Uses and impacts of perennial grasses in South Australia: an environmental perspective

Murray J. Mathison, Box 236, Crafers, South Australia 5152, Australia.


An impact is a disruption to a particular set of ecosystem services or functions, whether they be provision of habitat contributing to conserving biodiversity, protection of soils for agriculture or aesthetics for a tourism landscape. The division into managed and natural ecosystems is not always useful as it ignores the role of humans as an agent of evolution. Some acceptance of humans as an agent of evolution is needed to avoid the unrealistic and over simplistic desire to turn the clock back by returning to an imagined '1750' Australian vegetation condition. The 1750 baseline implies that indigenous people had little or no impact on ecosystems and that the telescopic view backwards is appropriate and credible for pre-European Australia. This paper discusses some of the impacts and uses of introduced perennial grasses, presenting the case for a more realistic view of ecosystem restoration because of the complexity of the issue and the high demands on detailed and accurate information.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2004) 19 (2) 50-51.