Stop weeds & pest animals from invading our parks
Weeds are plants that grow in the wrong place. They take over bushland areas, replacing native plants by depriving them of light and nutrients.
So how do they get into national parks? Wherever people build houses, roads, sewage systems, factories and farms, weeds tend to follow. Urban stormwater runs into native bushland, putting unnecessary nutrients and moisture into the soil. Meanwhile, bushfires are often less frequent around built-up areas, so native plant communities can't regenerate themselves properly. All this makes it easier for weeds to grow.
Weeds spread into the bush on airborne seeds, or down waterways, or through birds and other animals. Sometimes people even help weeds to invade native environments, by dumping their garden refuse (which contains weeds) into the bush. Once they've become established, weeds are very difficult to remove from an area.
Wherever you live, there are a few simple things you can do to stop the spread of weeds:
- Don't dump weeds, prunings or grass clippings in the bush - they introduce new weeds and allow established weeds to spread further. Shred and compost garden weeds instead.
- Keep weeds out of the waterways. Don't sweep or hose garden waste down the drain - it only ends up in our rivers, which can become clogged with exotic vegetation.
- Grow natives, rather than introduced plants, in your garden. Popular flowers like nasturtium, lantana, honeysuckle, morning glory and black-eyed susan can all spread easily into native bushland. Other garden plants are equally dangerous.
- Protect open spaces, both on your property and in public places. Keep these places weed free, and stop soil erosion by encouraging native plants to grow there.
Many animal species have been introduced into Australia from other countries. In some cases, they have had a devastating impact on native plants and animals.
Some pests, like foxes, cats and dogs, prey on native animals, such as small mammals and lizards. Other pests - particularly rabbits, rats, mice and European honey-bees - compete with Australian wildlife for food, and have negative impacts on native vegetation.
You can help to reduce the impact of introduced animals on native environments by following these simple tips:
- Keep your cat or dog indoors at dawn, dusk and night. Native animals are most vulnerable to attack at these times, when they do most of their feeding.
- Attach loud bells to your pet's collar, to warn wildlife when they are around.
- Make sure pet cats are desexed. Large numbers of feral cats already live in bushland areas, preying on native animals.
- Pets are not allowed in national parks and other conservation reserves (find out why below). Please keep them out.
- Give lizards and small marsupials a refuge from cats and dogs, by placing terracotta pipes and piles of stones around your garden.
- If you own a large property, fence off bush corridors for wildlife so they can safely move through cleared areas.
Learn more about weeds and pest animals
Find out why pets are not allowed in national parks
Page last updated: 27 February 2011