Invasive Species

13th May 2011
Invasive Species


Invasive weeds are among the most serious threats to Australia's natural environment and primary production industries. Weeds have major economic, environmental and social impacts in Australia, causing damage to natural landscapes, agricultural lands, waterways and coastal areas.

Weed invasions change the natural diversity and balance of ecological communities. These changes threaten the survival of many plants and animals as the weeds compete with native plants for space, nutrients and sunlight and displace native species.

Weeds significantly reduce the diversity of native species available to provide habitat for native fauna and this further contributes to the decline of many species.

Many weeds are exotic species which were brought to Australia as garden ornamentals, pasture grasses or other horticultural plants. Some have been introduced by accident, and some native species have become weeds where they have spread beyond their natural range and become highly invasive.

Many weeds are toxic to livestock and humans and cost the agricultural industry significant amounts of money every year.

There are many volunteers, conservation groups, local councils, landholders, farmers, bush regenerators and other environmental organisations working towards eradicating weeds to either remove threats to the agricultural industry or bring back natural areas which have become highly degraded.

For more information visit the Australian Government website.

Feral Animals

Australia's native plants and animals adapted to life on an isolated continent over millions of years. Since European settlement they have had to compete with a range of introduced animals for habitat, food and shelter. Some have also had to face new predators. These new pressures have also caused a major impact on our country's soil and waterways and on its native plants and animals.

In Australia, feral animals typically have few natural predators or fatal diseases and some have high reproductive rates. As a result, their populations have not naturally diminished and they can multiply rapidly if conditions are favourable.

Feral animals impact on native species by predation, competition for food and shelter, destroying habitat, and by spreading diseases.

For more information about invasive species visit the Australian Government website.