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Peter Sweetapple

Researcher - Wildlife Ecologist
Wildlife Ecology & Management
Peter Sweetapple
Contact Peter

Research interests

Role at Landcare Research

Wildlife Ecologist, Wildlife Ecology and Epidemiology Team, Lincoln.

Research interests

  • Impacts of possums on forest ecosystems
  • Impacts of ungulates on forest understoreys
  • Methods of assessment of ungulate impacts in forests
  • Mitigation of impacts on forests following animal control
  • Possum diet in forest ecosystems
  • Rat diet and ecology in forests
  • Mammalian pest interactions in forests
  • Mammalian pest monitoring in natural ecosystems

Professional affiliations / recognition.

1985 Commonwealth Forestry Bureau Book Prize (undergraduate prize for academic achievement)

New Zealand Institute of Foresters Schlich Memorial Prize (undergraduate prize for academic achievement)


New Zealand Ecological Society

Recent publications

Nugent, G.; Morgan, D.; Sweetapple, P.; Warburton, B. (in press): Developing strategy and tools for the local elimination of multiple pest species. Proceedings of the Invasive Species conference, USA.

Sweetapple, P.; Nugent, G. 2007: Ship rat demography and diet following possum control in a mixed podocarp-hardwood forest. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 31: 186–201.

Sweetapple, P.; Nugent, G.; Poutu, N.; Horton, P. 2006: Effect of reduced possum density on rodent and stoat abundance in podocarp-hardwood forests. DOC Research & Development Series 231. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Sweetapple, P.J.; Nugent, G. 2004: Seedling ratios: a simple method for assessing ungulate impacts on forest understories. Wildlife Society Bulletin32: 137–146.

Sweetapple, P.J.; Fraser, K.W.; Knightbridge, P.I. 2004: Diet and impacts of brushtail possum populations across an invasion front in South Westland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 28: 19–33.

Sweetapple, P.J. 2003: Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) diet in a mast and non-mast seed year in a New Zealand Nothofagus forest. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 27: 157–167.


BSc (Hons) Forestry


Sweetapple PJ, Nugent G, Whitford J, Latham MC, Pekelharing K 2016. Long-term response of temperate canopy trees to removal of browsing from an invasive arboreal herbivore in New Zealand. Austral Ecology 41(5): 538–548.

Ruscoe WA, Sweetapple PJ, Perry M, Duncan RP 2013. Effects of spatially extensive control of invasive rats on abundance of native invertebrates in mainland New Zealand forests. Conservation biology 27(1): 74-82.

Glen AS, Byrom AE, Pech RP, Cruz J, Schwab A, Sweetapple PJ, Yockney I, Nugent G, Coleman M, Whitford J 2012. Ecology of brushtail possums in a New Zealand dryland ecosystem. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 36(1): 29-37.

Sweetapple P, Nugent G 2011. Reliable mop-up of surviving pests: a more cost-effective and fail-safe approach to local extirpation. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 35(2): 193.

Sweetapple P, Nugent G 2011. Chew-track-cards: a multiple species small mammal detection device. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 35(2): 153-162.

Ruscoe WA, Ramsey DSL, Pech RP, Sweetapple PJ, Yockney I, Barron MC, Perry M, Nugent G, Carran R, Warne R, Brausch C, Duncan RP 2011. Unexpected consequences of control: competitive vs. predator release in a four-species assemblage of invasive mammals. Ecology letters 14(10): 1035-1042.

Nugent G, Warburton B, Thomson C, Sweetapple P, Ruscoe WA 2011. Effect of prefeeding, sowing rate and sowing pattern on efficacy of aerial 1080 poisoning of small-mammal pests in New Zealand. Wildlife Research 38(3): 249-259. WOS:000292686300009

Ruscoe WA, Sweetapple P, Pech R, Barron M, Ramsey D, Tompkins D, Byrom A 2010. [Abstract] Interactions among invasive mammals in a New Zealand forest ecosystem : a large-scale manipulative experiment Proceedings: Biodiversity : 2010 and beyond : programme and abstracts, University of Otago, Dunedin, 22-25 November 2010. Pp. 15.

Barron M, Ruscoe W, Sweetapple P, Perry M, Carran R 2010. [Abstract] Possum population dynamics in mixed podocarp forests. Proceedings: AWMS Conference 2010, Torquay, Vic., 1-3 December, 2010.

Nugent G, Sweetapple P, Whitford J 2010. [Abstract] Chew cards for detection and mop-up of survivors and establishing proof of freedom from Tb. Proceedings: 2010 NPCA Technology Transfer Conference, Wellington, 24-25 November, 2010. Pp. 6-7.

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