Athel Pine: National Best Practice Management - Weeds Australia

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Athel Pine: National Best Practice Management - Weeds Australia

AcknowledgementsThe Australian Government funded preparationof the manual.Preparation of the manual was hosted byNRETA and overseen by the National Athel PineManagement Committee.Weeds of National Significance Coordinatorsgave important assistance in preparation of themanual.Participating authors, contributors andphotographers shared their time and informationgenerously. Their contribution to the manualincluding personal communications and quotes isgratefully acknowledged.Private and community land managers kindlyshared their time and experiences with theNational Athel Pine Management Committee.Their stories contribute significantly to themanagement and case study sections of themanual.Valuable editing and proofreading wasundertaken by the NRETA Weeds PublicationsReview Committee, editor Kerry Sharp.Athel pine has been widely planted across inland Australia as a shade tree


IntroductionA Weed of National SignificanceAthel pine (Tamarix aphylla) is one of the worstweeds threatening inland Australia today. It wasidentified as a Weed of National Significance(WoNS) in 1999 because of its invasiveness,its potential to spread and its impacts on theenvironment and primary industry. Althoughathel pine has already overrun 600 km of theFinke River in central Australia with devastatingresults, its potential impact in Australia has hardlybeen realised. Most of this country’s inland riversystems, lakes, springs, waterholes and boredrains are at risk.Athel pine has been introduced around theworld for shelter and erosion control. It arrivedin Australia in the 1930s and was widely plantedfor shade and windbreaks into the 1970s. Athelpine has naturalised - or gone wild - at only 20locations, but any of Australia’s thousands ofdomesticated athel pine trees could potentiallystart a devastating new infestation.Athel pine threatens Australia’s pastoral industrybecause it dries up or salts the waterholes,springs and rivers where stock could otherwisedrink and makes mustering difficult andexpensive. It threatens the environment byout-competing the river red gums, coolabahsand endemic herbs which birds, reptiles andinvertebrates rely on for food and shelter. Finally,athel pine impacts on the Australian people bydamaging the natural landscapes we value.Australia’s state and territory governments havetaken the threat from athel pine seriously bymaking it a “declared’, or “noxious” weed. Thisimposes restrictions on growing or selling athelpine, and in many instances obliges all landmanagers - government, private or community- to control this weed on their land.Athel pine has two close relatives – tamarisk(Tamarix ramosissima) and smallflower tamarisk(Tamarix parviflora) – which have recentlynaturalised and demonstrated their potentialto become equally serious weeds in Australia.Tamarisks have invaded a million hectares ofriver systems in south western USA, forcing outendemic plants and animals and sucking up to27 million megalitres of water out of rivers everyyear. This manual recognises the threat theseweeds pose to Australia and looks in detail attheir control.A national approachA national strategy was developed in 2001 totackle the current and potential threat fromTamarix weeds to the nation. The vision ofthe Weeds of National Significance athel pine(Tamarix aphylla) strategic plan is “ProtectingAustralia’s biodiversity, landscape and industriesfrom athel pine (Tamarix aphylla)” but the planalso establishes the need to deal with tamariskand smallflower tamarisk at a national level. Theplan’s four outcomes are:1. The prevention of new infestations of athelpine2. The eradication of all athel pine occurrences inriparian zones3. The management of athel pine in non-riparianareas4. The coordination of strategic athel pinemanagement nationally.Implementation of the strategic plan is led by theNational Athel Pine Management Committee,a group comprising community, agency andindustry representatives.Using the manualSection 1 of this manual outlines the ecology andthreat of athel pine, tamarisk and smallflowertamarisk. Section 2 discusses proven controloptions and talks about how to plan andprioritise work and deliver a program which leadsto eradication. Section 3 showcases successfulAustralian and overseas programs against theseweeds. Section 4 gives useful links, contactnumbers and ideas about where to find moreinformation on weed and land management.ATHEL PINE NATIONAL BEST PRACTICE MANAGEMENT MANUAL

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