Weeds in Australia

Managing weeds

Early detection and eradication

Even the best weed prevention efforts may not stop all introductions. Early detection of invasions and quick, coordinated responses are needed to eradicate or contain species before they become too widespread and control becomes technically and/or financially impossible. Weed populations that are not addressed early may require costly ongoing control efforts.

All land managers, communities, research institutions, and all levels of government have a role in the early detection and eradication of weeds.

We need to be aware of new infestations and report potential new weeds or new outbreaks to your local council, or your state or territory weed management agencies.

Once a newly-discovered weed is identified, experts can assess the infestation and determine the most appropriate early response method. The aim of eradication is to eliminate a species or number of species from an area.

Once control action has been undertaken to eradicate or contain a weed, the source of the original infestation continues to pose a risk. It is important to identify any continuing entry source or spread pathway of the weed, and understand why it has infested the area in the first place. Many weeds produce seeds that are able to survive for decades in the soil, awaiting the best opportunity to sprout, therefore we need to be vigilant to prevent further infestations.

Total eradication of large infestations of environmental weeds is very difficult, if not impossible, and expensive. In some cases there are rules that restrict the intentional movement of or trade in specific plants.

A number of lists have been created that identify plants of particular concern or plants that have been through an assessment process. These lists can inform us of particular types of management practices for particular species, and some are part of legislation to help ensure their control or prevent trade.