Weeds on private land are a problem, not only the landowner, but for the wider community as they are having devastating impacts on our environment.
With more than 60 per cent of all land under private ownership, Glenelg Hopkins CMA is committed to working with landowners to reduce weeds in the south-west and restore our natural assets.
The CMA works with local landowners, local government and Landcare groups to reduce weed population and enacts early intervention practices to prevent further spread.
Weeds are among the most serious threats to south western Victoria's primary production and natural environment. They reduce farm and forest productivity, displace native species and contribute significantly to land degradation.
Significant costs are borne by private and public land managers, industry, local government and utility companies. However, the full extent of weed damage is difficult to quantify due to the intangible costs of a reduction in biodiversity.
Despite the substantial weed management activities of the past by government, private and public landowners,land managers and land users, weeds continue to encroach at an increasing rate on Australian ecosystems .
Management practices based on the belief that chemical control is a ready answer to all weed problems and unrealistic expectations of biological control have contributed to past failures. Significant too, is the failure to understand that weed problems are a symptom, not a cause of land degradation.
Weed problems are a symptom of a resource degraded as a result of practices such as overgrazing and disturbance of natural vegetation. Treatment of the symptom - direct weed control - will provide short term success but requires repeated application, whereas treatment of the cause, rehabilitation of the resource through reducing grazing pressure, resowing pastures and replanting trees will achieve long-term success. These activities are now being used to achieve long-term control of Serrated Tussock and Ragwort within the south west, as part of the Victorian Community Weeds project.
A component of the Victorian Community Weeds project is the the Gorse Task Force, which has a new strategy. Within south western Victoria, Gorse control work is generally aligned along waterways, with the view of controlling seed spread further down the catchment into areas that are not infested. Significant results have been achieved so far and continued State Government support for ongoing works is helping achieve targets set out in the Regional Catchment Strategy.
Other reasons for past failures of weed management activities include an underestimation of the scope of the weed problem, difficulty in identifying 'who pays', issues with weed legislation and shortcomings in national import procedures.
In response to this, the National Weeds Strategy was developed to strengthen the cost efficiency and effectiveness of weed management in Australia by reducing economic, environmental and social impacts of weeds.
The development of this strategy led to the draft Victorian Weed Strategy, which has identified the need for direction at a regional level. Glenelg Hopkins CMA has developed a Regional Weed Plan for 2008-2012 to:
- prevent the reintroduction and establishment of new weeds in the region, and
- reduce the impact of established weeds on key environemntal, econmonic and social assets in accordance with the prioroties of the Regional Catchment Strategy.
The Plan provides direction for all land managers in the catchment to aid them in meeting their duty of care in weed management. It recognises the legislative requirements of public land managers for biodiversity protection and encourages a tenure blind approach to weed management in the region.
All land managers have a responsibility to manage weeds on their land, public or private. It is therefore important for land managers to be able to identify weeds, whether they be declared or not, and more importantly to know how to manage them. For assistance contact one of the CMA or DPI offices.