Weeds- A background
A weed can be described as any plant growing out of place and can be both a symptom and a cause of land degradation.
Weeds can impact negatively on land users and land managers through the effect they may have on environmental, cultural, social or economic values placed on the land. Weeds can outcompete native species and change the ecological composition of a landscape, including the wildlife that various plant species support within ecosystems.
To make it easier to understand different species and their threats, weeds are categorised by the weeds branch as class A, B or C-
Class A – To be eradicated in all areas of the NT.
Class B- Growth and spread to be controlled
Class C- not to be introduced.
Each state has different weeds of concern and different categories.
Of particular significance in northern Australia are non- native grass species which are thicker and higher than native species, drying to become a higher fuel load. These then become a huge fire risk to the landscape, as these grasses burn with greater intensity and do not allow younger native species to survive, leading to a lack of recruitment and populations of native tree and shrub species (and their reliant wildlife) to die out. The major species of concern in the Top End is Gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus), which has been declared as a weed of national significance and a new management plan for the whole region has come out (effective from April 2014) For a copy of it click here.
Above the height of Gamba grass is demonstrated- far taller and more robust than any native grasses. Mission grass is also of concern and disrupts the fire regime and outcompetes other grasses.
Aquatic Weeds- Other species of significance are water weeds that choke water ways and compete with native aquatic species.
Click the photo below to download the photo ID chart as a PDF and click here to go to the full list on the Weeds Branch website.
For a full list and more information, The weeds Management Branch website is useful. The Branch provides landholders with best practice management information that:
- promotes effective and cost efficient to integrated weed control;
- assists with identification, survey and mapping of weeds; and
- enables the development of weed management plans to eradicate or control weeds
Weed management includes the eradication and prevention of weed species. As a land manager, weed management can be a major issue, not made easier if neighbouring properties are not dealing with their weeds species and spread. There is legislation in relation to weeds and the weeds branch can be contacted to address this issues. Click the photo below for the link to the full management plan document.
Greening Australia and the Weeds Branch can assist with the identification of weeds and have many fact sheets and information. Below are some great publications that may also help!
You can read the Weed Management section of the “Bush Book”, published by Greening Australia, with some great case studies by clicking this link-Weed management from GREENING BUSH BOOK
Weeds of Northern Australia, A field Guide. Available at Environment Centre NT, or Greening Australia ($25) is a good weed guide.
This Weed ID deck is a fantastic quick ID book, small with waterproof pages! There is a regular version and a smaller ‘tackle box’ version. You can get a copy either at the Greening Australia office (Knuckeys Lagoon) or at the Weeds branch. (Palmerstone). You can download the parts of it from the Weeds Branch Website, publication section.
There is an assistance program for Gamba grass management, Chinee Apple management and Bellyache bush.
The gamba grass assistance program provides advice and free chemical and spray units. Click the poster below for more information. Some detailed information on Gamba grass and its effects can also be found here, on the Northern Land Manager Website.
Neighbouring properties and weed management
Absent neighbours could be private landlords but also Vacant Crown Land or Council Land and reserve On Litchfield Council Land. These departments have stretched resources, but if a weed issue is pointed out and they are made aware that you are trying hard to manage your property for wildlife, they will try and send a ground team.
On Litchfield Council Land- Toni Cameron Toni.Cameron@litchfield.nt.gov.au
On Commalie Council land- Front office (08) 8976 0058
On Vacant Crown Land – Tomoko Okazaki firstname.lastname@example.org
Or contact Land for Wildlife email@example.com 08 89473793