Tackling Contentious Invasive Plant Species: A Case Study of Buffel Grass in Australia

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Grice, Tony; Friedel, Margaret ORCID ID icon; Marshall, Nadine; Van Klinken, Rieks ORCID ID icon


Journal Article

Environmental Management




In Australia numerous plants species are both valuable in production systems and have negative impacts as invasive species. It has been common to either, treat them as weeds and prohibit their use, or to allow their unfettered exploitation, leaving land managers who experience their negative effects to individually contend with them. Pennisetum ciliare (buffel grass) is a species that is widely used as a pasture grass but spreads beyond the locations at which it has been sown with documented deleterious environmental impacts. There has been no attempt to broadly and systematically address the issues that this presents or to resolve the apparently conflicting positions of the different stakeholders. Research into the views of individual pastoral land-holders and relevant organisations in relation to buffel grass has indicated that there is some mutual acceptance by proponents and opponents of each other's views and concerns about this species. We suggest this provides some basis for consideration of a more systematic and comprehensive approach to the management of this contentious plant species. It is important to ascertain the most appropriate balance between legislative and non-legislative mechanisms. Where legislative elements are included it may be most effective to use avenues other than those provided by state-level pest management regulations. A national approach, catering for regional circumstances, needs and opportunities, is also likely to be important. Engagement of the full spectrum of stakeholders in both development and implementation of a broad strategic approach will be critical.


conflict resolution; contentious plants; management strategy; policy; production; weed

Terrestrial Ecology

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011


Journal article - Refereed


Grice, Tony; Friedel, Margaret; Marshall, Nadine; Van Klinken, Rieks. Tackling Contentious Invasive Plant Species: A Case Study of Buffel Grass in Australia. Environmental Management. 2012; 49(2):285-294. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-011-9781-6

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