Successful partnership controls exotic weeds

Forestry Corporation is gaining the upper hand on invasive plant Tropical Soda Apple thanks to a partnership with Bellingen Shire Council to control the Brazillian weed.

The weed, which is spread through flooding and livestock feeding on the mature fruit, had invaded parts of the Pine Creek State Forest.
Operations Forester Andrew Pitzen said up to 30 Tropical Soda Apple plants had been eradicated in Pine Creek State Forest since Forestry Corporation commenced joint inspections with Bellingen Shire Council’s Invasive Plants Officer over the past 18 months.

“Pine Creek State Forest is located in a high rainfall area that makes growth of weed species very prolific and it appears the highly invasive species became established through cattle encroaching on the hardwood plantation from a neighbouring property,” Andrew said.

“We worked with the landholder to re-establish the old fence lines to remove the potential seed source and began regular inspections.

“When we find a Tropical Soda Apple plant, we mechanically remove it or spray it with herbicide and take a note of its location so we can check it hasn’t re-established when we return for future inspections.

“Inspections are carried out every three months to ensure the infestation is controlled for the long term. We also report the results back to the North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee, which we’re an active member of.”

Andrew said this was a number of community partnerships delivering positive results for weed and pest management in the area.

“We are working with Bellingen Landcare to manage wild dogs in the valley. For the past five years we have also had a very successful partnership with Never Never Catchment Group and Conservation Volunteers Australia CVA to remove Camphor Laurel and other introduced weeds and replant riparian areas with a mixture of grasses and sedges.”

Media contact: Elizabeth Fowler 02 9407 4265