Climate change may eradicate some weeds
AAP May 18, 2010, 3:55 pm
Climate change may have an upside in helping Australian scientists put the squeeze on some weed species.
A CSIRO report has found that hotter temperatures and reduced rainfall in South Australia could lead to changes in the type and number of weeds growing in areas across the state.
It said existing weed problems in northern districts may shift south and landholders may have to deal with species they haven't encountered before.
But it also found that as the climate warms the geographic range of some weeds that prefer cooler conditions may be reduced.
"If we can prevent the replacement with other weeds we may be able to put the squeeze on some weeds, particularly the notoriously destructive weeds Bridal Creeper and Scotch Broom," lead author Darren Kriticos said.
"Being forearmed with this knowledge and sharing information with those who deal with the likely weeds of tomorrow will give communities an increased awareness and ability to strategically control potential future problem weeds."
Weeds are considered a major threat to Australia's biodiversity and agricultural production as they overwhelm native species and contribute to land degradation.
They cost Australia more than $4 billion a year in control measures and lost production.
South Australian Environment Minister Paul Caica said the robust science used in the CSIRO report included climate modelling to 2080 to formulate the likely future impacts of climate change."It proposes research directions for weed management, particularly those weeds which pose a significant challenge to our state," Mr Caica said.
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