Native Species Behaving Badly: Halting the Sallow Wattle Threat to Grampians National Park

 In Media releases, News

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) and Parks Victoria have joined forces to fight the spread of Sallow wattle and protect biodiversity in the Grampians National Park.

Home to more than one third of Victoria’s flora, the National Heritage listed park’s rich biodiversity is under threat from a rapidly spreading native plant species – the Sallow wattle. This plant does not naturally occur in the area and is behaving like a weed, threatening the survival of other important native species in the park.

“One of the reasons the Grampians National Park is on the National Heritage list is its amazing diversity of plants. People don’t go to the Grampians to see a wall of wattle,” said Grampians Environment and Heritage Team Leader, Mike Stevens.

“This park has great cultural and environmental significance which is suffering from a massive weed problem. We are using science and data to find the most effective treatment for the problem.”

Parks Victoria and AMSI have been examining the effectiveness and costs of five different treatments to control the overabundant native weed in the national park.

The five treatments being trialled in the program are: brush-cut, manual removal, mulch and two types of herbicide. Current results have indicated that mulch is the most efficient treatment in controlling the weed with no major side effects for native species surrounding the weed. However, further monitoring is required to determine the most effective method in the long term.

“Science, research and monitoring are important for measuring results of conservation actions and informing decision-making into the future,” said Mr Stevens.

AMSI Director Professor Geoff Prince said the ‘Research Partners Program’ with Parks Victoria was an exciting example of the applications of statistical analysis and modelling in environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities. AMSI statistician Kally Yuen continues to work with Parks Victoria in designing the program and conducting the analysis.

“AMSI is particularly pleased to work with Parks Victoria on this critical project. Statistical methodology is an invaluable tool to investigate efficient and cost-effective eradication measures not just for Sallow wattle but for a wide range of invasive species,” said Professor Prince.

As part of the state government’s Biodiversity Response Planning, $1.8 million was allocated to conservation programs in the Grampians National Park, with $647,000 supporting Parks Victoria and AMSI’s ongoing program to stop the invasive plant becoming an unwanted emblematic feature of the Grampians National Park.

Despite being native to Australia, the Sallow wattle emerged as a significant problem in the Grampians following the 1999 Mt Difficult bushfire, which was a catalyst for the plant’s rapid spread in the park. The plant is thought to have been introduced to the Grampians as early as 1860 when it was used as fodder by troopers stationed at Troopers Creek.

More information:

High resolution images available to download here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/Yvlbwpw856

About Parks Victoria

Parks Victoria is a statutory authority that manages more than 3,000 of Victoria’s different parks and reserves making up 18 per cent of Victoria’s landmass, 75 per cent of Victoria’s Wetlands and 70 per cent of Victoria’s Coastline.

Healthy Parks Healthy People is at the core of everything Parks Victoria does.  Parks and nature are an important part of improving and maintaining health, both for individuals and the community. Parks Victoria has a clear role to play in connecting people and communities with parks.

Parks Victoria is committed to delivering works on the ground across Victoria’s park network to protect and enhance park values. It is our primary responsibility to ensure parks are healthy and resilient for current and future generations. This includes world class conservation projects, facilities and experiences across the state.

About AMSI

AMSI is the collaborative enterprise of Australia’s mathematical sciences. It exists to give independence to our disciplines and provide infrastructure so that we can take initiatives on the national and international stage. These measures fall largely into three classes – research and higher education, school education and engagement with the industrial and commercial world.

AMSI has built a record of achievement in these areas and is recognised by government and industry as a leading provider of services, activities and strategic initiatives.

The common aim we share with our partners is the radical improvement of levels of mathematical capacity and facility in the Australian community. It is AMSI’s ability to pull together skills and experience at the highest levels across the spectrum of the mathematical sciences that underlies our impact.

For Interview:
Professor Geoff Prince, AMSI Director
Mr Mike Stevens, Grampians Environment and Heritage Team Leader

Media Contact: Laura Watson
E: media@amsi.org.au
P: 04215 18733

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