Weeds of National Significance


The Commonwealth government compiled a list of twenty of the country’s most troublesome weeds.  These identified invasive species are called Weeds of National Significance (WoNS), and were listed because of their invasiveness, impacts, and their potential to spread and damage socio-economic and environmental values.  For more information on the WoNS list, please see here.

Over the past few years, EK has been working hard to tackle the WoNS that have taken hold in the West Kimberley.  The EK West Kimberley Nature Project (WKNP) has collaborated with a number of partners, including the Karajarri Rangers, Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals (SKIPA), and members of the Goolarabooloo community on various weed control programs for Parkinsonia aculeata and Lantana camara.

Parkinsonia occurs in scattered populations on Karajarri Country at Anna Plains, and also north of Willie Creek on the Dampier Peninsula.  We have used various weed control methods, including  treating cut stumps with herbicide, and also pulling out whole plants from the loose sandy soils using chains and vehicles.

Lantana was one of the weeds treated at a significant monsoon vine thicket site – Mojal – on Goolarabooloo country on the Peninsula.  This first treatment appears to have been successful, with no new growth yet observed.  We will monitor this site following the 2012 wet season.  At the same time as the lantana removal, a number of other serious weeds were treated, including (Leucaena leucocephala) or Coffee Bush, and Neem (Azadirachta indica). Coffee Bush is a particularly noxious weed because it outcompetes native plants and can take over large areas. The prolific seeds can be spread in the wet season runoff and also by cattle and other animals which eat them and spread them to new areas in their dung.

Other weeds removed from monsoon vine thicket on the northern Dampier Peninsula include Buffel Grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) and other fire-promoting species such as Siratro (Macroptilium atropurpureum) and Hairy Merremia (Merremia aegyptia). These species are particularly damaging to monsoon vine thickets because they increase the fuel load on the edge of the thicket, allowing fires to penetrate and open up the generally closed canopy.  Fires degrade the structure of the thicket, making it more vulnerable to fire in future years. Our weed management activities have been in line with management plans for the thickets that we’ve developed and implemented in collaboration with the Nyul Nyul and Bardi-Jawi Rangers, and other KLC-facilitated Indigenous ranger groups.

The Environs Kimberley Weed Cards were updated earlier in 2011 with the support of the Weeds Society WA and Environmental Weeds Action Network. They have proved incredibly popular with rangers and other land managers, with over a thousand being distributed throughout the Kimberley. Limited copies remain, and can be obtained by contacting our office, however the weed cards are still available for download online here

The West Kimberley Nature Project is managed by Environs Kimberley and funded by Rangelands NRM WA through Caring for our Country.

EK has also worked with the Derby Shire Council to develop a community education program about priority weeds in the Shire.  These materials advise the community about native alternatives to invasive and problem exotics, as well as tips on weed control and removal as a reference for local gardeners.  Click here or on thumbnail below for a link to the booklet.

War on a weed of National Significance