Targets for weed management in NSW
The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has established 13 statewide targets to guide natural resource management (NRM) in NSW. Four of the targets are designed to protect biodiversity, with one specifically aimed at addressing the impact of invasive pest and weed species: 'By 2015 there is a reduction in the impact of invasive species'. Three indicators have been developed to measure progress towards this target:
Number of new invasive species established
Distribution and abundance of key invasive species (i.e. new and emerging species)
Success of control programs for widespread invasive species as measured by: (i) a reduction in biodiversity impacts; (ii) a reduction in other impacts, e.g. on human health.
Meeting indicators 1 and 2 will require a species-led approach in which new and emerging species are identified and targeted for control. For more information on indicators 1 and 2 see the Industry & Investment NSW (I&I) website.
Meeting the biodiversity component of the third indicator will require a site-led approach where control will be targeted at sites where weed management will result in the greatest benefit to biodiversity. Reducing the impact of widespread weeds will require coordination across a range of state agencies. In particular, the 13 Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) in NSW will play a critical role by ensuring that their control programs have clear biodiversity outcomes.
Establishing statewide priorities
To ensure that weed management delivers biodiversity conservation in NSW, the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) has developed a three-stage approach which involves:
determining which of the 1380 naturalised plant species in NSW pose a threat to biodiversity
identifying what biodiversity is at risk
developing a strategy which aims to deliver on-ground control.
The third stage is achieved through the use of threat abatement plans (TAPs) which aim to reduce the threat to biodiversity from individual weeds and assist in prioritising sites for control. A TAP has been developed for bitou bush and boneseed and a draft plan exists for lantana. While these approaches are effective at a statewide scale they are not so useful at a regional scale or for addressing multiple weed species.
Establishing regional priorities
If the CMAs are to meet the NRC target for invasive species, a set of regional priorities is needed in addition to existing state-level priorities.
The joint DECCW-I&I project aims to work with the 13 CMAs in NSW to establish:
which weeds pose a threat to biodiversity on a regional scale the sites where control will have the greatest impact monitoring systems to show investment in control programs has resulted in progress towards the NRC target.
To assist with this, DECCW and I &I are working on a collaborative venture with each of the CMAs to establish their priorities using a standard procedure.
Establishing regional priorities for control will help direct CMA investment. On-ground control programs funded by the CMAs will need to be long-term if they are to meet the NRC target by 2015. The sites that fall into the highest category for control, mean that they are of the highest biodiversity value and there is the greatest likelihood of achieving effective weed control and a positive biodiversity response. If weed management programs are conducted at these priority sites in each CMA, they would help to reduce the current threat of widespread weeds on native species and ecological communities, as well as increasing their resilience to future threats such as climate change.
The collation and prioritisation of sites is an on-going, dynamic process and is continuing in all CMAs. A final document which outlines the process for establishing regional priorities and the standardised monitoring protocols will help establish the roles and responsibilities of NRM agencies for weed management over the next decade.
Page last updated: 26 February 2011