Assessing the recovery of native plant species following bitou bush control - the need for monitoring
Scott A. KingA,B and Paul O. DowneyA
A Pest Management Unit, Parks and Wildlife Group, Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW), PO Box 1967, Hurstville, New South Wales 1481, Australia.
B Current address: Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Unit, Scientific Services Division, Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW), PO Box 1967, Hurstville, New South Wales 1481, Australia.
Weeds are acknowledged as a significant threat to the environment (WRI et al. 1992), but successful abatement of the weed threat has been hampered by a lack of information on the species at risk and inclusion of this information into weed management strategies (Downey 2008). This problem of lack of information persists because few people monitor weed control programs, and those that do rarely feed data into broader analyses. Monitoring is therefore vital for reporting on widescale trends and the success of individual control programs. However, designing a monitoring program is difficult because simple, clear guidelines for assessing the response of weed control on biodiversity are lacking. For example, which species should be monitored and what methods are the most appropriate?
We surveyed weed managers to determine the extent of monitoring being undertaken for the invasive plant, bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotundata (DC.) T.Norl.), and the response of native species follow bitou bush control. The results support similar surveys of pest animal control programs in Australia (see Reddiex et al. 2006), albeit on a smaller scale, in that while biodiversity conservation is a stated aim, few people collect and analyse data to assess the success of control programs at protecting or promoting the recovery of native species. To rectify this problem we have developed standard monitoring guidelines, an outline of which we also present here.
Plant Protection Quarterly (2008) 23 (1) 40-41.