Addressing the challenges of commercial weeds

A.C. GriceA, J. ClarksonB and H. SpaffordC

A CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Private Bag PO Aitkenvale, Queensland 4814, Australia.

B Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, PO Box 1054, Mareeba, Queensland 4814, Australia.

C School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia.


'Commercial weeds' are species from which commercial products are harvested, or where there is an expectation or hope of commercial harvest, and yet which also have or could have negative economic, social or environmental impacts. It has been common for costs associated with any negative impacts of such species to be borne at the ‘enterprise’ level by those who are affected, while others are free to benefit from cultivating them. An alternative approach is to apply a ‘polluter pays’ principle to such species by transferring costs to the producers of commercial weeds. This could be done by voluntary or regulatory means, through the use of codes of practice, payments of bonds or levies and other mechanisms. Regulation of commercial weeds may require modifications to current pest plant legislation in some states. Incipient and established industries and enterprises will vary in their capacities to bear the costs of weedy impacts that their crop or pasture species would otherwise impose others.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2008) 23 (2) 58-64.