Managing the risks associated with high biomass invasive grasses

10 June 2008

Invasive plants have long been recognised across northern Australia as a key threat to the natural environment, agricultural production and in some instances human health.

The Northern Territory Government is in the process of adopting a Weeds Risk Management (WRM) System which was jointly developed by Charles Darwin University researchers and staff of NRETA’s Weed Management branch.

This system will provide a standard, transparent, and scientifically-based assessment of both potential and current weed species. To date 80 species have been assessed using the system and grasses figure prominently in the identified high risk species.

Mapping and management of identified high-risk grasses (gamba, mission, olive hymenachne and para grass) are underway across the Top End.

To improve coordination of the management of grassy weeds across northern Australia a northern grassy weeds task force with representatives from the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland governments has been formed. In addition to providing weed management and policy expertise this group will oversee the grassy weeds R&D program.

Stakeholder involvement was recognised as a key element in developing the WRM System. To ensure input from key stakeholders a Weed Risk Management Reference Group was formed with government and non-government industry representatives – including the NT Cattleman’s association, NT Garden and Nursery Association, World Wildlife Fund Australia and the Central Land Council.

Workshops also enabled stakeholders in the Northern Territory to be involved in planning and implementing the WRM System.

For further information visit the NRETA WRM Systems website: or contact Keith Ferdinands or Samantha Setterfield.

Key objectives

  1. Economic Development
  2. Social and Cultural Development
  3. Environmentally Sustainable Development

About the partnership

The Partnership Agreement provides for the economic and social development of the Northern Territory to be supported by a robust and resilient University working in partnership with government agencies and the wider community to contribute to education, research, policy development and program delivery.