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For our bush regen volunteers

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In summary

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Check the Volunteers events page for information on upcoming courses, seminars, etc.

Bush Tracks – shortcuts to vegetation information for NRM

Greening Australia has recently published an NRM handbook and catalogue called 'Bush Tracks: Shortcuts to Vegetation Information for Natural Resource Management'. This 288 page publication is aimed at people trying to find information on native vegetation and NRM issues. It lists a large number of research and development organisations who contribute to vegetation research and a section of 130 useful NRM publications recommended to Greening Australia through their networks. It also includes contact details and information on non-government organisations, university research schools, online databases, online bookshops, relevant newsletters and magazines.

This is a free publication. Please email your postal address (and the number of copies required) to

Click here to go to the Greening Australia publications page

Two copies are also available in the Friends Library in the Park Office.

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Weed control videos

If you’re battling asparagus fern you would know how much of a chore it is to remove but many people don’t realise that the water tubers don’t regrow and turn a big job into a massive one, doing more damage in the process.

Some bright spark from Pittwater (Asparagus Fern Central) has put together a great demonstrative video on how to remove it effectively. Perfect for anyone who wants to become an asparagus fern destroyer!

Click here to go to or go to Youtube and search for “asparagus fern”.

The Pittwater Ecowarriors have in fact done a whole series of weed control videos which you can get to at their youtube site at

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Weed Management Guides

The CRC for Australian Weed Management has produced a series of 6-8 page colour brochures covering the 20 Weeds of National Significance. These weeds are considered the worst weeds in Australia due to – invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.

The guides are available at or from DIPNR (Ph.02 9895 5965) and the Australian Government Dept Environment & Heritage.

More Weed Management Guides from Weeds CRC

The latest weed management guide is now available on the Weeds CRC website. Periwinkle (Vinca major) is part of a series of weed management guides that tackle environmental weeds and which community groups and agencies managing land at the local level will find informative.

These weeds threaten biodiversity and the guides detail identification, biology and control of them. These weeds are adapted to sensitive situations such as native vegetation and riparian zones. Some widespread weed species have close relatives that are more localised, and the guides also include relevant information on these.

Available now!
1.African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum)
2.Coolatai grass (Hyparrhenia hirta)
3.buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris)
4.periwinkle (Vinca major)
5.Spanish heath (Erica lusitanica) and other Erica spp.

Coming soon
6.brooms (Cytisus scoparius, Genista monspessulana and related species)'s claw creeper (Macfadyena unguis-cati)
8.feathergrasses and mission grasses (Pennisetum spp.).

Where to find the new guides
High resolution pdfs of the guides suitable for printing, and low resolution versions for slower internet connections, are available on the Weeds CRC website at:

Habitat Management Guidelines from Weeds CRC

The following 2 publications have been added to the Weeds CRC website. One more is to come in this series (Rangelands). This website will cease to exist from June 2010 so please save these files, and any other files on this site, to your computer for future reference. The Weeds CRC home page is now at until this time.


Riparian corridors are particularly susceptible to weed invasion and are often invaded by multiple weed species. This susceptibility to invasion is a result of the natural disturbance processes associated with flooding, favourable environmental conditions and the continued input of weed propagules from upstream and adjacent areas. The impacts of human activities have also increased the likelihood of weeds establishing in riparian areas. However, well designed weed management programs can achieve positive outcomes in riparian areas.

These guidelines are designed to provide assistance to managers of riparian areas in planning their weed management programs, and in so doing, highlight some of the challenges inherent in riparian weed management. Background material is provided about riparian areas and the weed species typically found in riparian areas in south-eastern Australia, particularly Victoria. The steps required to develop an effective riparian weed management program are described. These steps outline general principles but do not provide management prescriptions for individual weed species or riparian sites.

While complementing other recent weed management guidelines, the information in this document highlights the central role played by water flow, particularly flooding, in shaping riparian areas and their weed management.


Weeds in rainforest habitats have traditionally been considered as impacting only around edges and in highly disturbed areas. However more recently managers and researchers have discovered rainforest weeds can often occur in relatively intact rainforest habitat, greatly altering native community structure. Weed invasion is now becoming a major issue in the management and conservation of tropical forests.

A species-by-species approach to management becomes more difficult and costly with each new introduction, particularly as biological, ecological and spatial information is often sparse. The logistical difficulties involved in detecting, controlling and eradicating weeds in rainforest habitats means that resources are not available to deal with each species individually. Rather, a range of strategies are necessary for management, including focused management of high-risk single species, strategies that target suites of species, and strategies that target entire landscapes.

This publication focuses on the ecological processes that govern weed invasion in rainforest habitats and the ecological principles for strategically managing them so as to minimise weed introduction and spread.


Invasive Species Council blog

With invasive species increasing their stranglehold on Australia's extraordinary wildlife, landscapes and seascapes, the ISC has decided it's time to up the ante and enter the blogosphere.

You can check in to see what they’ve been writing anytime by visiting

NSW Invasive Species Plan

DPI has advised that the NSW Invasive Species Plan is now available publicly. Copies can be downloaded at

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Noxious weed lists

Now on the web at Help with those confusing issues such as which states have declared Lantana camara noxious. The lists will be updated quarterly or when important changes are made.

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Australian Govt weeds website

Check out the new Australian Govt weeds website - looks pretty good. This is different to (above) which is managed by the Australian Weeds Committee.

Brochure on weed cycles
There is a brochure available on weed cycles (not weed bicycles!) for some local weeds at the DPI website. Knowing the annual cycles of the weeds on your site can be an invaluable tool for treating these weeds before they spread. Too often there are frantic attempts to stop the spread of seed after it is set whereas if treated as it is flowering or earlier can make life so much easier. Click here to follow the link.
(This is a new link Nov 2007)

Biological control publications from Weeds CRC

We have released a number of biological controls within the park with varying degrees of success. Some volunteers have expressed concern that we could be opening up a another cane toad/pandora’s box scenario which could do more harm than good – so these new publications would make a good read for those who may wish to learn more about the processes and amount of research required to release new biological controls in this country. Successful biological controls are far and away the most cost effective weapon we have in the war against weeds and other invasive species. For the record, cane toads were never introduced under a government sponsored program but by an obstinate farmer who brought them into the country on his own initiative, despite advice and warnings against it – read the full story in Tim Low’s Feral Future. Call me if you have any questions or would like more information about biocontrols released in the park.

The aim of a biological control (biocontrol) program is to introduce insects or diseases (agents) which attack the target weed and to use them to successfully manage this weed and reduce its impacts. The time and resources devoted to the selection, testing, release and evaluation of a biocontrol agent can be significant. To assist natural resource managers and policy makers in this area, the Weeds CRC has just produced a series of guides and factsheets on biocontrol.

The two best practice guides:

  • Release and establishment of weed biological control agents
  • Impact evaluation of weed biological control agents

summarise key principles, practices and insight gained over many years of biocontrol research.

The guide on release and establishment outlines ways to enhance establishment of agents to increase the efficiency of weed biocontrol programs.

The guide on impact evaluation highlights principles and approaches to measure the impacts of agents on target weed populations and to quantify the benefits for associated plant communities, ecosystems, the economy and society in general.

To complement these guides a series of four, easy-to-read, 2-page factsheets have been produced:

  • Biological control of weeds: selection of agents
  • Biological control of weeds: host testing
  • Biological control of weeds: release and establishment
  • Biological control of weeds: impact evaluation

These factsheets introduce biocontrol, describe relevant issues, list key principles and provide guidelines, a case study and a further reading list.

To view a copy of the guides please visit:

To view a copy of the factsheets please visit:

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MAMBARA: Sydney Metropolitan CMA’s newsletter

The latest issue of Mambara is now available on their website. Click here to go to their publications page..

Find out about Sydney's Community Forum, endangered Blue Gum High Forest, bilingual weeds workshops, new coastal grants and much more!

If you are having difficulties opening the newsletter please try clicking on the download button and click on save to save to your hard drive. Then open the file saved on your computer.

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The State of Australia's Birds 2007 - Birds in a Changing Climate

Since 2003 Birds Australia has produced an annual State of Australia's Birds report. The reports collate and disseminate information on trends in bird populations to inform Australians of the status of their birds and help bring about improved understanding and better management of the land for birds and other biota. They also provide feedback to the dedicated thousands who volunteer their time and skills to monitor birds.

This year's report, Birds in a Changing Climate, has been compiled by Penny Olsen for Birds Australia. Climate change is bringing mixed news for Australia's birds. Some species will benefit, others will be disadvantaged over and above the other long-standing threats they face. We don't know how quickly birds can adapt to the changes, but we think that many will and we know that some won't. To facilitate adaptation, connectivity is the catch-cry: reconnecting natural landscapes and habitats and connecting biodiversity to carbon policies and procedures. For further information, see Birds in a Changing Climate.

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Urban Natural Resource Management email group and web log

See below for a list of the latest posts on the new Urban NRM News service which you can visit at

If you would like to get regular updates you could subscribe to as there are many topics and posts there which I do not forward on but you may be interested in them. Or you could just save it in your favourites and go the RSS feed on the left side of the page from time to time. An RSS feed enables you to easily view Urban NRM News with an RSS news reader such as the one offered by Google.

The latest posts on the new Urban NRM News service:

New guide to sustainable water use around the home
Solar Ark: Worlds most stunning solar building
ANPC National Conference 21 - 24 April 2008, Mulgoa NSW
THECA's 2008 Forum 'A Green Future? Biodiversity under Climate Change', 12 April 2008, Brisbane
'Volunteering on the Edge' Conference, 3 - 6 April 2008, Hobart
Australian Association for Environmental Education Conference 9 - 12 July 2008
Victorian Sustainable Development Conference, 22 - 23 April 2008, Melbourne
Clean Up Australia Day - 2 March 2008
Roberto Perez speaking tour, How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, 28 March 2008 Sydney
Alignment of Local NRM Data Project – Sydney Metro CMA
Pannell Discussion #116: Capacities of regional NRM bodies
Lantana DVD
International Salinity Forum - Salinity, Water and Society - Global issues, local action, 31 March - 3 April 2008, Adelaide
National Natural Resources Management Knowledge Conference, 14 - 16 April 2008, Melbourne
Melbourne Environment Report 2007
Hornsby Herbarium goes online
Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland, Western Sydney
New Guidelines for urban bird habitat

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Novel method for mapping vegetation types

We would like to inform you about a novel method for mapping vegetation types recently published in the NSW Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney ecological journal Cunninghamia. The paper citation is:

Maguire, O., Armstrong, R.C., Benson, J.S., Streeter, R., Paterson, C., McDonald, P., Salter, P.N., East, M., Webster, M., Sheahan, M & Young, D. (2012) Using high resolution digital aerial imagery interpreted in a 3-D digital GIS environment to map predefined plant communities in central-southern New South Wales. Cunninghamia 12(4): 247-266.

The link to the website, which includes the mapping paper, plus all maps and descriptions of vegetation communities

The link to the paper is:

Examples of maps include:

Examples of descriptions of veg communities

Downloadable Appendices

Folder 1: NSW VCA database plant community type descriptions

Folder 2: PDF format vegetation maps for each of nine 1:100,000 and three 1:50,000 map tiles in the study area.

Note: GIS format data of this mapping can be obtained under licence by emailing
or downloading Vegetation Information System (VIS) product ‘3884’ from (Enter 3884 in keyword box and hit Search button at bottom).

Features of the vegetation mapping

  • It represents either the first time or one of the first times in the world that high resolution ADS-40 airborne colour imagery has been digitally interpreted, attributed and captured, in a 3-dimensional environment, directly into GIS (Stereo Analyst for ArcGIS) to produce high quality vegetation maps at very fine scales of resolution;
  • The mapping input scale was approximately 1:4000 and maps can be generated from GIS at various scales for different uses;
    100 fine thematic plant communities were mapped. These were previously published and are used in NSW regulatory systems for environmental assessment. The plant communities mainly conform to a “plant association” level of vegetation classification as defined in Benson (2006);
  • Approximately 550,000 hectares of native vegetation was mapped in a fragmented rural landscape of 2.75 million hectares in the NSW South Western Slopes. The mapping was independently validated to 87% accuracy in depicting the plant communities in polygons. The line-work is accurate to 10 metres. Remnants are mapped to less than one hectare in size;
  • 15 API interpreted attributes and an additional 14 other attributes about the vegetation were recorded in each map polygon. This includes features such as dominant species, density, canopy crown health, and ground cover structure. This allows value-added GIS layers to be generated on structure and condition;
  • The cost of the mapping was approx. 30 cents per hectare including validation (note: this does not include the development of the vegetation classification).

This new mapping method can underpin local and regional mapping where ADS-40 imagery or comparable imagery is available. It generates reliable vegetation maps for property scale assessments, regional planning and landscape restoration.

We hope this helps your future planning in biodiversity and landscape planning. We are trying to convince OEH about the worth of this approach to vegetation mapping given NRM regulations.


John Benson PhD
Senior Plant Ecologist


Go to Volunteers events page for information on upcoming courses, seminars, etc.

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