When Logan Zingus bought his NSW mid coast property a few years ago he was impressed by the large areas of beautiful, lush rainforest covering the land.
After signing an in-perpetuity private conservation agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) he noticed what he thought to be acres of pristine native vegetation contained a growing number of privet, lantana and other ground and vine weeds.
Logan is not the only NSW landholder to battle with unexpected and unwanted weed infestations. Thanks to years of higher-than-average rainfall and perfect growing conditions across the state, invasive weeds are thriving and threatening to reduce biodiversity and affect the conservation value of vulnerable ecosystems on conservation sites.
Wishing to share his personal experience of what it’s taken to eradicate and manage weeds on the Gumbaynggirr property, Logan joined BCT experts in an online weed management seminar.
He said local knowledge, provided by the BCT and neighbouring landholders was very important in helping him see the need to put together a structured weed management plan.
“When we first looked at this property and went down to the natural areas like the creek and the gullies, I wasn't sure what a weed was, what was supposed to be there, and what wasn't. To me it all looked like beautiful, lush rainforest,” he said.
“After being here for a while and speaking to local people and some of the land management networks, I very quickly realised a lot of the lush, green, leafy things I was looking at were weeds.
“It was overwhelming at first to realise the pristine bush block I thought I'd bought was full of woody and grassy weeds.”
Logan decided to call in the experts and started working with the BCT and his local Land for Wildlife peers to do site assessments and evaluate the areas on his land that needed to be tackled first.
“It wasn’t until someone came and put boots on the property and was able to help me understand what tree was what, what areas were important, and where to best prioritise the work, that I was able to see clearly what could be achieved,” he said.
“What I thought was a big issue, for example, broad scale lantana, wasn't too bad. That was actually quite an easy thing to control and I learned I should be focusing my efforts on some of the woody weeds that were quickly dominating the riparian zone.
“Having a plan helps you see where you should be putting your energy so you can make the most impact on the weeds creating the biggest problems. The plan doesn’t have to be 20 pages long, it just needs to help you think about the staging of works.”
Like most agricultural land in NSW, Logan’s property had experienced 100 years of degradation from human activity such as logging, land clearing and fires. He cautioned others to abandon any expectation of a quick solution to weed control.
“Of course, weeds are an ongoing problem that will probably never really go away,” he said.
“Building confidence by having little wins where you tackle an area on your plan and see some good regeneration coming in helps you stay motivated and documenting that yourself, or with your local BCT staff member, gives you clarity that you are achieving the goals you set.”
Logan is working through his weed management plan and is glad to be able to focus time and energy in a way that achieves the best outcomes for his land.
If you have a conservation agreement with the BCT, remember we are here to help you tackle the challenge of restoring ecosystems through planning and prioritising weed control.
Contact your BCT regional office if you need help creating and implementing your own weed management plan.