What are weeds?
There are over 1,600 plant species that have been identified as weeds in New South Wales. A weed is a plant growing where it is not wanted. Weeds can move into ecosystems where they have not previously existed and typically grow and reproduce rapidly. Weeds are invasive plants and are most often introduced species.
Weeds can thrive and persist in many different environments, from urban and rural areas to deserts, bushland, alpine, coastal and ocean habitats.
Why are weeds a problem?
Weeds pose a serious threat to our environment and farming industries. They can harm native plants and animals, natural landscapes, water catchments and agriculture and can impact the economy, human health and recreational activities.
Environmental weeds threaten the biodiversity of our native plants and animals by:
- reducing the diversity and abundance of native species
- upsetting the balance of natural ecosystems.
Weeds compete with native plant species for nutrients, water, sunlight and space. They can form dense areas of vegetation that shade and smother native species and may alter key environmental events such as the frequency of fire. This can threaten both native plants and the animals that rely on them for food and shelter.
Weed infestations can also reduce the aesthetic appeal of our natural environment for public recreation and appreciation and impact production land where they may reduce agricultural output.