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Quantifying costs and benefits of buffel grass

Summary

Through an initial literature review, focus groups and interviews, this project aims to quantify the impacts of Buffel grass on sustainability and the environment, and to assess from both environmental and pastoral perspectives, the relative benefits and costs of different approaches to management. The results will provide improved management recommendations that are credible to land owners and managers as well as to environmental policy makers.

More information about Buffel Grass is available in the latest edition of Thinking Bush (pages 16-17).

Aims

The objective is to work with agencies, regional groups and individuals to:

  • Document the environmental, social and economic benefits and costs of buffel grass invasion to both conservation and pastoral sectors
  • Identify and describe current and potential management objectives, strategies and operational methods and their relative benefits and costs
  • Determine the perceptions of key stakeholders to different objectives, strategies and operational methods for dealing with buffel grass
  • Identify the potential for change in perceptions, attitudes and values and determine pathways for disseminating information about buffel grass and its management or control
  • Develop specific recommendations, based on our findings, on how to improve the management of buffel grass, and disseminate them as effectively as possible
  • Provide a general approach to improve management of contentious weed issues that considers both costs and benefits and the sociological barriers to change

Outcomes

10 recommendations for improved buffel grass management were established:

  1. Objectives, strategies and tools for management of buffel grass must be considered within a local to regional context
  2. Manage change through involving landholders in an open dialogue about the costs and benefits of buffel grass and in the setting of common goals
  3. Understand and use landholders’ formal and informal networks to enhance information exchange
  4. Recognise and accept the transaction costs of community engagement so that the social benefits of buffel grass can be maximised and the environmental costs minimised
  5. In situations where buffel grass is yet to colonise large areas, particularly in southern Australia, initiate early community discussion about the benefits and costs of buffel grass and its management
  6. Improve understanding of management options and benefits/costs through documenting existing experience and developing new research; keep regional differences in focus
  7. Develop processes for identifying and prioritising areas of high biodiversity value where management of buffel grass is required
  8. Develop incentives for landholders to deliver environmental outcomes at landscape scale through management of buffel grass
  9. Develop policy recommendations for governments through establishment of representative advisory groups at state and cross jurisdictional levels
  10. Develop a national strategy for the sustainable management of buffel grass for production and conservation, relevant to regional scales.

Background

Buffel grass is a major environmental weed with the potential to establish in over 60% of mainland Australia. It is also highly prized by many pastoralists as an exotic pasture grass for livestock. Within these two conflicting views there is a spectrum of opinions on the relative benefits and cost of managing impacts of buffel grass in a sustainable way. The objective of the project was to quantify the impacts of buffel grass on sustainability and the environment and the relative benefits and costs of different approaches to management.


Publications and Resources



None listed


Citation

Land & Water Australia. 2008. Quantifying costs and benefits of buffel grass. [Online] (Updated May 1st, 2009)
Available at: http://lwa.gov.au/node/2585 [Accessed Tuesday 22nd of October 2013 09:04:41 PM ].

id: 2585 / created: 18 August, 2008 / last updated: 01 May, 2009