The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Weeds of Australian rangelands

Tara G. Martin A B E , Shane Campbell C D and Simone Grounds A

A CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, 306 Carmody Road, St Lucia, Qld 4067, Australia.

B Current address: Centre for Applied Conservation Research, Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, 3041-2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

C Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Water, Charter Towers, Qld 4820, Australia.

D Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management, PMB 1, Waite Campus, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: Tara.Martin@ubc.ca

The Rangeland Journal 28(1) 3-26 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ06017
Submitted: 8 February 2006  Accepted: 31 March 2006   Published: 29 May 2006

Abstract

Despite recognition that non-native plant species represent a substantial risk to natural systems, there is currently no compilation of weeds that impact on the biodiversity of the rangelands within Australia. Using published and expert knowledge, this paper presents a list of 622 non-native naturalised species known to occur within the rangelands. Of these, 160 species (26%) are considered a current threat to rangeland biodiversity. Most of these plant species have been deliberately introduced for forage or other commercial use (e.g. nursery trade). Among growth forms, shrubs and perennial grasses comprise over 50% of species that pose the greatest risk to rangeland biodiversity. We identify regions within the rangelands containing both high biodiversity values and a high proportion of weeds and recommend these areas as priorities for weed management. Finally, we examine the resources available for weed detection and identification since detecting weeds in the early stages of invasion is the most cost effective method of reducing further impact.

Additional keywords: biodiversity impact, exotic, management, non-native, pastoral.


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