With the federal government announcing it will cut the number of native plant species that are considered ‘high-risk’ for invasive species in the next two years, we can expect a lot more of the Australian landscape to become ‘high risk’ for the next generation of gardeners.
Read more The government’s move comes after a major survey found that Australian gardeners are the most likely to be affected by invasive plants, with about 10 per cent of respondents saying they are currently planting invasive species on their gardens.
That’s up from 4 per cent in 2015.
The survey found a significant spike in gardeners expressing concern about invasive plants in recent years, with 27 per cent saying they were at least a little concerned about the issue, compared with 15 per cent a decade ago.
The government said the survey findings will help inform the decision to implement a national garden, which it said is a key element of its environmental strategy.
“We know that many of our national parks and landscapes are now under threat of extinction, with fewer than half of Australian species listed as vulnerable under the National Parks and Wildlife Management Act,” the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said in a statement.
“That’s why it’s vital to provide a safe and resilient environment for people to enjoy and thrive.”
A spokesperson for the Department said it is important to keep an open mind about the impact of invasive species and how best to manage them, adding that it is “unlikely that we will have a comprehensive strategy to protect these native plants”.
“Invasive species have the potential to pose a significant threat to the survival of native plants and their ecosystems,” they said.
“Conservation and management of invasive plants is a national priority for the government and is underpinned by our National Parks Act.”
What is invasive species?
A number of species are considered high risk to native species.
The Australian government’s list of invasive organisms includes some species that have been listed as “threatened” by the World Health Organisation.
The list includes a variety of insects, nematodes, mites, and fungi that can spread diseases such as yellow fever and can cause disease-causing effects such as meningitis, respiratory infections and pneumonia.
Some of the most common are Asian cockroach, Asian hornet, and the brown recluse.
There are also a number of invasive plant species, including Asian carp, African wildcat and Australian bushbuck.
There’s also the common whitefly, which is the only species in Australia with a confirmed pathogen.
It is thought to cause the most severe effects on native plants, but some people say the disease-carrying insects are more easily controlled.
The most common plant species at risk of being ‘high threat’ to native plants include: Cockroaches: A cockroach is one of the more common invasive plant infections in the world, causing up to half of all human infections and more than half the cases of West Nile virus.
Cockroach populations are currently estimated to be about one per cent across Australia.
Asian cockroaches are the largest and most widespread species of cockroach found in Australia, accounting for almost 20 per cent and nearly 60 per cent respectively of the total cockroach population.
Asian wildcat is also found in most of Australia and can be found throughout most of the country.
It can be aggressive, often attacking people and property.
It’s also a known disease carrier.
Brown recluse: The brown recluser, which also is sometimes called a white-tailed deer, is the second-most common plant-invader in Australia and is found across much of the southern and central states.
The species has been documented in more than a quarter of all areas of the state of New South Wales.
Brown recluses have also been reported to cause serious illnesses and death.
It has been reported that brown reclusas have also carried diseases such the dengue virus and plague.
It causes anemia, respiratory distress, liver failure and kidney failure.
Asian hornets are also known to cause severe illnesses, and they can be an invasive pest that spreads diseases.
Asian grasshopper, or Asian hornworm, is also a common insect pest in Australia.
It feeds on insects, small mammals and birds, and is an important component of some of the insect populations.
Common house spiders are also considered high-risk species, but are not as common as cockroach, hornet or brown reclusor.
Australian cockroach: The Australian cockrocher, which can be either white, black or brown, is found in many of the states of the Western Australia region and is usually found in the western parts of the continent.
It typically is found on dry, sandy soils, which makes it a good indicator of a site where it can breed.
It tends to be active on warm, moist days, and can also be found in dry, sunny or hot areas.
Asian carp: The Asian carp is an invasive species found in a variety or combinations of soil, water, vegetation and water source types