Invasive species on public land
Invasive species threaten native biodiversity because of their ability to change and destroy habitats and ecosystems.
- They are the number one cause of native animal extinctions in Australia.
- They are the second biggest threat to river and stream areas and nationally important wetlands.
- They are the third biggest threat to threatened ecosystems.
Invasive species can also harm social and economic assets. They may affect primary industries including agriculture, forestry and fisheries. They can also affect recreation, tourism and cultural values, including sites of significance to indigenous people. Weeds alone cost the Victorian economy over $900 million each year.
Managing invasive species in Victoria
Invasive species on public land in Victoria are managed using a biosecurity approach. This approach focuses on asset-based protection measures that aim to minimise the impact of invasive species on the environment, the economy and society. The Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework aims to protect our native flora, fauna and primary producers from harm caused by invasive species.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) plays an important role in guiding invasive species policy, legislation and government investment on public land to achieve desired outcomes for the environment.
Invasive terrestrial plants (weeds)
Many invasive plants can pose a serious threat to biodiversity by significantly impacting native flora and fauna populations. They also contribute to land and water degradation and losses in productivity.
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 certain plants are declared as noxious weeds in Victoria. This allows certain actions to be taken to control them.
The impact of weeds on the environment is recognised through several listings under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988:
- Introduction and spread of Spartina to Victorian estuarine environments.
- Invasion of native vegetation by 'environmental weeds'.
- Invasion of native vegetation communities by Tall Wheat-grass Lophopyrum ponticum.
Programs targeted at weed control on public land in Victoria include Otway Eden, Weeds at the Early Stage of Invasion, Glenelg Eden, Central Highlands Eden, Good Neighbour Program and Urban Fringe Weed Management Initiative.
Invasive terrestrial animals
Invasive animals can pose a serious threat to biodiversity. They contribute to the loss of native animals and farm productivity by direct predation or by disturbing or eating native vegetation, and by spreading weeds.
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 certain animals are declared as pest animals in Victoria. Established pest animals include foxes, rabbits, feral pigs and feral goats.
The impact of pest animals on the environment is recognised through several listings under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988:
- Degradation and loss of habitats caused by feral horses (Equus caballus).
- Predation of native wildlife by the cat (Felis catus).
- Predation of native wildlife by the introduced red fox (Vulpes vulpes).
- Reduction in biodiversity of native vegetation by sambar deer (Cervus unicolor).
- Reduction in biomass and biodiversity of native vegetation through grazing by the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
- Soil degradation and reduction of biodiversity through browsing and competition by feral goats (Capra hircus).
Programs targeted at pest animal control on public land in Victoria include Southern Ark, Glenelg Ark, Grampians Ark, Central Highlands Ark, Good Neighbour Program, Urban Rabbit Control Initiative, Brown Mountain Fox Control Program, Mallee Bounceback and Large Herbivore Control Program.