Environmental weeds are vigorous plants from other countries, states or areas that take over bushland and forest, smothering and out-competing local native plants. Most native animals and birds depend on our local plants and are part of complex ecosystems. As ecosystems are affected by weed invasion we lose our animals too. In addition most weed bulbs and grasses present a greater fire hazard than our own plants, and this increases the risk to both us and our environment. Australia spends more than $3 billion on weed control each year and new weeds are becoming problems every day.
Some of our most problematic weeds are native plants from other parts of Australia. Eastern states acacias (wattles) are often larger than most local plants and they act as a transformer weed species by adding nutrients to the soil and shading out local species. Once the nutrient load of the soil has been altered it becomes difficult for local species to regain a foothold, so altering the ecological community.
Over 65% of the weeds threatening our bushland and forests are escaped garden plants. You can help conserve the amazing biodiversity and beauty of our region by:
- Carefully choosing garden plants which are unlikely to become weeds in this area, or choose local alternatives for planting in the garden setting.
- Check existing garden plants are safe. Any introduced plant that grows vigorously or reproduces easily is potential weed.
- Remove weedy plants.
- Dispose of garden waste carefully. Never dump garden waste into bush or reserves.
Like weed species, feral animals have been introduced to the area, have few predators and cause a reduction in native animal numbers through a variety of mechanisms.
Predation on native animals: Foxes, cats and dogs predate on small mammals, birds, reptiles frogs and insects.
Disturbance of native vegetation: Rabbits graze on understory species and reduce the regeneration of native plant species, depriving native animal species of habitat and food. Pigs disturb understory areas, particularly in waterways and wetlands, they degrade native habitats, causing erosion and weed invasion.
Displacement of native species: Aquatic species such as goldfish, carp, yabbies and mosquito fish out-compete local native species for habitat and food. They are excellent breeders and can transform the ecology of these delicate systems.