South Australia's Weed Risk Management System

John G. Virtue, Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation, GPO Box 2834, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia.


The South Australian Weed Risk Management System (SAWRMS) is a relatively simple and transparent scoring system to prioritize weed species for strategic management at a range of spatial scales. There are two key considerations in prioritizing weeds for coordinated control programs; weed risk and feasibility of control. A score for 'Comparative Weed Risk' (CWR) is generated from multiplying separate scores (each ranging between 0 and 10) for the three criteria of 'Invasiveness', 'Impacts' and 'Potential Distribution'. A score for 'Feasibility of Containment' (FoC) is generated by multiplying separate scores (again, each ranging between 0 and 10) for the three criteria of 'Control Costs', 'Current Distribution' and 'Persistence'. Scores for each of the six criteria are generated from a series of multiple-choice questions (e.g. high/medium/low), with definitions to aid in the consistency of assessments. Weeds are assessed within land uses (e.g. crop/pasture rotation, native vegetation, forestry, urban) as this avoids contention over the relative values of land uses in a region of interest. CWR and FoC scores have been categorized into five levels (ranging from negligible to very high), which enables weed species to be placed on a simple prioritization matrix for each land use. The matrix indicates the most appropriate management action (e.g. prevention, eradication, containment, integrated weed management).

Keywords: Weed risk management, priority setting, feasibility of control.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2010) 25 (2) 90-94.