Bitou bush threat abatement plan

The Bitou TAP guides management practices to reduce the impact of bitou bush and boneseed on threatened species, populations and ecological communities.

The NSW Bitou Bush and Boneseed Threat Abatement Plan (Bitou TAP) was prepared by the Office of the Environment and Heritage, then Department of Environment and Heritage, under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and released by the NSW Environment Minister in 2006. This Act was replaced by the Biodiversity Conservation Act in 2017.

The National bitou bush and boneseed strategic plan 2012–2017 (National Strategy 2012–2017) outlines the bitou bush and boneseed management strategy with the aim of reducing the impact on Australia’s native biodiversity. The NSW Bitou TAP complements the national strategy.

The Bitou TAP was reviewed by the Office of Environment and Heritage in 2011 and should be consulted when implementing the TAP. The Bitou TAP Review assessed the implementation of the Bitou TAP objectives and concluded that the Bitou TAP did not need to be revised.

Implementing the Threat Abatement Plan

The Bitou TAP is designed to be implemented on both public and privately owned land in New South Wales.

Under the Bitou TAP, bitou bush control in New South Wales is directed to priority sites where management is most likely to protect those native plant communities at the greatest risk from bitou bush. This is achieved through:

  • collaborative control programs
  • improved bitou bush management
  • monitoring of control programs
  • identification of knowledge gaps
  • community education and engagement.

The Bitou TAP identifies priorities for collaborative bitou bush control across public and private land in New South Wales. Other agencies and groups that assist in controlling bitou bush at priority sites include: 

  • National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)
  • Local Land Services
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • local government
  • community groups
  • Aboriginal groups
  • bush regenerators.

Control is aimed at protecting the 157 plant species, 3 plant populations and 24 ecological communities identified as threatened by bitou bush invasion. The Bitou TAP also identifies 24 native animal species that are potentially threatened by the spread of bitou bush.

To protect this biodiversity, control is focused on:

  • 169 priority sites, where management of bitou bush is critical for the survival of the species, populations and ecological communities most at risk
  • northern and southern containment zones, which have been established to help halt the spread of bitou bush and reduce future impacts to native species. 

Visit the Weeds of National Significance website for more information on the NSW national resource management (NRMs) regions, national priority actions and maps showing containment lines in New South Wales.

Actions to control bitou bush on priority sites must be carefully planned to protect the native species at risk. To help with this planning, the Bitou TAP explains how to prepare site-specific management plans, following a staged approach. If these management plans are followed, bitou bush control will be consistent with the aims of the TAP.

A site-specific management plan helps:

  • target control to protecting priority plant species, populations and communities at risk
  • develop and implement a successful three-year control program to protect biodiversity at risk
  • plan for follow-up control
  • budget for control actions
  • report on the TAP and local expenditure on bitou bush control.

The Biodiversity priorities for widespread weeds strategy contains information about how to prepare a site-specific management plan.

To ensure that bitou bush control is effective and results in the conservation of priority species, the Bitou TAP outlines the need for best-practice management. Best practice guidelines aim to maximise the effectiveness of bitou bush control programs while minimising impacts on non-target native species.

The Monitoring Manual for Bitou Bush Control and Native Plant Recovery outlines a multi-tiered approach to monitoring, where different techniques can be used, depending on the species present at the site and the resources and skills of the land manager. Monitoring programs are vital in determining the effectiveness of bitou bush management and the recovery of the native species most at risk.

Development of the Bitou TAP revealed gaps in our understanding of the impacts of bitou bush on biodiversity. The Bitou TAP Review provided information on how research has met some of these knowledge gaps. However, more research is needed.