Strategic weed control is crucial in post-bushfire landscapes as many weed species have a competitive advantage after fire. New weed species, brought in by emergency vehicles and machinery, also require attention. This Global Challenges project team is investigating how to create a meaningful and impactful weed management resource to transform individual and community responses to weeds.
The research team includes Sonia Graham (ASSH), Kristine French (SMAH), Nicholas Gill (ASSH), Holly Tootell (EIS), Leonie Miller (ASSH).
How are you engaging external stakeholders?
We are interested in engaging with anyone involved in managing weeds—private land managers, public land managers, Landcare members, biosecurity officers, weed contractors—in south-east NSW and whose activities have been affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires.
We have begun the process of engaging stakeholders via a field trip to the south coast. In the first instance we have responded to requests from the community to come and visit their properties, as well as reaching out to some of the organisations, such as local councils, who work in this region.
Why is the interdisciplinarity of your project important?
At the Australian Academy of Science 2020 Fenner Conference on the Environment: Managing wild and weedy Australia across boundaries and disciplines, it was proposed that a virtual knowledge sharing hub could enable communities, practitioners, NGOs and researchers to share stories about weed management successes and failures in post-bushfire landscapes.
If the Hub is to encourage cooperation and build resilience, transdisciplinary research—involving researchers from diverse disciplines as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, government and non-government actors—is essential.
A transdisciplinary approach can provide a holistic understanding of what is unique about post-bushfire weed management, from an ecological, social and information technology perspective.
Are there any challenges you anticipate?
One of the key challenges we anticipate is creating a safe online space where people feel that they can share their stories online.
What do you hope to achieve?
Post-fire weed management is challenging for many reasons. This includes learning how to control new weeds that have emerged since the fires, controlling weeds on burnt areas where they are the only plants taking hold, as well as making trade-offs between weed management and other land management decisions. For example, choosing whether or not to control weeds along riverbanks where preventing erosion into waterways is also a key consideration.
We’re hoping that our virtual hub will make it easier for those affected by bushfires, both now and in the future, to access knowledge about managing weeds and feel supported by a much wider community than they may otherwise be able to draw on.
Where are you at with your project right now and what are the next steps?
We have just completed a field trip to the south coast of NSW, where we conducted interviews with six people involved in managing weeds in bushfire affected areas. We are about to start phone interviews next week to better understand the challenges of post-fire weed management and how a virtual knowledge sharing hub can be designed to address these challenges.
We are looking for people who are interested in participating in the project. Specifically, we are looking for people who have organised or run a weed management project, program or activity (this can be on an individual property) and that live or work in south east NSW or adjoining areas. Taking part in the research would involve participating in a telephone interview that would take up to one hour.
Once a prototype version of the hub has been created, participants will also be given the opportunity to provide feedback on the prototype.
If you are interested in participating in this project and you or someone you know fits the criteria above, please email email@example.com with details.