Weed management remains a central problem for landscape-scale conservation projects in Australia and globally. However, little is known about the invasive species that will be favoured by new land use regimes intended to protect and enhance native biodiversity, and whether these species have the greatest impact on broad-scale conservation goals. In this paper we use survey data collected from landholders and regional land managers to provide an initial identification and prioritisation of the weed species that have the greatest potential to degrade conservation management areas in the Kosciusko to Coast (K2C) Partnership corridor area of south-eastern New South Wales. We show that the control of invasive weeds remains a significant problem for virtually all landholders and managers in the region, and that consistent with expectation, Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John’s wort), Rubus fruticosus L. (blackberry) and a range of annual and biennial herbs tend to increase under management regimes designed to benefit native biodiversity. However, the most serious invaders were invasive grasses species like Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees, (African lovegrass), Nassella neesiana (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth (Chilean needle grass) and Nassella trichotoma (Nees) Hack. ex Arechav. (serrated tussock), which degrade both agricultural and conservation land use types and drive reorganisation of recipient socio-ecological systems. Infestations of E. curvula in particular appear to be expanding in most areas, and this largely intractable species must now be considered the primary weed threat to biodiversity conservation and agricultural production across the K2C region. There is a strong need for further research into the impacts of invasive weeds on functional landscape connectivity and the development of integrated weed management strategies for the most damaging species, especially E. curvula.
Godfrey, R.C. and Stol, J.M. (2015) Initial identification and prioritisation of weeds of conservation management areas in the Kosciuszko to Coast (K2C) corridor of New South Wales, Australia. Plant Protection Quarterly 30(3), 86-92.