Land management of Nassella areas - implications for conservation

Colin Hocking, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Victoria University, St. Albans, Victoria 3021, Australia.


The spread and control of Nassella spp. is likely to impact mainly on open and grassy woodland communities which contain many threatened species. Some well-managed native grassland remnant areas have shown resistance to invasion by serrated tussock and Chilean needle grass, but further documentation is needed. Techniques are being developed for selective removal of these Nassella spp. from native grassy swards and for their replacement with native grasses. The effects of selective spraying on forb diversity are unknown. Land management practices for Nassella control comprises ploughing, blanket herbicide spraying and tree planting. However, surveys for native remnants should be carried out prior to commencing works, and the comparative value of keeping native remnants as weed-resistant and drought-tolerant pastures should be assessed. Chilean needle grass constitutes a high level threat because of its apparent rapid spread into a range of grassy ecosystems and detrimental effects on biodiversity. The effects on biodiversity and methods of control for the other Nassella spp. are unknown and need urgent attention.


Plant Protection Quarterly (1998) 13 (2) 86-91.