Article prepared by Kristy Brewer Landcare Facilitator
The SEA is passionate about the management of invasive species and more importantly the protection and restoration of local biodiversity. Our slogan Restore Protect Connect invites our community to be actively involved in environmental work that aims to do just this.
Last year the Southwest Environment Alliance supported 5 local landholders to engage in a 3 year voluntary management plan to control gorse on private property. Each of these landholders received a financial incentive to get them started. If you are interested in finding out more check out the following webpage www.vgt.gov.au or follow them on facebook.
One of the landholders we worked with last year had an amazing property filled with old manna gums and truck loads of sweet bursaria. It also hosted large infestations of gorse. When planning the control program we had to take into account the habitat values of the gorse.
Large numbers of small birds needed to be considered when we worked out the control program. Gorse may well be a pest plant but in the absence of other prickly vegetation it serves as wonderful habitat.
The dead plants will be left standing as the new vegetation that has been planted by the landholder begins to grow. The landholders have planted up the property with a variety of endemic plants (including prickly moses and hedge wattle). Many of these plants will serve as a alternative prickly home the properties beautiful australian birds.
Landcare groups are not responsible for controlling weeds, they are however in a position to support community members in their efforts to access information and funding through various landcare grant and other programs. Gorse reduces the agricultural value and most certainly the economical value of land. It also poses a huge fire risk and harbours pest animals. Landowners and land managers at all levels are responsible for managing WoNS.
Gorse is a weed of national significance (WoN). It is a funny expression but one that comes with some power! WoN significance have been agreed upon by the Australian government based on an assessment process that prioritised these weeds. It is based on their invasiveness, potential for spread and environmental, social and economic impacts.. Consideration is also given to their ability to be successfully managed. The list includes 32 weeds. If you would like to check out the full list visit www.environment.gov.au