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End-user needs for developing a national information system for weeds

This project clearly defines end user needs of a national information system for weeds. It highlights the ways in which BioSIRT, as a national emergency response data management tool for weeds, is not appropriate for broader application to end-user needs of a national information system. A generic framework and processes for developing a national information system for weeds is provided.

One of the priority themes of the R&D component involves ‘Providing knowledge to support a National Information System for Weeds’. In this respect Land & Water Australia (LWA) - as the manager of the Defeating the Weeds Menance R&D component - has been working closely with other initiatives addressing the development of a National Invasive Species Information System, i.e. LWA recognises that information tools (e.g. identification aids), and access to accurate weeds related data and information (in a timely fashion, and in a format that is readily available to interpret), are key elements to the successful management of natural resources. Such tools, data and information helps reduce uncertainty in planning and identify issues for analysis. Strategies to overcome them may then be developed with the impacts monitored as part of an overall system.


The current project was undertaken to identify and document, through survey, targeted interview and/or other appropriate methods, the needs of the diversity of likely users of a national information system for weeds, so as to enable an evaluation of whether BioSIRT can provide these functions and, if so, through what means.
Through the current project the following tasks were undertaken:

  • scoping and developing a framework for assessing the needs of the diversity of potential end-users of a national information system for weeds across Australia
  • determining through literature review, survey, interview and/or other appropriate methods, the needs of various end-user groups
  • liaison with BioSIRT domain experts and state-based BioSIRT administrators to address the extent to which BioSIRT can currently meet these needs and, ways in which it might be adapted to do so


The results of the user needs assessment reveal that the key users of a national information system for weeds would be the Australian, State and Territory Governments, Regional Bodies, local government, researchers, community groups/NGO’s and industry. Most of these users are involved in Natural Resource Management activities e.g. management, policy or on-ground sense. Interestingly, the nursery and landscape industries and gardeners also feel they would get considerable value from such as system – especially as it relates to identification.
It is clear from the results of the current assessment that a range of different users require a variety of data and information for weeds.


Invasive species and in particular weeds are considered one of the major threats to the sustainable management of natural resources. Weed control costs Australian farmers approximately $1.5 billion per year, with lost agricultural production estimated at more than $2 billion. These estimates do not account for environmental costs such as impacts related to the long-term degradation of vegetation and biodiversity or impacts on health, safety, amenity, infrastructure, tourism and the general quality of life.

In an effort to address the impact of weeds in Australia, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), have been involved in a Defeating the Weeds Menace (DWM) program aimed at identifying Australia’s most threatening weeds and implementing measures for their control.


Publications and Resources

None listed


Land & Water Australia. 2009. End-user needs for developing a national information system for weeds. [Online] (Updated July 8th, 2009)
Available at: [Accessed Wednesday 23rd of October 2013 03:33:46 AM ].

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id: 3538 / created: 08 July, 2009 / last updated: 08 July, 2009