Researchers battle Top End weed: video

20 January 2016

The impacts of gamba grass in Litchfield National Park and how NERP research is helping park managers better direct their resources to control the threat have been highlighted in a new video.

Gamba grass is a serious environmental problem in northern Australia. The grass was heavily promoted and highly valued as an alternative pasture for cattle during the 1980s, due to its prolific growth and an ability to thrive under harsh conditions.

In the 1990s, the weed began to spread outside pastoral land. A lack of information about its biology and environmental impacts at the time sparked several Charles Darwin University research projects, led by Associate Professor Samantha Setterfield under the Northern Australia Hub.

In the video, Dr Setterfield explains how researchers are continuing to quantify the weed’s current impacts and spread patterns, specifically in the Coomalie Shire, south of Darwin.

“We undertook surveys in 2010 and 2014 and that’s given us information not only on where the weed is, but also how fast it’s been spreading,” Dr Setterfield said.

“At the moment we can see that 18% of Litchfield National Park is infested with this weed.”

To better guide natural resource managers in the fight against the gamba grass invasion, the Northern Australia Hub research team developed a model that could compare the future patterns of invasion under various management approaches.

During the video, Northern Territory Parks rangers explain how the research is underpinning a five year integrated conservation strategy for the park.


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