Eradicating hawkweeds (Hieracium spp.) from the Victorian Alps: Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of control whilst mitigating off-target impacts

Hawkweeds (Hieracium spp.) are perennial herbs of the Asteraceae family that produce large quantities of seed, with dispersal assisted by wind, soil movement and other vectors. Hawkweeds also spread vegetatively via stolons and adventitious roots (Williams and Holland 2007).

With the presence of three Hieracium species in the Victorian Alps (H. aurantiacum L., H. pilosella L. and H. praealtum Vill. ex Gochnat), an extensive area of suitable habitat, and an ability to form monocultures, hawkweeds pose a significant threat to environmental and social values.

The Falls Creek Hawkweeds Eradication Program is a partnership between Parks Victoria, the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and the Falls Creek Resort Management Board, that has operated in the Falls Creek Alpine Resort and on the adjacent Bogong High Plains in the Alpine National Park of Victoria since 2006.

The program is overseen by a Project Control Group (PCG) of partner agency management and operational staff. Working groups of individuals with a first-hand understanding of the issues and best practice strategies to eradicate hawkweeds meet on a needs basis for program planning, delivery, evaluation and improvement.

In recent years the program has: developed and implemented innovations which have improved the effectiveness of treatments whilst minimising off-target impacts to environmental and social values; increased treatment efficiency by modelling the probability of re-emergence after treatment, thus enabling reduced monitoring of sites that have low probabilities; and, developed criteria for determining when hawkweed infestation sites are eradicated by evaluating site history.

These innovations have refined and improved how investment has been allocated, ultimately advancing the eradication likelihood of hawkweeds from the Victorian Alps.

Cite as:

Primrose, K., Constantine, A., Smith, N. and Pascoe, C. (2016). Eradicating hawkweeds (Hieracium spp.) from the Victorian Alps: Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of control whilst mitigating off-target impacts. Plant Protection Quarterly 31(1) 33-37.


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First published online: July 8, 2016