12 invasive weeds added to national watch list

Beef Central, 26/04/2012

The Australian Weeds Committee has added 12 invasive weeds to the list of Weeds of National Significance (WoNS).

The WoNS initiative allows the most serious and destructive weeds of the country to be managed under a nationally-coordinated strategy that is designed to restrict their spread and reduce the impact of current infestations.

The 12 newly declared weeds are:

  • African boxthorn
  • asparagus weeds
  • bellyache bush
  • brooms
  • cat's claw creeper
  • fireweed
  • gamba grass
  • Madeira vine
  • opuntioid cacti
  • sagittaria
  • silverleaf nightshade
  • water hyacinth.

The additions brings the total number of weeds targeted by the program to 32.

Weeds are selected for the initiative based on their economic, environmental and social impacts and potential to spread.

Australian Weeds Committee chair and Queensland’s Chief Biosecurity Officer, Dr Jim Thompson, said national coordination ensured that on-the-ground activities and research was focused on priority weeds.

NSW Department of Primary Industries Manager Invasive Species, Scott Charlton said weeds did not respect state boundaries, which was why it was critical for states to work together to manage emerging risks.

Mr Charlton said the success in limiting the spread of the highly invase Parthenium weed was one of example of the difference the NoWS program has made since being introduced in 1999.

Queensland will lead the national strategy for three of the newly-added weeds – gamba grass, cat's claw creeper and Madeira vine.

Gamba grass is a highly invasive weed with infestations present in Cape York, coastal north Queensland and other areas of tropical savannah of Northern Australia.  Infestations increase fire intensity up to eight-fold and cause a decline in the diversity and abundance of native wildlife.

Cat's claw creeper and Madeira vine were both introduced as garden plants and have spread throughout the coastal regions throughout eastern Australia.

“These weeds cause serious impacts to rainforest areas and the vegetation along rivers and creek lines,” Dr Thompson said.

“In particular, the weight of the Madeira vines can destroy adult native trees and understorey plants, devastating natural habitat and leading to erosion and water quality issues.”

Drafts of these national strategies will be available for public comment from mid-May.

For more information on Weeds of National Significancecan be found by clicking here


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