Just how bad are coastal weeds: assessing geo-eco-psycho-socio-economic impacts

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Roger Cousens and David Kennedy

Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, Melbourne Victoria 3010 Australia.

Kathryn Williams

School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Melbourne Victoria 3010 Australia.

S. Grainne Maguire

Department of Zoology and Engineering, University of Melbourne, Melbourne Victoria 3010 Australia.

Cite this article as:

Cousens, R., Williams, K., Kennedy, D. and Maguire, S. (2012). Just how bad are coastal weeds: Assessing geo-ecopsycho-socio-economic impacts [Abstract only]. Plant Protection Quarterly 27(4), 137.

[Abstract only]

This project is a multidisciplinary project documenting the various ecological, physical, social and economic impacts of coastal weeds and their interactions. We have documented the history of the major invasive species using herbarium records and documents.  A comprehensive literature review of the interactions between weeds and other aspects of the beach environment has been completed and we are using this to “map out” these interactions.  This understanding of interactions is being enriched through field observations being made by around 150 people volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ throughout southern Australia reporting on interactions between animals and weeds. Social impacts of weeds are being explored through surveys and interviews. A total of 229 residents, tourists and coastal managers completed a questionnaire on preferences for coastal landscapes with different types of levels of weed invasion.  Preliminary results suggest that some weeds (in some formations) may enhance the appeal of sandy coastal landscapes, while others may have a small negative impact. Geomorphological change associated with weeds is also being explored. Contemporary and historical aerial photographs are being examined, and compared with field measurements to assess whether weeds have changed dune morphology (height, width, number of ridges, presence of blow-outs etc).  Finally, we are attempting to collate information at a national scale on the financial costs of coastal weed management and the time spent by community groups. The project will provide a unique and integrated insight to an aspect of weeds that has received scant academic interest to date.


First published online: December 15, 2012