Tasmania and Asparagus weeds: hanging in the balance
Jamie CooperA and Wayne WarrenB
A Dept. of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, PO Box 46, Kings Meadows, Tasmania 7249, Australia.
B Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife, Whitemark, Flinders Island, Tasmania 7255, Australia.
With resources stretched to the limit, Tasmania is under threat from both bridal creeper, Asparagus asparagoides (L.) Druce, and asparagus fern, A. scandens Thunb. An eradication program primarily focused on bridal creeper in the past has had major successes but needs significant resources to enable eradication timeframes to be maintained.
The bridal creeper program has been predominantly community based, with assistance from a number of individuals from various local and State government agencies. Flinders Island has the largest number of sites and this challenge is compounded by a low population base. Over a dozen native plant species are expected to be lost if the eradication program is not maintained and increased.
Asparagus fern is increasing greatly in its range on both Flinders Island, King Island and the Tasmanian mainland. It is often found growing at the same sites as bridal creeper. This has been included in the eradication program as it would, over a short term, colonize the areas controlled for bridal creeper and would potentially have a similar impact. Eradication of both species is still feasible in Tasmania and both are identified in the Tasmanian Bridal Creeper Strategy as being eradicable weeds.
Plant Protection Quarterly (2006) 21 (3) 117.