of activity, so a major focus of the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers (DBEE) program is finding and filling population gaps. By stitching together previous surveys, sightings and studies, then supplementing with more than 120 new monitoring sites, we will better understand the abundance, spread and activity of our current beetle workforce.
The project will import three to four new beetles species for mass rearing and release and set up pathways for future importations.
Scientists and stakeholders will identify areas around southern Australia that currently lack sufficient dung beetle activity and tackle the task of filling those niches. In some cases it will be with more beetles and in others it will be more species as well.
Over the coming months we will have more stories on monitoring sites and what we are finding.