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Significant progress towards a weeds RDE portfolio

Looking for jewel beetles 03
Featured Image courtesy of NSW Government

Over the past two years the Centre has been making steady but important progress in moving towards the development of a Weeds Portfolio. For now, it remains an important stream of our overall RD&E activities.

Two new weeds specific projects have just begun, as well as the development of WeedsAustralia, a new national weeds website, akin to PestSmart, which is progressing extremely well, and is a deliverable of the Centre’s current portfolio.

Summaries of each of these projects are below:

Biosecurity Surveillance of e-Commerce and Other Online Platforms for Illegal Trade in Declared Plants.

Australia invests heavily in preventative biosecurity for pest plants, yet to date comparatively little is known about the quantity and diversity of species traded domestically on Australian e-commerce and online trade platforms. The capacity to predict future incursions of declared plant species via this trade pathway is limited by the paucity of research.

This project, led by Associate Professor Phill Casey of the University of Adelaide, will develop a long-term automated monitoring tool that would greatly improve Australia’s plant biosecurity. The project will be undertaken through to June 2022, and is a sister project of Phill’s work on a similar tool for illegal trade in vertebrate pests.

This project is funded by Australian Government Dept. Agriculture, Water and Environment through its biosecurity initiatives.

Computer Vision Weeds ID App and WeedScan Community Management and Communication System.

This project will produce Australia’s first real-time, easy to use automated identification of national, State and regional priority weeds (new, emerging and established), as well as an on-line system to better enable cooperative community-led weed management.

It will provide graziers, farmers, and communities with an easy to use digital tool to quickly identify a weed without expert knowledge, access best practice management information, and enable action either at the individual enterprise level or as part of a cooperative regional WeedScan community-led management and communication system.

A more rapid and potentially shared weed information will enable more timely and efficient action that results in reduced emerging and established weed impacts. The project commences this month and runs through to April 2023.

The Project is funded by the Australian Government Dept. Agriculture, Water and Environment through the National Landcare Program’s SmartFarms initiative.

Weeds Australia website

Over the past two years, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions with the support of Dr Rachel Melland has engaged with more than 400 members of the weeds community at local, regional and national level, to support the development of a new national weeds’ website called Weeds Australia.

The site has been designed at a national level to support weeds managers make informed decisions about understanding and managing weeds problems. The site was released as a beta version in early April 2020 and your feedback is welcome, as we continue to make content updates throughout 2020, including a complete review of the weeds management profiles.

You can visit the site at https://weeds.org.au/

What does the beta site currently contain?

  • Access to 398 weeds management profiles which contain management information, distribution data, images and links to key documents and literature. These profiles are linked with the Atlas of Living Australia to ensure consistency with national databases.
  • An advanced identification key which helps you figure out what weed you might have in your region by selecting its unique features using the check boxes.
  • A dedicated area to current monitoring and reporting tools for weeds.
  • An extensive list of groups from government agencies through to community groups to connect with to get involved in weeds management programs.
  • A resource library of weeds research, technical reports, and policy documents.

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