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Utilizing GIS in the assessment and development of weed management priorities and plans in Victoria

John Weiss1 and Carl Smith2

1Keith Turnbull Research Institute, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria
Department of Geomatics, University of Melbourne, Victoria

Weeds are among the most serious threat to Australia’s social, environmental and agricultural values. They reduce farm and forestry productivity, displace native species and contribute to land degradation. In 1997 the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory ministers responsible for agriculture, forestry and the environment developed a National Weeds Strategy to reduce the impact of weeds on the sustainability of Australia’s productive capacity and natural ecosystems.

The current strategy has three goals,

(i) prevent the development of new weed problems,

(ii) reduce the impact of existing weed problems of national significance, and

(iii) provide the framework and capacity for ongoing management of weed problems of national significance.

In accordance with the goals of the National Weeds Strategy, and the Victorian Pest Management Strategy, the Keith Turnbull Research Institute, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, has developed a Weed Management Decision Support System (DSS) for the prioritisation and management of Victoria’s weeds. The Weed Management DSS utilises Expert Systems and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to

(i) identify priority weeds,

(ii) identify best management practices for managing priority weeds in priority areas,

(iii) estimate the economic costs and benefits associated with managing priority weeds in priority areas, and

(iv) evaluate current weed management practice in terms of environmental and economic performance.

The DSS has been designed for use by Government, Catchment Management Authorities and Extension Officers to assist them in priority setting, the allocation of resources, the development of spatially explicit weed management plans, and in providing advise to land managers on appropriate and cost effective weed management practice.

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