Weeds are plants that cause problems. A modern definition of a weed is "a plant that requires some form of action to reduce its effect on the economy, the environment, human health and amenity". Many of the plants that are now considered to be weeds were introduced to Australia by early settlers, or by gardeners and farmers who had little or no knowledge of their future impact on the native environment.
Some serious weeds are required by law to be controlled by all landholders in an area. These are known as noxious weeds and the law that controls these in NSW is the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 (the Act). Carrathool Shire Council is the Local control authority for the Carrathool Local Government Area (LGA) and as such Council is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Act. The Act requires all landholders in a defined area, including local government and state agencies, to control noxious weeds on land they occupy.
Weeds that are declared noxious are those weeds that have potential to cause harm to the community and individuals, can be controlled by reasonable means and most importantly, have the potential to spread within an area and to other areas. A weed is declared noxious because its control will provide a benefit to the community over and above the cost of implementing control programs. Many 'bad' weeds do not meet the criteria for declaration. Noxious weeds will have limited distribution with the potential to become more widespread and will cause impact on agriculture, human health or the environment.
Environmental weeds are plants that are 'out of place' in the natural environment and are not a 'normal' part of Australian ecosystems. They are plants that have the potential to impact the natural environment by destroying habitat or over-running indigenous species and altering local biodiversity. Some examples of environmental weeds include Bridal Creeper, Bitou Bush, Boneseed, Blackberry and Lantana.
Environmental weeds can also be native Australian plants that are not local to the area they are growing in. Non-indigenous (that is, not local) species may invade and displace species natural to that area or they may cross pollinate to produce new species which may in time, alter regional biodiversity. Of the almost 3000 introduced plant species known to be established in the Australian environment, 65% are 'escaped' garden plants.
Agricultural and horticultural weeds are those plants that have a negative effect on crop or animal production. They reduce the area available for agricultural activities, interfere with agricultural practices and affect the quality of produce. Some examples of agricultural weeds are Serrated Tussock, Thistles, Blue Heliotrope, St John's Wort, Paterson's Curse and Blackberry.
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