- Published on Friday, 09 September 2005 08:00
Management of environmental weeds in Western Australia is one of the major management issues requiring action if we are to protect our natural environments for future generations. Competition from weeds is a major process affecting threatened flora and threatened ecological communities. Many critically endangered plants have populations restricted to small, disturbed areas (e.g. remnant vegetation on private property and road verges). These are particularly vulnerable to invasion by environmental weeds and will receive priority for weed control, particularly through the implementation of recovery plans developed by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
Environmental weeds are plants that establish themselves in natural ecosystems and proceed to modify natural processes, usually adversely resulting in the decline of communities they invade. Many environmental weeds are successfully invading Western Australian ecosystems. Some of these weed species are having a significant impact on biological diversity at genetic, species and community levels. More work is needed to understand the reasons for the recent explosion of many weeds and the impacts weeds have at the ecosystem level. Research is vital to increase understanding in these areas to enable strategic management approaches.
The Environmental Weed Strategy for Western Australia (EWSWA) was funded through the Natural Heritage Trust and was prepared by consultants and a Steering Committee comprised of various government agencies and community groups concerned with environmental weed management.
The strategy itself is still considered relevant but Appendix 3, the "List of Environmental Weed Species of Actual and Potential Significance in WA" is out dated.
In an effort to progress this strategy, update the weed ratings and implement an integrated approach to weed management in WA, the Invasive Plant Prioritisation Process for DEC was developed. This process was based on the Environmental Weed Census and Prioritisation, Swan NRM Region project developed by Karen Bettink and Greg Keighery (2008). A focus of the process is to consider both: 1) a "species-led"; and 2) a "site-led" or "asset based approach" to control the threat of environmental weeds within WA.
Species-led invasive plant prioritisation workshops have been held in all nine DEC regions. Further information on the process undertaken and the resulting DEC regional weed assessments can be found on the Invasive Plant Prioritisation Process for DEC page. This information has been published in an effort to assist other landholders, community groups and private enterprise in their management of weeds which may impact on the natural environment. Please note: the prioritisation results for individual weeds within a DEC region should be utilised as a guide only by external stakeholders. It is anticipated that these lists will be reviewed at least biennially to ensure accuracy of these assessments.
The threat and risk posed to biodiversity values will differ depending on the unique characteristics of each site and associated land management practice or operation and this means priorities will need to be adjusted accordingly. As mentioned, a future project aims to consider an asset based approach to invasive plant prioritisation.
- Environmental Weed Strategy for Western Australia (pdf, 288kb)