Controlling weeds (rubber vine) with fire
The control of weeds presents an ongoing challenge to land managers throughout Australia. Weeds pose a threat to native flora and fauna, by out-competing and displacing native plants, causing changes in fire intensity and frequency, and by rarely providing the habitat and resources that are required to support native wildlife. The presence of weeds ultimately leads to a loss of biodiversity, and a less diverse ecosystem that is often likely to be less resilient to change.
The degree of weed invasion and therefore control efforts varies considerably between the AWC Sanctuaries, and is usually most significant in areas that have historically been grazed. For example, sheep and goats had grazed Faure Island sanctuary for over 80 years, and as a result, a number of weed species were established. Management objectives are not only to eradicate priority species such as the African Boxthorn and Buffel Grass, but also to create habitat conditions that encourage recolonisation by native species, rather than weeds.
Karakamia Sanctuary is relatively weed free, however a variety of weed species such as Arum Lilies, Lupins, Watsonia, and many introduced grasses, are widespread in the area surrounding the sanctuary and present the constant threat of reinvasion. AWC staff and volunteers work together to eradicate any weed outbreaks that do occur.
An example of this program can be found at the following AWC sanctuaries;