Elephants in the room: widespread weeds and biodiversity

Moira C. WilliamsA,B, Bruce A. AuldC, Leonie K. WhiffenA and Paul O. DowneyA,D

A Pest Management Unit, Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW), PO Box 1967, Hurstville, New South Wales 1481, Australia.

B Current address: Climate Change, Policy and Programs Group, Department of Environment and Climate Change.

C NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange, New South Wales 2800, Australia.

D Corresponding author.


Weeds pose one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and efforts to control new and emerging weeds must also be partnered by strategies to minimise the current impact posed by widespread weeds. However few strategies or approaches exist to establish priorities for widespread weeds and biodiversity conservation. A process developed by R.P. Randall for ranking weeds has been used extensively to prioritise weed control efforts at a regional scale. The process allocates priority to weeds that are newly emerging, leading to less concern for weeds that are well established in the landscape. This paper outlines issues associated with relying solely on Randall’s process to direct weed management efforts and provides a complementary approach which is based on the protection of biological assets at risk from weeds.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2009) 24 (3) 120-122.