The 19th Australasian Weeds Conference, Hobart, revisited

It’s All About the Plants
Tuesday, 7 October 2014, 10:00–12:00
Ground Floor Meeting & Lunch Room, Tram Barn

by Chris Brodie
Weeds Botanist, State Herbarium of South Australia

Demonstration of a weed sniffer-dog, trained to detect certain weed species, to find a weed hidden in the conference room

Chris attended the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference in Hobart from 1–4 September 2014. The conference brought together about 240 people, who work with (or in many cases against) weeds in Australia and New Zealand, and few others from further afield. It was hosted by CAWS (Council of Australasian Weed Societies).

A broad cross-section of participants were in attendance from universities, community groups and governments. Regional government staff ranged from those involved with weeds at a country and state level, to regional councils and NRM authorities. South Australia was represented by State Herbarium, The University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, Biosecurity SA, Natural Resources South East and Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges, Rural Solutions SA, to name a few.

Topics and talks given included current weed research in both, the laboratory and in the field, weed policy, on-ground activities, managing weeds, as well as discussion groups debating how to best tackle weeds at a national, regional and local level. Keynote speakers included Prof. Daniel Simberloff from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Prof. Stephen Hopper from The University of Western Australia. Prof. Simberloff spoke about biological invasions and how these are perceived by people at each end of the debate. Prof. Hopper informed the Conference about his observations regarding weeds that dominate areas in Australia, and compared this to how these species exist in much lower numbers in the their native countries in harmony with the environment.

Several other State Herbaria were also represented at the conference with Matt Baker from the Tasmanian Herbarium and Melinda Laidlaw from the Queensland Herbarium. Melinda coordinates the Queensland Weed Spotter’s Network and is achieving great results identifying new weed incursion throughout the State.

At the Conference, Chris gave a presentation entitled Weeds in South Australia: a Regional account and will be presenting this exciting talk and a report on the 19th Australasian Weeds Conference at the next It’s All About the Plants seminar.