I recently finished a Hawkweed identification (for eradication by Parks Victoria) program near Falls Creek in the Bogong High Plains in Victoria. A stunning landscape…
It is a valuable program that has been running for over 10 years. These introduced flora have decimated land in NZ, Japan and North America. Basically they crowd out everything; Australia wants to make sure it does not get established here.
On the first night we had a training session on the identification of Hawkweeds and their impact on some countries. New Zealand (map below) is particularly affected, although Japan and North America are also impacted by this European weed.
Studies into seed dispersal have been published by Parks Victoria, and volunteer searches were based on these studies.
Our week of volunteering focused on Mouse-ear Hawkweed identification in areas previously discovered (see identification below). We walked in lines, tracking our movements, as we searched grid by grid for the week.
Data tracking from 2007 has shown the positive impact of volunteers and staff, with an overall reduction of types of Hawkweed over the years. As you can see the Mouse-ear Hawkweed (MEHW) is a more recent find – discovered by a volunteer.
Bushfires in 2003 and 2006–07 killed various weeds but also promoted germination and negated the effect of previous control work. The recently released Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan stated that in the face of climate change, invasive plants and animals are a main focus of future management. The management plan identifies eight strategies for environmental management:
- Feral horse control (identified as a major problem by the Invasive Species Council and related to weed spread).
- Deer control
- Targeted weed containment
- Fire management to protect and enhance ecosystems
- Responding to climate change
- Landscape-scale fox control
- Integrated work with all the Traditional Owners
- Benefits beyond boundaries — weeds and dogs.
During the Hawkweed identification program in the Alps, volunteers had time for walks, rides and bush camps.
This is a unique ecosystem that requires ongoing management for conservation. For more information visit https://theaustralianalps.wordpress.com/the-alps-partnership/nature-and-biodiversity/
If you want to volunteer in this conservation program, I highly recommend!
Sunset Mt McKay