The heart of the matter

Priority threat management of invasive plants in the Lake Eyre Basin

Australia’s ‘heart’ and the river systems that feed it are under pressure from multiple sources. Something needs to be done quickly but, as is often the case, environmental managers are operating under severe time and resource limitations, and are attempting to make decisions surrounded by enormous uncertainty. In such situations it’s often appropriate to bring in a range of experts and get them to frame the various options on offer. Thanks to support from the NERP emerging priorities funding, that’s just what has happened.

The ‘heart’ in this story is the Lake Eyre Basin in Central Australia. This massive tract of land, bigger than many European countries (see the box, ‘our unique heart’) is experiencing multiple disturbances from mining and petroleum extraction, irrigated agriculture, intensification of grazing, tourism and climate change. But the threat that is really scaring environmental managers is the establishment and spread of exotic plants (as identified by the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment implementation plan or LEBRA)…

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