Dave  Forsyth

Research interests

  • Biological invasions
  • Wildlife management
  • Deer ecology and management
  • Macropod ecology and management
  • Herbivory


Dave Forsyth has over 20 years experience in wildlife management and research. He has conducted a variety of long-term field projects in Australia and New Zealand, focusing on understanding how plant communities respond to the management of overabundant herbivores such as deer and rabbits. This has often required the development of new monitoring and analysis methods. Dave has also contributed to the understanding of large herbivore population dynamics through field and modelling projects.

Prior to joining the Vertebrate Pest Research Unit in June 2016, Dave led the Wildlife Management Program at the Victorian Government’s Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research. There he supervised projects investigating the distributions, abundances and impacts of deer and other overabundant wildlife species. Dave has been contracted to provide research and technical advice to a variety of state, national and international agencies, and was seconded to the New Zealand Department of Conservation for six months in 2013.


  • BSc. (First Class Hons.) University of Canterbury, New Zealand (1993)
  • PhD. Lincoln University, New Zealand (1998)
  • Large-scale monitoring and reporting of vertebrate pest occupancy and abundance
  • Efficacy of deer impact management actions
  • Humane wildlife management techniques
  • Kangaroo population dynamics

Current projects

  • Large-scale monitoring and reporting of vertebrate pest occupancy and abundance
  • Efficacy of deer impact management actions
  • Humane wildlife management techniques
  • Kangaroo population dynamics

Recent publications

Davis, NE, Bennett A, Forsyth DM, Bowman DMJS, Wood SW, Lefroy EC, Woolnough AP, West P, Hampton JO, Johnson CN (In Press) A systematic review of the impacts and management of introduced deer (Family: Cervidae) in Australia. Wildlife Research.

Cruz, J.; Thomson, T.; Parkes, J.P.; Gruner, I.; Forsyth DM (In Press) Long-term impacts of an introduced ungulate in native grasslands: Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Biological Invasions.

Forsyth DM, Allen RB, Allen RKJ, Affeld K, MacKenzie DI (2016) Soil phosphorous predicts feral pig (Sus scrofa) occupancy, detection probability and feeding activity in a temperate montane rainforest. Wildlife Research 43, 277–287.

Hampton JO, Forsyth DM (2016) An assessment of animal welfare for the culling of peri-urban kangaroos. Wildlife Research 43, 261–266.

Forsyth DM, Scroggie MP, Arthur AD, Lindeman M, Ramsey DSL, McPhee SR, Bloomfield T, Stuart IG (2015) Density-dependent effects of a widespread invasive herbivore on tree survival and biomass during reforestation. Ecosphere 6(4):71.

Forsyth DM, Wilson DJ, Easdale T, Kunstler G, Canham CD, Ruscoe WA, Wright EF, Murphy L, Gormley A, Gaxiola A, Coomes DA (2015) Century-scale effects of invasive deer and rodents on the dynamics of forests growing on soils of contrasting fertility. Ecological Monographs 85, 157–180.

Glass G, Forsyth DM, Coulson G, Festa-Bianchet M (2015) Precision, accuracy and bias of walked line transect distance sampling to estimate eastern grey kangaroo population size. Wildlife Research 42, 633–641.

Nimmo DG, Watson SJ, Forsyth DM, Bradshaw CJA (2015) Dingoes can help conserve wildlife and our methods can tell. Journal of Applied Ecology 52, 281–285.

Forsyth DM, Woodford L, Moloney PD, Hampton JO, Woolnough AP, Tucker M (2014) How does a carnivore guild utilise a substantial but unpredictable anthropogenic food source? Scavenging on hunter-shot ungulate carcasses by wild dogs/dingoes, red foxes and feral cats in south-eastern Australia revealed by camera traps. PLoS ONE 9(6): e97937

Robley A, Gormley AM, Forsyth DM, Triggs B (2014) Long-term and large-scale control of the introduced red fox increases small native mammal occupancy in Australian forests. Biological Conservation 180, 262–269.

Choquenot D, Forsyth DM (2013) Exploitation ecosystems and trophic cascades in non-equilibrium systems: pasture – red kangaroo – dingo interactions in arid Australia. Oikos 122, 1292–1306.

Forsyth DM (2011) Grazers. In ‘Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions’, pp 290–294 (Eds. D. Simberloff and M. Rejm├ínek.) University of California Press, Berkeley.

Gormley AM, Forsyth DM, Griffioen P, Lindeman M, Ramsey DSL, Scroggie MP, Woodford L (2011) Using presence-only and presence-absence data to estimate the current and potential distributions of established invasive species. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 25–34.

Forsyth DM, Allen RB, Marburg AE, MacKenzie DI, Douglas MJW (2010) Population dynamics and resource use of red deer following release from harvesting in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34, 277–287.

Hone J, Duncan RP, Forsyth DM (2010) Estimates of maximum annual population growth rates (rm) of mammals and their application in wildlife management. Journal of Applied Ecology 47, 507–514.

Forsyth DM, Parkes JP, Woolnough AP, Pickles G, Collins M, Gordon I (2009) Environmental and economic factors determine the number of feral goats commercially harvested in Western Australia. Journal of Applied Ecology 46, 101–109.

Todd CR, Forsyth DM, Choquenot D (2008) Modelling the effects of fertility control on koala-forest dynamics. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 568–578.

Forsyth DM, Barker RJ, Morriss G, Scroggie MP (2007) Modeling the relationship between fecal pellet indices and deer density. Journal of Wildlife Management 71, 964–970.


Scopus Author ID: 7103224675

Scholar Profile:

Professional associations and activities

  • Past President of Australasian Wildlife Management Society (2006-2008)
  • Associate Editor of The Journal of Wildlife Management (2004-2014)
  • Senior Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne (2007-)
  • 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
  • 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
  • 050206 Environmental Monitoring
  • 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
  • 060208 Terrestrial Ecology

Fields of research

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Wildlife management
  • Pest animal control