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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 28(1)

Value for money? Investment in weed management in Australian rangelands

Tara G. Martin A C, Rieks D. van Klinken B

A CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems; Current address: Centre for Applied Conservation Research, Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, 3041-2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
B CSIRO Entomology and CRC for Australian Weed Management, 120 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Qld 4068, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: tara.martin@ubc.ca
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Increased awareness of the threat posed by non-native species to biodiversity and productivity has prompted an unprecedented commitment and investment in weed management activities throughout rangeland Australia. Since the launching of National Weeds Program in 1996 under the first phase of the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), there has been a substantial increase in coordinated and strategic investment in weed management across the rangelands. Almost AU$25 million of Australian Government funding has been invested in projects specifically targeting Weeds of National Significance (WONS) that occur in the rangelands (14 species) and a further AU$56 million on projects conducted in the rangelands that included a weed management component. Substantial funding has also been invested by other levels of government, non-government organisations and landholders. We review this investment in relation to the level of funding, the types of weeds targeted, the range of projects undertaken and the effectiveness of these projects within Australia’s rangelands. Achievements include successful eradications, preventions, early interventions, containments, mitigation of impacts, increased awareness of weed threats and general capacity to respond to weed management issues.

Our review highlights several areas that, if addressed, will result in a substantial increase in the effectiveness of weed management efforts. These include: addressing discrepancies between states/territories in terms of funding and commitment to weed management; resolving conflicts between stakeholders in relation to the cost-benefit of non-native pasture grasses; encouraging projects that consider the broader natural resource management context of weed infestations; encouraging projects that examine weed complexes or the impacts of weeds in habitats with high biodiversity values such as riparian zones; and detecting and controlling weeds in the early stages of establishment. Finally, the collection of baseline information and alignment of reporting schedules with the longer term benefits of weed management projects will allow an assessment of the effectiveness of weed management projects and more strategic allocation of resources in the future.

Keywords: arid landscapes, biodiversity conservation, exotic, non-native, pastoral.

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